Sri Lanka Malay Association centenary | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka Malay Association centenary

9 January, 2022

The Sri Lanka Malay Association, the oldest Sri Lankan Malay institution in the country will celebrate its centenary at the Padang Complex on January 22.

Established on January 22, 1922, with a gathering of Malays from all parts of the Island, assembled at the Wekande Hall in Slave Island with the purpose of forming a body to address the welfare of their community, the institution a non-political body deemed it important to address the social, welfare, educational and protect the cultural values of its 15,000 people at the time.

The gathering, a representation serving in various fields be it the Military, the Estates, the Government services, Commercial enterprises including entrepreneurs the task of solidarity was born. This resulted in the establishment of the All-Ceylon Malay Association.

Recalling that significant day, to preside at that august assembly, Sri Lanka’s law luminary, the late Justice M. T. Akbar proposed the name of AlHaj Dr. T.B. Jayah as Chairman Pro tem. Little did they foresee that late Dr. Jayah would go on to be a key figure acclaimed as a national hero in the struggle for the Independence of the Nation and serve as a Minister of the first Parliament.

Justice Akbar, himself a respected legal advocate who was responsible for many national policy decisions subsequently was appointed to the Supreme Court bench.

The Founder President of the SLMA was the late M.K. Saldin who also served in the legislature in 1931 and his successors too served in the legislature; Al Haj Dr. T.B. Jayah in 1924/1948; Late Dr. M.P. Drahaman in 1956; Late Zahiere Lye In 1963; Late M.D. Kitchilan appointed to the Senate in 1965; the late Justice M.T. Akbar appointed member of the Supreme Court in 1929.

Year on year continuing to strive to make the mission meaningful has kept this unique institution alive for ten decades.

The passion to find the ways and means to serve has brought light to the eyes and a respect to all those who sacrificed for and supplemented the cause. Nothing deterred the journey, whether the trials of a world war or the tremours of independence or ripples of a civil strife the institution upheld the character of its identity. Gallantry, integrity and perseverance the hallmarks of our identity are well interwoven within the community.

The institution continues its exemplary work of striving to uplift the less privileged, strengthening their entrepreneurship skills for better livelihood opportunities, supporting education so that they may contribute to the nation, stretching a hand to the sick to ease their burden, responding to acute situations like the natural disasters and developing infrastructure facilities.

Continuing in the footsteps of the predecessors, the Council members and sub-committees ensure to drive their efforts and satisfy the mission while being an asset to the nation.

The interaction and advent of the Malays could be traced as far back as the 6thor 7th Century. They have amalgamated well with the main stream community sharing their unique culture and traditions. Today, these facets islandwide enrich the lifestyles of the populace.