The annual Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) Penang branch Flag Day will be held on Sunday 22 March 2009. So, Penangites, be ready with some loose change and be generous to the MRCS members approaching you with their donation tins. The society is aiming to raise RM100,000 or more this Flag Day when its members once again take to the streets of Penang to collect donations from the public.

Organising chairman and MRCS Penang branch vice-chairman Chan Hon Kwong said the society managed to collect almost RM100,000 last year and he was confident that they would reach the RM100,000 target this time. “We believe, to many, RM1 or RM2 is not much. We have a good feeling we can reach our target,” he told reporters at the MRCS Penang branch headquarters at Jalan Grove on Tuesday after the launching of the event by state Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee Chairman Phee Boon Poh.

Phee urged the people to believe in a caring society and be ready to make a small monetary sacrifice to help the MRCS that provided free services all year round.

“They (MRCS) are the unsung heroes of our society. They give help to people unconditionally. In fact, I think they serve the people better than politicians. They are the first to respond in times of disaster. Not only do they provide first aid, they also help people find food and clothing at such dire times,” he said in his speech.

Phee said the MRCS in Penang did not receive grants from the Federal and state governments for its humanitarian work, and depended solely on donations and fundraising projects to finance its activities like ambulance services, disaster response, health and awareness programmes and first aid services.

He said: “Its operations, training and administration cost the Penang MRCS about RM1mil annually.

“Most of the expenses are for training programmes and rescue responses.”

At the event, MRCS Penang branch deputy chairman Datuk B.J. Yeang also thanked the state government for waiving its annual RM2,400 assessment fees and reducing its RM1,100 quit rent to a nominal fee of RM1.