MR IZUDIN MERICAN, GROUP GENERAL MANAGER SWISS GARDEN INTERNATIONAL HOTELS, RESORTS & INNS
Q: What motivated this and do you plan on this partnership to continue on a long term?
The realisation that HIV/AIDS is still a major public health and social concern in Malaysia.HIV affected individuals are still suffering from stigma and discrimination. I saw genuine needs for corporate citizens like us to take proactive action.
Significant progress in AIDS response is taking place here in Malaysia. Swiss Garden would like to be part of this exciting time.
MAF is a professional and easy partner to work with. We are confident that whatever support that we have given them will make a difference in the lives of the beneficiaries.
HIV response is very focused and systematic; I saw great synergies between different parties where Government and NGOs work closely to achieve a common goal. A similar dynamic is also established with the corporate sector.
YES, Swiss Garden will certainly continue working with MAF in the foreseeable future.
Q: How do you see your hotel’s role in empowering underprivileged Malaysians living with HIV to turn around their lives by overcoming the stigma and discrimination faced by them, gain the confidence to live their lives like normal people and in the long run, make positive contributions to society?
By empowering the HIV community, especially those from underprivileged background, is an important undertaking that must be supported.
MAF and NGO communities are taking the lead in this initiative and we are more than happy to complement their efforts.
We want to have a workplace free from negative impact of HIV where People Living with HIV will not only survive but thrive to their full potential.
Q: Besides fundraising, does Swiss Garden Kuala Lumpur plan to provide MAF with other support in terms of advocacy and corporate social responsibility efforts, especially in helping to achieve the government’s goal to end AIDS by 2030?
Yes, our support goes beyond fundraising. We subscribe to the belief that workplace discrimination against People Living with HIV has no place in modern, progressive Malaysia.
I am particularly interested in the Malaysian Business Consortium for HIV/AIDS (MBCH) because I believe ending workplace discrimination will become a game-changer in AIDS response. As a home-grown hospitality brand, we want to throw our support behind MAF’s lobby to get the workplace protection bill legislated by the Government of Malaysia and set the example among our industry peers.
Q: The Resource Mobilisation committee comprises various industry players. What is your role in the committee and how do you foresee your contribution in further mobilising the Foundation’s efforts to expand its programmes to cover a wider reach of the community they serve?
I’m all for supporting MAF’s long-term sustainability plan. They have done a great job in getting corporate Malaysia to support HIV/AIDS in the past but certainly, there is room for expansion. With the cyclical nature of the economy, I know at times it can be challenging for the MAF Fundraising team to continue what they are doing so a sustainable income stream would certainly provide them with greater fiscal buffer.
I want to help MAF in creating new partnership opportunities; find creative new ways to engage donors and supporters that go beyond the traditional fundraising method.