In the distant past, precisely thirty years ago, a 78-year-old Chinese rubber trader named Yek Dong Ping bought a parcel of agricultural land in Ayer Tawar for the sum of RM330,000. Interestingly, the plot of land had already become home to SJKT Ladang Ayer Tawar, a Tamil primary school.
Rather than displacing the school, Yek not only permitted its continued operation but also generously exempted it from any rental fees. Taking his generosity a step further, he even shouldered the quit rent for the school, which utilizes half an acre of the land.
Yek Dong Ping aimed to support the school, guaranteeing that children of Indian-Tamil descent could receive education in their native language within a favorable setting. This dedication to the cause became particularly conspicuous last year when the school reached out to him with the intention of purchasing the land. Their objective was to undertake both the expansion of the school and the renovation of certain deteriorating classrooms.
Despite of the land’s market value hovering around RM200,000 per acre, Yek Dong Ping demonstrated extraordinary generosity by consenting to sell nearly three acres for a mere RM400,000. This gesture aimed to support the school’s educational initiatives.
Upon the school’s agreement to the deal, he realised that the board of directors lacked the necessary funds. In response, he not only expressed understanding but also offered a substantial donation of RM50,000 to aid the school in its fundraising efforts and lowered the price to RM350,000.
As the school encountered challenges in gathering sufficient funds, Yek went above and beyond by further reducing the selling price to a considerable RM300,000. This compassionate act showcased his commitment to facilitating the school’s aspirations despite financial obstacles, emphasizing his benevolent approach to supporting education.
Yek’s benevolent gesture garnered acclaim and admiration from the school community, particularly earning praise from its two vice headmistresses. His act of kindness was widely recognized and appreciated, resonating positively within the school’s leadership and fostering a sense of gratitude towards his for his generous support.
For the past three decades, Yek has selflessly shouldered the quit rent for the school, established in 1938, without seeking any rental payments from the management of the school. Additionally, he has actively supported the school by sponsoring various activities and even distributing mandarin oranges during the Chinese New Year festivities.
“I am not rich, but I can still afford to pay the quit rent. The majority of the students in the school are children of rubber tappers. “I am merely returning all the support I have been receiving from Indian rubber tappers,” said Yek Dong Ping.
In a remarkable display of unity and generosity, Yek Dong Ping exemplifies the spirit of a true Malaysian. Yek’s benevolence extends beyond financial support, symbolizing a shared commitment to education and cultural harmony. His actions embody the essence of a united Malaysia, where individuals like Yek Dong Ping prove that collective support transcends ethnic boundaries, fostering a stronger and more inclusive nation.