Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Foundation for all the Karims

Cure some time, relief often, comfort always - medical mantra

KARIM Sulaiman is one person who have friends and colleagues who rallied around him. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latif Ahmad led the on-going efforts to seek relief and possibly a cure for Karim's ailment. Now on a six-months medical leave with full pay courtesy of his employer, Berita Harian, Karim is at home as he grapples with his sickness.

Today, Dec 21, an ambulance arranged by Dr Latif took Karim from his house in Sri Gombak to Hospital Kuala Lumpur for an appointment to meet the hospital's top dermatologist, Puan Sri Dr Soraya Tun Hussein. Karim, who had all this while been treated as a patient at a private hospital, will now receive further attention from a Government hospital.

I spoke to Hawa, his wife, and was told that HKL took note of Karim's medical history and ran a series of tests. Hawa, in thanking Dr Latif, Dr Soraya and HKL, said the whole family is grateful for all the help extended to Karim in his time of need.

In fact, Dr Latif is also arranging a medical bed to be sent to Karim's house to help him sleep and rest comfortably. At the moment, Hawa and/or the children will have to carry Karim each time he wants to sit up in bed. With a medical bed, this can be made easier as the bed is electrically-controlled.

News of Karim in the mainstream media has attracted considerable attention with several friends and VIPs visiting him at home. But door-to-door salesmen have also made a beeline to his house as they try to sell cure-alls to Karim. Hawa is not taken in by them this far.

Karim's plight is also a challenge to the country's medical fraternity. If a cure is to be found for Karim, then the medical brotherhood must get together and pool their resources to help the one-time Malaysia's best journalist of the year. It's the least the medical people can do, and I'm very sure that many of them are scouring the medical journals, surfing the Net, making phone calls and sending e mails to their counterparts all over the world to seek help.

Karim, ever the obliging and friendly person that he is, said he is offering himself as a test case for all the doctors. "Use me for your research," he said in a low voice.

Well, that's Karim for you. But what about the many others out there who are probably suffering and in pain as they try to cope with their ailments. For one Karim, there are perhaps tens, or even hundred others who are bed-ridden withering away without help or support for their plight.

Karim is a lucky person in a sense that he has friends who rally behind him. It's because he's a known person, and people take notice. He was an award winner, helped many people in the past, friends to plenty. While he did his job without hoping for any form of gratification, the least we can do for him is to ease his pain. Berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu memikul (no matter how much we see him in pain, only he knows the agony he's going through).

But, as I said, what about the many other Karims in some nook and corner of the country? They are unknowns, have not won awards, and have no friends in high places. They could very well be suffering too, in silence and may have even abandoned any hope of relief and recovery.

We should form a Foundation for them, where we can pool all our resources and use them to alleviate their pain and sufferings. The Government is doing what it can, but we as citizens can also form an action group to provide the extra care and really lend a helping hand. Very often we react quickly but in an ad hoc manner to reports of individuals suffering from some serious illness or other.

We need to organise. When we do so, we can be more effective. We may not be able to search for cures all the time; but we certainly can help provide some relief and offer some comforts to our fellow Man as they lay hapless, alone and in despair.


*cosmic freak* said...


your idea in forming a foundation is truly noble and most appropriate for those unknown, not award winning other Karims in Malaysia.

we see the Bersamamu TV3 programme and all our middle class people with salaries ranges from RM1,000 to RM3,000 tried our best to sms donation of RM2, RM5 or RM10 whenever we can.

But the big MNC's CSR programmes, those high class society, the rich royalties, who practically wrap their chewing gum with a 10 ringgit note, will they be part of this foundation actively, as in to support and show that there's a little bit of humane still left in them?

I've seen fundraising abroad and compared to our country, I don't think the multi billionaires or those aristocrat high class society would want to'turun padang' and be part of helping other people, especially sickly poor people with no names and no awards under their belt.

plus, I've done a case study on CSR, most of the big MNCs will only put their social responsibility in programmes that ONLY benefit the company.

in my opinion, refering everyone as citizen doesn't mean we falls in the same category. there's a HUGE gap even between the high class society and the middle class society.


whether it is a foundation or a trust, i agree with you that we should have something more permanent and less ad-hoc to deal with cases like our friend karim.
you need a lot of money for a foundation. RM1 million as seed money required by the registrar. a trust fund would be more practical but under who/where?
i would like to suggest the Malaysian Press Institute does something to start a trust fund in karim's name. that trust fund could, initially, set out to help journalists and those who work in the media, who fall ill.
and there have been quite a few in recent years, as datuk would be aware, including farid, alex choong, azran, and fredo.
of course, it would be nice for the media companies themselves to chip in for this trust fund, but as you are aware this is easier said than done.
perhaps the malay mail should take the lead. for many, it is still the paper that cares. it still has the malay mail trust fund, which disbursed millions of ringgit in the last decade to help kids and other needy malaysians get medical attention, including surgery.
that fund could be re-defined so that there is something dedicated to journalists like karim and those who serve the media in this country.

apekome said...

I visited Karin yesterday and saw a lot of improvemensin his health and most importantly his spirit. He told me that he is gappy and not to worry so much because he know that we are with him.

Anonymous said...


in this so uncaring world, it is a relief to read such a blog like yours; to know theres still someone who cares.

you are indeed a kind man with a caring heart, datuk. yes, your idea of having a foundation for all the karims is very noble and thoughtful. with your kind of contact, i believe you can gather enough cash and manpower to jumpstart the foundation. i wouldnt mind volunteering my physical self to help out where necessary.

my hat-off to berita publishing, datuk for donating to karim through its lifestyle mag, jelita during its 30th anniversary gala charity dinner; and the first to donate, for that matter. another noble move from a publishing house where journalist helps journalist.


please do not stop writing about ali, muthu and ah chai whom their needs are ignored by many of us. if we can afford to build a new istana which cost millions of dollars from our taxes and when the old one is still standing beautifully, i wonder why we still have to read rakyats menagih bantuan wang dari kerajaan; many more in baling, kelantan, selangor yang kais pagi makan pagi.


what hadhari is it for a prime minister to enjoy his holiday in foreign land when his rakyat ditimpa musibah banjir?

i kept wondering what would the future be for my children, datuk...

syed syahrul zarizi b syed abdullah said...

I agree with other comments here and I truly respect you for taking the lead. There are alot of people in a better position to take the first step, to help the needy but the just don't bother. I hope Dato can use your position and connection to start something positive here.

To all, Selamat menyambut raya korban & happy new year

Anonymous said...


Assalamu’alaikum WBT and Salam Sejahtera.

I’m Siti Hawa Bt Hj Mohd Ariff wife of Karim Sulaiman trying my best to write
on his behalf.

Having read to him the blog in the internet, he wants me to convey his gratitude
towards you Ybhg Dato’ Ahmad Talib, Encik Mior, Rocky and the gang for
highlighting his ailment to the public for the very first time.

We felt deeply touched by the help, the care and your kind concern.

Already being at home for more than a month, before you came, he has been
uneasy staying at home not able to do anything, moody and unhappy. But of
course for a workaholic (everyone knows that) would feel the same.

If he could move freely or at least get up and sit down on his own, I’m sure he
would still be going out to work. Only off late that these cannot be done anymore,
forcing him to call it a day and reluctantly choose to stay at home.

To Ybhg Dato’ Ahmad Talib, Encik Mior and Rocky, you have boosted his spirits.
By your visit, it has brought him brighter days, made him happier and more cheerful.

Since then we have received phone calls, visits from ex-bosses, friends and readers
coming to give words of support and offers help.

Thank you, for your presence have made him feel appreciated. There is now some form of clarity in his words. In a way that is good therapy for him.

He would also like to thank the corporate office for their understanding and tolerance.

Since 1985 when he first started his service, there was hardly any record of medical
leave. But in 2000 he has been away from work frequently on medical leave and having
been warded.

His superiors have given him flexible working hours and even guaranteed him the best
medical treatment by the best specialists.

I personally feel that Karim is such a lucky person having you all as his friends.
“A friend in need is a friend indeed”!

As for me, having him at home is not a problem. He is a good patient. You can put him
on a ‘pantang’ or strict diet he would follow; give him the smelliest or the most bitter
medicine he will consume no matter how difficult.

The sacrifices I made are not as great as his sufferings. That had made me strong!
The children have also contributed in the form of providing him comfort wherever

We also like to put on record our sincere gratitude and thanks to YBhg Dato’ Dr. Latif, Deputy Health Minister for his visit and concern. Also for his referral to see
YBhg Puan Sri Suraiya Tun Hussein, Head of Dermatology Department, HKL.

Special thanks to YBhg Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Dato’ Dr Rahman Ahli Parlimen
Gombak, YBhg Dato’A Kadir Jasin, ex-bosses, the executives and staff of NSTP,
Berita Harian, Harian Metro,New Straits Times, Malay Mail, Utusan Malaysia, Bernama, RTM and ex-media friends
for your visit.

Words cannot express how grateful we are towards all of you and only GOD could repay you for your kind hearts.

Thank you all from the bottom of our heart.

Kak Teh said...

selamat hari raya and selamat tahun baru to you and family. Syabas and do continue your good work.

To Hawa, anak kak teh ada di Malaysia dan akan melawat Hawa dan Karim sekeluarga nanti bagi pihak kami yang jauh. Insyaallah.