‘GBM model’ – all issues should be seen as Malaysian issues

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Sketch by Wong Soak Koon

Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM), a coalition of 27 NGOs, concluded its ninth annual general meeting on 18 July 2020. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, the meeting was conducted through Zoom instead of a physical meeting.The meeting elected a new leadership team for the coalition with Badlishah Sham Baharin, who is the deputy president of Pertubuhan Ikram, being elected as the new chair of GBM.

In the opening speech of the outgoing chair, Zaid Kamaruddin, who stepped down from the position after two terms, highlighted that GBM adopts a collaborative and inclusive approach where the common interest is utmost, and the specific needs of each are attended to. He stressed that diversity is a strength to be harnessed for the good of each of us in society.

On the recent political development, he pointed out that while the peaceful transition of power in the 2018 general election inspired a spirit of change, which saw many civil society activists involve themselves in the government to contribute towards nation-building, the recent political turbulence and Covid-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented challenge to their efforts. Nevertheless, he stressed that GBM is a neutral organisation where each of its member organisations is entitled to its own stance. He hoped that whatever stance and action that is taken will be in good faith and for the benefit of the nation.

Zaid also believed the “GBM model”, in which all issues are seen as Malaysian issues and not issues of specific communities, could be a way forward.

The newly elected executive council members of GBM are as follows:

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Chair: Badlishah Sham Baharin, Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (Ikram)

Deputy Chair: Stanley Yong Yew Wei, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)

Secretary: Yap Swee Seng, LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG)

Assistant Secretary: Lochna Menon, All Women’s Action Society (Awam)

Treasurer: Arumugam Kalimuthu, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)

Council members:

  • Tan Yew Sing, Merdeka University Berhad (MUB)
  • John Ku, Tindak Malaysia (TM)
  • Beverly Joeman, Engage
  • Loh Pai Ling, Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia (BMSM)
  • Jeffrey Phang, Persatuan Penduduk Petaling Jaya (MyPJ)
  • Sarajun Hoda, Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)

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