I am happy and am extremely proud of us Malaysians. As at today, the NSTP fund for Gaza stands at RM2.4m. This does not include other initiatives and funds set up for the same purpose. All in all, I am sure the amount is substantial and can provide an impactful relief to the Palestinians in Gaza.
I am also happy the the initatives taken and sponsors / donations that came in were from everyone, irregardless of religion, race, status or even political belief. And we Malaysians gave to all those in suffering irregardless of creed, political belief or religion. Mind you, not all Palestinians are Muslims. There are many others including Christians too. And this war between Israel and Palestine is more of land / territorial issue than it is a religious issue. Thus, we are giving humanitarian aid to those suffering irregardless of (trivial) considerations given the circumstances.
This has always been the Malaysian brand - we give and we give generously. Remember Tsunami? We gave for our countrymen who were affected by the tsunami, and we also gave to other nations like Aceh in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and so on.
And to Malaysians, again we can pat ourselves on the back when it comes to helping others. This also shows that when push comes to shove or when the situation warrants it, we can unite and look above religion and race for a certain cause.
However, I am disgusted by a few individuals or companies trying to make a quick buck or cheap publicity by capitalising on this humanitarian initiatives / drives. I read it in a New Straits Times today about Hotel Bayview in Melaka. The article reported that the hotel management had introduced a campaign where the hotel will contribute RM1 towards Mercy Malaysia's Medical Aid to Gaza fund for every diner at the hotel's food and beverage outlets. The management will also place a donation box at the hotel's lobby. The campaign is to run until 9 February 2009 and aims to raise RM20,000 for its purpose.
Let me tell you why I am disgusted and angry. The hotel is quite a nice hotel after it completed all its renovations. I would rate it quite well. In fact, I had also stayed in that hotel last year. Quite an ok experience. And the prices at their F&B outlets are, like other hotels, pricey but within normal hotel limits. On average each diner might spend RM30 - RM40 and maybe the normal average margin per diner is 30%-40% (low guesstimate) on the outlet alone after deducting all overhead expenses at outlet level. That makes the average net profit at outlet level to be between RM9 - RM16 per diner.
The campaign period is going to be for about 25 days (until 9 February 2009). The hotel expects the donation to reach RM20,000. Just say from that total, about (RM12,500) is from direct donations from the public at the box placed at the lobby and the rest from the RM1 per diner campaign, then the hotel expects 7,500 diners over the period.
At 7,500 diners, the hotel can expect a huge profit of between RM67,500 to RM160,000 margin of RM9-RM16 per diner and I assume it could be more). So for such a huge profit, the hotel is forking out a paltry sum of RM7,500.
This is nothing more but a cheap publicity stunt aimed at making money for themselves, nothing more than that. Using the excuse of creating the donation drive to i. gain publicity ii. encourage people to go to their hotel.
I would like to tell the hotel management to just stop their so called campaign and keep all the money to themselves. It is sad that this management is using it for their own selfish reasons. The management should donate at least 50% of its proceeds (revenue) from the F&B outlets to the fund. Then, I would say they are doing it sincerely.
I hope no one or no other company / hotels will come up with such a harebrained scheme. And please , give sincerely, generously and out of our hearts in wanting to help people.
I love Malaysia. I am proud of Malaysia. And we can all be proud of our initiatives, help and assistance that we give sincerely to anyone and everyone who needs our help.