KUALA LUMPUR: #ReachOut, a campaign mooted by a Malaysian senior tax counsel based in New Zealand to help fellow Malaysians who are stranded due to the month-long lockdown in the island country, is an evidence of the true spirit of Malaysians helping each other out during these challenging times.

A brainchild of the president of the New Zealand Malaysia Business Association (NZMBA) Dave Ananth, he said Malaysians in New Zealand have been keeping the true Malaysian spirit growing by assisting their fellow Malaysians like providing medical and legal advice on their commercial lease besides accommodation-related assistance.

“The campaign is not only targeted to help each and every Malaysians stranded in New Zealand but also to reach out to every community in New Zealand whether individuals or business community who needed help during these challenging times.

“We are also currently helping a New Zealander who is stranded in New Delhi, India, due to the travel restriction imposed in and out of the country due to Covid-19,” he told Bernama.

Commenting on the pressing matters faced by Malaysians in New Zealand, Dave said many of them are stranded in various parts of the country and facing uncertainty with their flight home as the airline companies keep on changing the departure dates.

“There have been many who have approached us and we work closely with the Malaysian High Commission in Wellington who is in constant communication with us,” he said, adding that there are some 150 Malaysians who are still stranded in New Zealand.

Dave added he was impressed to see the speed of response of the Malaysians in New Zealand in extending their helping hand to their fellow countrymen.

 He said some Malaysians even offered the use of their unoccupied houses to fellow Malaysians to stay, besides donating household items such as mattresses, sleeping bags, a rice cooker, a heater and even toys for the young ones.

The Seremban-born lawyer said the lockdown in New Zealand still allows the community in New Zealand to go out and buy food and even go for a walk “if you are in your own ‘bubble’ and exercise social distancing”.

Dave also extended his appreciation to the Malaysian High Commissioner to New Zealand Nur Izzah Wong Mee Choo and her team for being in constant contact with the stranded Malaysians who are eager to reach home.

Commenting on what inspired him to start the #ReachOut campaign, Dave said the campaign started off about 24 hours before the start of the one-month compulsory lockdown implemented on Thursday (March 26) to contain the spread of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

“Halfway through the day Malaysians in Australia heard of what we were doing and shared it with the Melbourne Consulate and the Malaysian Business Association in Melbourne.

“They were very impressed and inspired by our efforts and shortly the #ReachOut campaign reached Australian shores,” he said.

He said NZMBA and a few Malaysians from Australia and around the world came together to work on a more global scale and use the Global Malaysian Network (GMN) platform to connect stranded Malaysians with those who could assist them in their localities.

Malaysians who are stranded in New Zealand and need an accommodation or can help with accommodation for stranded Malaysians in New Zealand can contact Dave Ananth at +64 21 021 68888 (calls and WhatsApp) or  Pam Louis: +64 22 085 6608 (WhatsApp only) ,and visit the Facebook page at https://bit.ly/ReachOutCovid19NZMBA. – Bernama