Originally published on EdenKeeper.org
Interfaith solidarity in Malaysia’s culture is so strong it extends to providing free solar power, “regardless of creed or race.” A recent donation sees a Chinese temple, a Christian church, a Muslim mosque, and a Chinese primary school going solar together in the town of Kota Belud, Sabah.
These four special locations were chosen by Malaysian Company Cypark Resources Berhad in a recent corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaign to increase awareness of clean, renewable energy in Malaysia.
Cypark Chief Executive Officer Datuk Daud Ahmad said that the four facilities going solar were chosen due to suitability, and aimed at helping local communities save on electricity bills. The facilities include Kota Belud Chinese Temple, Chung Hwa Kota Belud Chinese Primary School, Kota Belud Mosque, and the Kampung Piasau Borneo (SIB) Evangelical Church.
Going Solar in Malaysia
Cypark noted that the Chung Hwa Chinese Primary School installation covers 70 square meters, and the Kota Belud Chinese Temple (top image, above) covers 35 square meters. The Kota Belud Mosque, as well as the SIB Kampung Piasau Evangelical Church solar installations also measure 35 square meters each.
“With the constant maintenance by Cypark,” stated Datuk Daud Ahmad, these solar panels “can be used for a period of 25 years to come. In addition to helping save electricity, these solar panels will open the eyes of the public, especially school students to find out how this energy is produced.”
Venturing into renewable energy in a big way, Malaysia is witnessing an innovative transformation. Cypark Resources Berhad (CRB) is leading the way with Sustainable Environmental Restoration, assessing and remediating contaminated lands and groundwater. Unlocking the economic potential in restored brownfields and landfills, Cypark is creating renewable energy parks employing biomass, biogas, and solar energy production. Cypark’s Pajam Solar Park was recently awarded as the largest solar park in Malaysia.
Solar Installation Donations Announced at Sunset
The generous solar installation donations were made public at Kota Belud Town Mosque, one of the more famous and stunning landmarks in Malaysia. The Cypark CEO’s announcement was read by Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry, Datuk Haji Musbah Haji Jamlee, during a Ramadan meal following the breaking of fast at sunset.
The “Going Solar Ceremony” was not the only event of the Ramadan evening. The Kota Belud Mosque also delivered the Muslim’s annual zakat, or charitable giving, in the form of aid and assistance to 260 people in the community and to the Darul Bakti Orphanage Home.
Malaysia’s Strong Sense of Interfaith Unity
Kota Belud is a sleepy little town in the midst of Sabah, one of two states dividing Borneo, the third largest island in the world. Over 50 percent of Sabah is preserved as protected areas for the conservation of Malaysia’s exotic wildlife. Gibbons, orangutans, pythons, crocodiles, and leopards all roam the lush jungles, and a wealth of marine life swarms the coastal coral reefs.
Every year in October, Kota Belud rouses from its relative calm and hosts the exciting Tamu Besar, or Big Market. Here, Malaysia’s strong sense of interfaith unity really shines as religious diversity is dropped in favor of celebrating the common cultural heritage. The community comes to life, sharing in a beloved celebration colorfully rooted in traditional clothing, handicrafts, and cuisine. A pageant crowning the local Beauty Queens engages everyone, as well as traditional sports events such as the boy’s buffalo races.
The highlight of Kota Belud’s Tamu Besar, however, is the Bajau horsemen, or the “Cowboys of the East.” Both horses and men are dressed in traditional, brightly colored satin costumes and offer many events displaying their famous horseback riding skills.
The Bajau is Sabah’s second largest indigenous group. Originally seafarers, the Bajau transitioned over time from living in boat houses to building houses on stilts near the island’s shore. Some settled further inland, becoming cattle and buffalo farmers, and then included horses and ponies when they were first brought to the island. Becoming known as the “Cowboys of the East,” the Bajau became expert horsemen, using their mounts to help them round up their herds of cattle and buffalo.
Going Solar Together “Regardless of Creed or Race”
From the corporate to the community level, Malaysia embodies the spirit of interfaith unity in an inspiring way. We can all appreciate the efforts, from corporate social responsibility campaigns such as this latest interfaith ‘going solar’ campaign, to community multicultural celebrations promoting interfaith inclusion. As Cypark notes on its website, “we recognise that a balanced enduring approach is needed to ensure sustainability in economic activity, environmental responsibility and social progress. Our commitment to sustainable development is evidenced by what we do.”
The company adds that its goals include helping “to preserve our environment, preventing further degradation to land, water and air with a strong aspiration to help create a sustainable, healthy and economically stable environment for our children and future generations.”
Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan offered further encouragement at the Mosque’s “Going Solar” Ceremony. Dahlan, who is also the Minister of Urban Well-being and Housing, stated his hopes that other corporations will follow Cypark’s lead, collaborating similarly with Cypark “to install more solar panels in the areas of focus areas throughout the state regardless of creed or race.”