Friday, August 22, 2008

Westports wants to eradicate poverty on Pulau Indah

from the Malaysian Star

A business in Malaysia that tries to eradicate poverty recently won an award in that country. This article profiles Westports, wgho was recognized for their corporate citizenship. - Kale

PETALING JAYA: Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s corporate philosophy of growth with equality has led the company to subscribe strongly to the belief that economic development must involve and benefit everyone.

Executive director Ruben Emir Gnanalingam said Westports, which is located in Pulau Indah, Port Klang, had adopted long-term corporate responsibility (CR) policies since its inception in 1994.

“The objectives of our CR initiatives are to eradicate poverty by providing financial assistance and job opportunities, elevate the quality of life, upgrade living standards and to enhance education and health standards of the local community.

“We adopted Pulau Indah as a core CR initiative since 1994, even before the term CR became fashionable,” he said.

Aptly called the “Zero Poverty Programme at Pulau Indah”, the initiative aims to elevate the quality of life of the villagers and improve the development of the island.

As a result of Westports’ efforts, poverty level on the island dropped to below 5% last year from 62% in 1995. In addition, about 60% of Westports’ employees are Pulau Indah residents.

Ruben Emir said the thrust of the port’s initiatives in providing for the less fortunate had always been to enhance income-earning opportunities especially for the people of Pulau Indah as well as complement the Government’s efforts in poverty alleviation programmes.

As a responsible corporate citizen, the port operator has contributed financially and in kind to various community projects.

“Today, Westports not only provides job opportunities for the locals, but also monthly financial assistance to the poor as well as orphaned children.

“Our current CR initiatives are here to stay and will be the framework for us to move ahead,” Ruben Emir said.

He noted that for any CR programme to succeed it was essential that clear responsibilities, resources and leadership roles were assigned across a company to address CR issues on a day-to-day basis.

“It is important for the chief executive officer, board members and senior management to provide leadership; define what CR means to the organisation, make it happen; and finally, be transparent about it,” he said.

Westports is one of the partners for the StarBiz-Institute of Corporate Responsibility (ICR) Malaysia awards presentation dinner tonight. It is a CR Event Supporter under the marketplace and community categories.

Ruben Emir said Westports’ partnership in the StarBiz-ICR Malaysia awards enabled the company to acknowledge industry leaders who had set benchmarks or standards of CR especially in areas of focus such as the community and marketplace, which were integral parts of the port’s development.

“We hope the awards will support Malaysia’s efforts to help companies move from awareness-raising initiatives towards the action and implementation of responsible business practices,” he added.

Link to full article. May expire in future.

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