When I became the chairman of the Board of Management for Madarah Amir Indra Putera(MAIP) in 1978, the school needed at least 20 additional classrooms. MAIP is a religious school founded by my late father in 1946. In the ’70s, the enrolment had grown by leaps and bounds. MAIP had to do double sessions-morning and afternoon sessions. My father was homebound due to a stroke attack two years earlier. The responsibility was on my shoulders as his eldest son. I was only 26 years old back then and working as a PWD engineer in Pasir Mas, Kelantan, Malaysia.
MAIP is under the administration of a state agency. It does not have funds like any other federal government school to build additional 20 classrooms. At that time, the estimated cost was about RM500,000. To campaign for public donation would take years before I could get the money. Hundreds of students will suffer. I had to look for another alternative.
Raising funds to construct 20 classrooms is a project by itself. I remember my late father took years to collect money, donations of construction materials and got the village folks to volunteer and build the school. I remember sending the food and drink for my elders to eat at the school construction site. Those were the days.
As a government officer at that time, I knew that the federal government does provide funds for special projects like Islamic religious schools and mosques. I contacted our local UMNO Party Chief and informed him of my financial need to build more classrooms. A donation is good political mileage for my political friends in the government. The local party chief took me to see our Finance Minister Tengku Razaliegh Hamzah at his house Palm Manor in Kota Baharu, Kelantan. I was shivering in my pants meeting him for the first time as I had never met and talked to any minister before in my life. Most of the talking was between the Party Chief and the Minister. I only told him about the condition of the school that needs another 20 classrooms. I was quite well versed with the technical aspects of the school building because I was working on education projects in Kelantan. The Party Chief managed to invite the Minister to come to our school Parent and Teacher Open Day.
On returning home, I got myself busy preparing the school plans for 20 classrooms. At the same time, I got help from UMNO Youth Wing to get 100 motor-cycles outriders to welcome the Minister at the border of Bachok and Kota Baharu districts. On arrival, our local UMNO Women Section will have 46 ladies bearing ‘Pulut Semangat’ on their heads to welcome the Minister of Finance. By the way, the Minister is actually a prince from Kelantan Royal Household.
On his arrival, the Party Chief and I were there to greet and escort him to the VIP area. He was very pleased to see 1000 students and their parents welcoming him. The first speech was given by the school Head Master. As we were listening to the speech, I took out two A1 drawings of the proposed classrooms to show to the minister. After listening to my explanation he asked me how much money do I need. I told him almost in a whisper that we needed RM500,000. That amount of money is not small at that time. I was very worried that I was asking too much and my request will be rejected. He nodded and smiled. I just keep my fingers crossed and pray. It was not for me but for the people.
When the MC invited the Minister to give his speech, I was tense and prayed for the best. I listened to every word he said. He may just ignore my request. Before the Minister ended his speech, he declared that he approved a sum of RM500,000 to build 20 classrooms for the school. I jumped with tears of joy. The applause was deafening and immediately I rushed to shake his hand and thank him. How I wish my late father was there in the school hall to hear the good news. As his eldest son, I am proud and grateful for the small contribution in support of my father’s dream to spread Islamic education for the people of Kelantan, especially those in Bachok. Now the school is one of the best Islamic religious schools in Kelantan with 1270 students.
Let me record my sincere thanks to YBM Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for his generosity. My father has passed away 41 years ago. Now, I am 69 years old and I want to do something that has a very big impact on the students' culture of learning. The school is in bad need to have a good library. I am now planning to build 5000 square feet library with 5000 books. So help me God.