A journey of a thousand bricks ends, but...
Malaysiakini 's journey of a thousand bricks ended last week. On April 10 at 4pm, we keyed in our final supporter for our ‘appreciation’ wall at Malaysiakini 's new building.
A nationwide effort to raise funds from the public for Malaysiakini’s new building saw RM1.57 million raised so far.
Apart from the 1,000 people on our website who have contributed RM1,000 each for the 1,000 bricks, 104 individuals gave smaller sums amounting to RM21,964. Many individuals gave more than RM1,000 for their bricks, some as much as RM5,000.
- One organisation that requested anonymity gave RM25,000
- Two individuals gave RM50,000 each
- One university gave a RM50,000 contribution
Indeed, I felt really sorry when I had to tell an eager supporter that we had reached our target of 1,000 bricks. But since the support was so overwhelming and people are still calling the office to buy a brick, we have come up with other ways the public can continue to show its support to Malaysiakini .
While I have told a number of special stories about our supporters over the last few months, our last brick went to a woman who called up from Hawaii at 4pm last Thursday.
She said she bought a brick as a surprise for her daughter who has just completed her PhD. She sent the cheque some three weeks ago but her sister in Malaysia had informed her that her daughter's name was not on the website.
I asked her to call up her bank because I was certain her cheque has not reached us.
However, since this was such a special situation, we gave our last reserved brick to her and she promised to send another cheque. She thanked us repeatedly for saving the last brick for her.
This milestone - 1,000 bricks - has lifted our spirits.
CEO Premesh Chandran ( right in photo ) said, "It’s a fantastic achievement. We are truly overwhelmed by the show of support from our readers.
“It’s clear that Malaysians are willing to invest in press freedom. It gives us confidence in taking Malaysiakini to the next level.”
While we had planned to move into our new building - @Kini in Petaling Jaya - in June, seeking approval from the local council for our renovations will take longer than expected.
We now see ourselves moving to the new office in September.
At present, we are looking into sponsorship for our office furniture and storage, air conditioning, lighting, telecommunications and Internet services, furnishing our studios, tiling and flooring as well as solar power panels.
Many organisations have come forward to help make this process not only easy but cost-effective. Most are Malaysiakini supporters. We are more often than not lost for words.
Tiles still up for grabs
For the next phase of our fund raising efforts, Malaysiakini will focus on approaching corporations for support.
While the 1,000 bricks have been sold to individuals, we still have 39 tiles going at RM25,000 each and 12 megatiles of RM50,000 left.
While many have told us that we have already pulled off a huge achievement in the fund raising campaign, the lofty target of RM3 million is still tantalising and we not ready to call it quits.
However, we will not forget individual supporters who have missed out on buying the bricks. They can still contribute.
“They can gather 25 of their friends to chip in RM1,000 each and we shall put all their names on the RM25,000 tile,” said editor-in-chief Steven Gan.
“Alternatively, Malaysiakini can continue to take in RM1,000 and every time we reach 25 names, their names will go on a tile.”
Needless to say, each contribution will come with a three-year subscription and advertising to match.
To the 1,000 people who have supported this project, we are requesting that you redeem your subscriptions and advertising at your earliest convenience. We hope to close this part of the project as soon as possible. For more information, please email: [email protected] .
And for the RM1.57 million raised so far, we thank you for your support.
Finally, to my colleagues who have been incredible allies and pillars of strength, carpe diem !
Find out more about the 'Support @Kini' campaign.
LYNN D’CRUZ is project manager of Malaysiakini .