About 150 OCBC Bank staff from both Malaysia and Singapore recently travelled up north to help upgrade a 92-year-old school in Balik Pulau that was badly in need of refurbishment.
SJKC Pulau Betong, which is located in the area partially affected by the devastating tsunami of 2004, continued to be in a state of disrepair despite remedial works over the past few years.
OCBC Bank, which had already been supporting the school in other ways for several years, decided it was time to up the ante and get the school well and truly up to speed.
Led by senior management staff Lim Khiang Tong, Head of Group Operations & Technology, OCBC Group; and Lim Yau Seong, Head of Operations and Technology, OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Berhad, the bankers set out on their annual community development initiative with little construction know-how but plenty of enthusiasm.
The volunteers, who were guided by professionals, contributed their labour by working to improve the school’s facilities. This included replacing essential education materials for the science lab, fixing old infrastructure, repainting the building and the sports playground, installing a new walkway shelter and reinforcing the entire wall along the hillside.
They worked relentless for a straight five hours, dividing the work among themselves to beautify the school compound, hand out essential education packs to the students and conduct on-site teaching activities. In addition, OCBC Bank staff also donated computers, network systems for the classroom and science lab, school bags, stationery, book shelves, note books and library furniture.
Commenting on the initiative, Mr Lim Yau Seong said OCBC Bank, whose history in the state stretches a full century, was eager to assist the school through the facilities improvement programme to ultimately benefit the community of Pulau Betong.
“Our team spent the entire Saturday here assisting the community in their quest to gain better facilities for this school. We are pleased with the outcome of our hard work and we know now that the students will be able to have a better and safer environment to grow in.
“To make this happen, we pretty much traded our banking suits for hard hats and Wellingtons to take up the cement and paint to get the job done. We are grateful to have contributed our energy to make the school’s wishes come true,” he said.
The cost of the entire programme, borne and raised entirely by the staff through food fairs and charitable contributions, amounted to in excess of RM80,000.
In thanking OCBC Bank for its contribution, SJKC Pulau Betong headmaster Mr Loo Boon Soon said the school is grateful to the Bank for not just raising the funds to make the facilities improvement programme possible but also for seeing to all the efforts personally.
School Board Chairman Chew Chun Yang added: “It is one thing for an organisation to contribute money to us, and we will always appreciate that. But it is a far greater honour for the school when the contributor actually helps us to make the best use of the money by availing their own time, energy, effort and strength. Today marks a milestone in the journey of our school towards ensuring educational efforts indeed go the distance in a safe and comfortable environment.”