The Malaysian Aids Foundation Red Ribbon Gala Makes A Return This Year

The Malaysian Aids Foundation Red Ribbon Gala Makes A Return This Year

Shining A Spotlight On The Protection Of The Careers Of People Living With Hiv (Plhiv) Through Workplace Legislation

• Malaysia’s Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, stated that people living with HIV (PLHIV) should have the chance to pursue careers without facing stigma and discrimination.
• The Prime Minister fully endorsed MAF’s effort to promote the legislation of HIV/AIDS workplace protection law.
• RM 1.8 million was raised from the Gala. This will be directed towards the Medical Assistance Scheme – an HIV treatment program that supports 2nd line medication for underprivileged People Living with HIV.

SUNWAY CITY KUALA LUMPUR, 1st December 2023 – The Red Ribbon Gala, the flagship annual fundraiser for the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) made a glorious return today at the Sunway Resort Hotel in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur. The Black Tie Affair also coincides with the World Day Celebration on the same day.

MAF Red Ribbon Gala was honoured by the presence of the Crown Prince of Selangor, HRH Tengku Amir Shah Ibni Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Al-Haj. YAB Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, was officially represented by his Political Secretary, Datuk Azman Abidin.

In a speech delivered by Datuk Azman, the Prime Minister echoed strong support for ending workplace discrimination against People Living with HIV. “My administration stands firmly behind MAF’s ambition to promote the legislation of HIV/AIDS Workplace Protection law, an effort that was also jointly promoted by the Ministry of Human Resources.

“People living with HIV should be allowed to pursue careers and build their own lives without being burdened by prejudice and discrimination.” “ In the meantime, I urge all employers in Malaysia to reevaluate their hiring standard and other related human resources practices that may have unknowingly discriminated against People Living with HIV.”

Professor Dato’ Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Chairman of MAF, emphasised the need to establish a legal and policy framework dedicated to safeguarding the human rights of key populations.
“ Human rights and HIV are closely intertwined. A lack of respect for human rights fuels the spread and worsens the impact of the disease. This is evidenced in the disproportionate incidence and spread of the disease among key populations at higher risk.”

“ Punitive approaches towards them only fuel stigma and hatred against these populations, pushing them further into hiding and away from services to prevent, treat, and mitigate the impact of HIV.”

” As the Chair of the Drug Policy Reform Program, I strongly advocate for a more compassionate approach to Key Populations, starting with decriminalising drug use. Instead of forced institutional rehabilitation, evidence-based treatment options in the community should be implemented.”

Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, Patron of MAF, stressed that stigma and discrimination have a more significant impact on People Living with HIV than the virus itself.

“With four decades of historical strides in science and progress, eradicating AIDS is not a distant dream but an achievable reality. The key tool in curbing the spread of HIV is a lifelong medication for those infected. Unfortunately, some individuals lack awareness on how to protect themselves and others from HIV.”

“Compounding this issue, social stigma and discrimination have a more profound impact on those living with the condition than the virus itself. It is our responsibility to proactively engage in spreading HIV awareness, particularly in the crucial battle against stigma and discrimination.”

The Red Ribbon Gala is also supported by the Sunway Group, a long-term sustainability partner of MAF that has been a critical ally in its fight to create a more sustainable AIDS response.
“Sunway’s support for the Malaysian AIDS Foundation is based on our CSR commitment to leave no one behind. That is why most of our CSR projects are focused on helping the marginalised and often forgotten sectors of society. If our country is to live up to its claims of being a caring society, it is essential that we help our fellow Malaysians who are struggling to survive in a world of darkness and misery – and this includes the right to work without prejudice and discrimination.
—remarked Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Sir Jeffrey Cheah, Founder and Chairman of Sunway Group.

Our belief that no one should be left behind is one of the fundamental reasons why Sunway is deeply committed towards advancing the sustainable development agenda. We have fully embraced the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by all 193 member states of the United Nations in 2015. One of those goals is to end AIDS by 2030,” Cheah added.

The Gala’s highlight was the MAF Impact Report 2023 launched by HRH, The Crown Prince of Selangor. The report contains a comprehensive assessment of MAF life- saving programs and how they have contributed to the overall progression of the ending AIDS mission in Malaysia. The Malaysian AIDS Foundation Impact Report 2023 was prepared by PEMANDU Associates with the support of Humanize Malaysia.

The Malaysian AIDS Foundation’s Red Ribbon Gala raised RM 1.8 million through donations from table sales and various contributors.

The funds generated from the Gala will play a direct role in supporting essential HIV treatment programs for underserved individuals living with HIV. This contribution will be channeled through the Medicine Assistance Scheme, guaranteeing that focused assistance reaches those most in need.

Notable among the generous top donors are Karex Berhad, Berjaya Corporation Berhad, Pertama Digital Berhad, Majlis Perwakilan Penduduk Wilayah Persekutuan Bandar Tun Razak, and PEMANDU Associates. Additionally, PERKESO made a significant direct contribution to the Medicine Assistance Scheme.

Support by PERKESO was part of a collaboration framework that includes a comprehensive disability management initiative, prevention, treatment and Return-to- Work program for PLHIV, which aligns with MAF’s workplace policy advocacy.The MAF Red Ribbon Gala was attended by 400 guests, comprising MAF corporate partners, donors, and media partners from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
Guests were treated to a multi-course fine dining experience specially curated by the Sunway Resort Hotel’s talented culinary team. Entertainment was provided by Award- winning crooner Anuar Zain and supported by Zahid Baharuddin of AF-fame and Dhiya with her Live Band, De Mona.

The event was produced by MD Event Asia, an independently owned-event management company based in Kuala Lumpur. Razak Luxe Décor designed décor and stunning floral centrepieces.

ABOUT THE MALAYSIAN AIDS FOUNDATION

Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) was formed in 1993 and fully incorporated in 2003 under the Trustees Incorporation Act (1952) to carry out the following objectives: Prevent the spread of HIV in Malaysia; Provide education on matters about HIV/AIDS to the family and friends of people living with HIV, the general public and the authorities at the national and local level in Malaysia; Render support to People Living with HIV; Protect the human rights of people in Malaysia who may suffer discrimination due to their HIV status; and Provide financial assistance or such other form of support to bodies, organisations and institutions, including the Malaysian AIDS Council, in carrying out the activities and services described above.
Learn more at www.maf.org.my

-DG

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