The Malaysia Alagankulam Muslim Jamath (‘the Jamath”) was registered under the Societies Act, 1966 on 30th November 1976. It is believed that the Jamath was the first society of its kind to be registered under the Act.
The aims and objects of the Jamath are stated in the Constitution to be as follows :-
- To foster and propagate Islam and Islamic culture in all its aspects
- To plan and to undertake and to carry out welfare and social activities for the benefit of the community in general and Muslims in particular
- To provide and render financial and other assistance to Muslim students at all levels to pursue their education
- To undertake, carry on or engage in such other projects or activities as may be accidental or conducive to the attainment of the objects of the Association or as may otherwise be beneficial to or in the interests of Muslims or the community in general
There are two classes of members, namely
(1) ordinary members and
(2) life members.
Under the original Constitution membership to any person “who has or whose family or whose ancestors have originated from Alagankulam village in Ramnad District, Tamil Nadu, South India”. This was subsequently amended to allow persons who are married to members to be admitted as ordinary members.
Though the Jamath was formally registered in 1976 it had existed in an informal manner for over 30 years before that. Its main objective then was to look after the welfare of person of Alagankulam origin in this country. It played significant roles in providing temporary accommodation to members who stopped over in Penang on their way to or who had arrived from Madras Nagapaltinan by ship and in setting family disputes among members in any matter. For the former purpose the Jamath had earlier rented subsequently purchased a property in Penang. It also functioned as a liaison body between the members here and the village Jamath.
The Jamath held regular meetings attended by members. An important feature of the Kamath was, and it continues to be, that every member fully respected and abided by all decisions made by the Jamath.
With the increase in the number of families of members who have settled down in this country and made this their home, it was felt that the Jamath had to be registered officially under the laws of this country to better serve the members. Thus it was registered in 1976.
Since its registration its registered office and headquarters was at 67, Jalan Sultan Yusoff (Jalan Belfield), Ipoh (the premises of Messrs. A.K.M. Abdul Wahab & co.). The first President was Tuan Haji S.A. Mohamed Ishack, PJK, PPN of Taiping, a highly respected member of the Jamath. He remained as President until the AGM held on 17 July 1994 when he voluntarily stepped down due to health reasons.
Tuan Haji Mohamed Ismail Shariff (a lawyer by profession and who had been the National President of Persekutuan Muslim in Indo-Malaysia, Malaysia (PERMIM) from 1976 to 1988 was elected as President at the AGM. the meeting also elected a group of young, energetic and dedicated members to the Jamath Committee. The new committee under the leadership of Haji Mohamed Ismail Shariff decided to give a new profile and image to the Jamath.
The premises that the Jamath had purchased in Penang had been sold as it was felt that there was no longer a need for it and the proceeds had been retained in the Jamath account. As a large section of the membership was in Kuala Lumpur the former Committee had considered the possibility of purchasing a property in Kuala Lumpur. The new committee upon taking took that as its first mission and set about looking for a suitable property. A property (a 4-storey shop-office) was identified in North city (Pasar Borong), Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur and the Jamath decided to purchase it. The Jamath funds available at that time for this purpose was about RM220, 000.00 but the cost was RM625, 000.00. The committee issued an appeal to the members for donations and the Committee members went all over the country wherever there were Jamath members to collect donations. The response was tremendous and although there are about 1,000 members the Committee was able to raise the required RM400, 000.00 plus from only about 200 members. The property has been fully paid for in cash and the Jamath has taken possession of it.
The committee also planned and carried out several other activities. It published a newsletter to keep members informed of activities of the Jamath. The first AGM after the new Committee had taken office was held in Kuala Lumpur and was help in Petaling Jaya. This was organised as a whole day function as a three-pronged event :
(1)Hari Raya Get-Together,
(2) Family Day and
A federal Minister, YB Dato’ Haji Abu Hassan bin Haji Omar, Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, was invited to declare open the event. This event was a runaway success.
The Committee achieved two main objectives by this event :
(1) It succeeded in giving the Jamath a high profile as the event was covered by local newspapers and TV.
(2) It brought a large number of women and youth to participate not only in the Hari Raya and Family Day activities but also the AGM.
Other activities of the Committee included organising seminars, granting of Certificates of Merit to students who are children of members who had excelled in public examinations, granting of study grants and fostering a greater sense of belonging and unity.
The next AGM was held on a grander scale in Ipoh. Forums were organised for men and ladies and separate events were help for children of different age categories. The turnout of members and their families was even better, with about 1,300 people attending.
At the AGM ladies were given prominence with a view to securing greater participation by them in the activities of the Jamath especially those related to education.
At this AGM the Committee proposed the setting up of an Economic assistance Fund. The purpose of this Fund is to render financial assistance to needy members who wished to start new or expand their existing businesses. This proposal was approved unanimously. The Fund has been set up and a certain amount has been collected. The initial target for this fund is RM1 million and financial assistance can only be given after the Fund has reached a minimum level of RM100, 000.00.
At the AGM held in 1998 in Ipoh, the Committee proposed the establishment of an Education Assistance Fund with the objective of granting study loans to students and others who wish to upgrade their skills. The main features are similar to that of the other who wish to upgrade their skills. The main features are similar to that of the Economic Fund. The initial minimum level of RM100, 000.00 has not yet been reached.
Insya Allah the targets set for these two funds will be reached soon and the Funds can the begin to function.
By the activities set out briefly above, the Committee under Haji Mohamed Ismail has demonstrated that even a small (and essential a large family-based) organisation such as the Jamath can be made to serve useful purposes and be relevant in the present times. The participation of women and, more significantly, the youth in its activities is a clear indication that such an organisation can continue to function effectively.
The activities of the Jamath and the prominence it has gained have engendered an unintended side-effect. It has evoked interest among other similar groups of people to register such societies. The Jamath welcomes this development for it is of the benefit of members that other societies cannot or are not equipped to do. Thus they can complement the roles played by other societies and the overall beneficiary will be the community as a whole.