15 July 2009
KUALA LUMPUR: The bosses of Malaysia’s two airlines — Malaysia Airlines managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala and AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes – are among eight prominent Malaysians on the board of trustees of the newly set up 1Malaysia Foundation.
“It was a fantastic achievement for us to be able to get them in and 1Malaysia Foundation is ready to take off,” said foundation chairman Dr Chandra Muzaffar at a press conference yesterday.
The foundation, which is a non-profit non-governmental organisation, is not linked to any political party and hopes to develop, support and spearhead activities and programmes that will engage all Malaysians towards national unity and the 1Malaysia concept, he said.
Jala said there was a need for Malaysians to find a way to work and compete together just as MAS and AirAsia have done and achieve excellence for the country.
“You need healthy competition to bring out the champion,” said Jala, adding that efforts of 1Malaysia should incorporate the rural poor.
Fernandes said diversity was Malaysia’s strength and a lot of work needed to be done to get people to work together.
“The brand Malaysia is a multicultural heritage and that can attract big companies to set up their companies here,” he said.
The first activity by the foundation is the 1Malaysia Story which will be launched in August through its website www.1Malaysia.org.my.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is the foundation patron.
Other members of the board include holder of the Sheikh Abdullah Fahim Chair at the Islam Hadhari Institute Datuk Dr Ismail Ibrahim, Malaysian Medical Relief Society president Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood and Malaysian Institute of Economic Research board of trustees member Prof Emeritus Datuk K. J. Ratnam.The other members are National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye and Institute for Strategic and International Studies Malaysia director-general Dr Mahani Zainal Abidin