According to data from the Department of Statistics Malaysia, an estimation of 2.1 million workers in Malaysia have been displaced and thrust into unemployment due to the COVID-19 crisis.
In light of this, an online crowd donation platform called SamaBantu, which is automated, transparent, traceable, and auditable at any time, has been launched today to lend a helping hand.
Vulcan Post spoke to co-chairman Dato’ Wei Chuan Beng to learn more about this initiative.
A Notable Team Behind It All
This project was launched by members of Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur DiRaja (RCKL), and it’s supported by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Rotary District 3300, Kuala Lumpur Rotary Charity Foundation and the Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA).
RCKL is a NPO with a notable 100-year history of people from the private and government sectors converging to provide their services to the community, particularly for those in need.
Within a week of first coming up with the idea, Dato’ Wei and his team were already brainstorming with RCKL and MDEC, the latter of whom helped refine some ideas before a development team was engaged to execute the project.
Here’s How It Works
SamaBantu aims to provide RM100 on a weekly basis to approved applicants, therefore amounting to about RM400/month to help applicants and their families cover the costs of their basic needs.
All donations on the platform are disbursed with full transparency, and 100% of the donations received will go to applicants, without SamaBantu taking a fee.
As for who qualifies as an applicant, Dato’ Wei shared that they would have to be in a situation where they have lost their job and have no current means of earning an income, but still have families and their basic needs to cover.
“There are declarations that an applicant must make, and it’s based on honesty and crowd verification,” he said.
“The applicant will have to upload their IC and also provide their last position in the last company, then declare that they continue to be out of any income and require support for basic needs.”
Once an applicant has been vetted and approved, SamaBantu will issue a certificate of that cash disbursement to them which will have to be uploaded onto their social media.
This is where crowd verification comes in. If an individual was dishonest during their application, any contacts who notice this certificate can come forward and report them.
SamaBantu can then take legal action against the applicant, and their details such as name and general location (not their actual address or IC number) will be displayed publicly on the platform for donors’ awareness.
The site is straightforward and easy to use for both donors and applicants, with 3 payment options available to the donor: direct bank transfer, online banking/credit card, or cheque.
Any amount of money can be donated, but those who donate over RM500 in one go can get a tax exempt receipt.
The Path To Raising RM10 Million In 6 Months
The current target is for SamaBantu to run for 6 months starting July 5, 2020, and raise a total of RM10 million in that duration. A short-term goal is to raise RM1 million by the end of July.
Samasuka Sdn Bhd, a company that Dato’ Wei is also chairman of, is providing an initial contribution of RM20,000 to get the ball rolling, with RCKL putting forward RM10,000 and Kuala Lumpur Rotary Charity Foundation chipping in with RM3,000.
A few more donors have since chipped in at the time of writing, with a total of RM38,500 waiting to be disbursed come July 5.
One thing that Dato’ Wei wanted to highlight in our interview was that SamaBantu is only a platform to provide a temporary buffer, or short-term relief in the form of financial support. It is not a social welfare project.
Hence, a successful applicant will be funded for the first 4 weeks before they have to make a new declaration on their status.
“There’s no guarantee that we can continue providing for them for the second month, simply because we will have to assess based on the amount of donations received,” Dato’ Wei said.
At most, an applicant may receive support for up to 3 months, as SamaBantu would like to extend its help to as many families as possible.
- You can read about other fundraising platforms we’ve written about here.
Featured Image Credit: SamaBantu