Malaysian starts crowdfunding to help reduce country's debt

At press time, the "Please Help Malaysia" campaign on GoGetFunding has raised about US$3,600 (S$4,800) of its US$100,000, with 92 backers. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOGETFUNDING.COM

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Let's work together to save Malaysia. Such is the rallying call of a young Malaysian who has set up a fundraising page to crowdfund towards reducing the nation's debt.

Nik Shazarina Bakti, a legal officer at Sisters in Islam (SIS), hopes to gather Malaysians and the rest of the world to help contribute towards the cause.

On the page, the 27-year-old law graduate reminded Malaysians of the time when the people gave up their jewellery, money and valuables so that Tunku Abdul Rahman and the then government could raise enough funds to go to London and claim Merdeka.

"Let's do it again! And this time, WE are doing it! We can tell our children and grandchildren of this initiative that we all took part in to save negaraku (my country) Malaysia," she said, urging visitors to share the fundraising page far and wide.

At press time, the "Please Help Malaysia" campaign on GoGetFunding has raised about US$3,600 (S$4,800) of its US$100,000, with 92 backers.

The Pakatan Harapan government said the nation's debt stands at a whopping RM1 trillion.

On the page, Nik Shazarina said all proceeds would be channelled to the government at the end of the campaign.

"Many have asked whether the funds will be given to the Government. I know I am a stranger to most but believe me, I am not going to pocket any of the funds," she said.

Nik Shazarina said she would update the PayPal account summary daily and upload proof of the funds being channelled to the Government "when the day comes".

The campaign is slated to run until July 31.

"If we could work together during the 14th General Election (remember, we trusted anyone who could help us), I am sure we can work together for another round," she added.

Social activist and the Prime Minister's daughter Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir vouched for Nik Shazarina in a public post on her Facebook page.

"I know a lot of people have been wanting to help with our huge debt, which just shows how much Malaysians love their country," she wrote.

Though many people approach­ed her to do something, Marina said she was reluctant as she did not think it was appropriate.

"But this young person has taken her own initiative to do something by crowdfunding to save Malaysia. I happen to know her and am so proud of her. So if you can help, do support. Every little bit helps," she added.

Some commenters on Marina's post enthusiastically pledged their help, while others expressed their reservations and said they preferred an official, national platform for such fundraising exercises.

The crowdfunding initiative can be viewed here.

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