AKPK Celebrates Heritage And Financial Resilience With 500-Year-Old Tualang Tree Tribute In Maran

Maran, 6 June 2024 – Demonstrating its commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental care, Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK) conducted a significant initiative to replant two tualang trees, or Koompassia Excelsa, in Kampung Kuala Wau, Maran, Pahang. This initiative not only aligns with AKPK’s CSR goals but also honours a historic Tualang tree that had stood in the village for over 500 years. This iconic tree was the only one of its kind situated within a populated area in Malaysia, symbolising both natural heritage and community pride.

The event, a testament to the Tualang tree’s significance to the local heritage and the community’s commitment to environmental conservation, drew a crowd of over 200 participants, including villagers, schoolchildren, and teachers. Leading the tree planting ceremony was AKPK’s Chief Executive Officer, Azaddin Ngah Tasir, with support from a representative from the forestry department and witnessed by Chief Assistant District Officer (Land), Halimah-Tus-Saadiah Mohd Halim, the official representative from Maran District and Land Office to the event.

In her welcoming address, representing Maran District and Land Office, Halimah-Tus-Saadiah said, “This is a very significant programme and we are very honoured by this noble gesture by AKPK to bring this project to our community and to even provide assistance in supplying two young Tualang trees for the replanting project.

Mission accomplished – a proud moment for AKPK and Kampung Kuala Wau, Maran.

The Tualang tree that fell recently was more than 500 years old, hence this initiative by AKPK is highly appreciated. The children present today will see for themselves how many years this new Tualang tree will stand tall. Perhaps it will last much longer than its predecessor. Indeed, this can be one of the meanings of the expression, ‘guests are a blessing’.”

The tualang tree of Kampung Kuala Wau enjoyed wide coverage on the national news in 2016 and fell in early 2024. 

For AKPK, this initiative is more than a conservation effort; it symbolises the agency’s mission and values. The Tualang tree’s magnanimous presence and virtues inspire AKPK’s commitment to alleviating financial distress and promoting societal harmony. Financial distress with severe life imbalance can happen all too often especially to those who are eager to fit in and seek instant gratification.

One such case attended to by AKPK involved a young IT graduate with a starting salary of RM5K who ended up with a RM75K outstanding from five credit cards, and a RM90K car loan. The impact of AKPK’s work is not only on the rehabilitation of debts but also on psychological and mental transformation.

CEO Azaddin Ngah Tasir emphasised AKPK’s deep connection to the iconic tree, “Just as the Tualang tree was the pride of Kampung Kuala Wau, AKPK aims to be the pride of Malaysian financial consumers. AKPK aspires to be the institution the Malaysian public turns to for sound financial management, designing good financial behaviour not just at the individual and community level, but also at the national level.”

Azaddin drew parallels between the tree’s life and AKPK’s mission. “For centuries, the tree stood tall, admired by all. Yet, its foundation was finally compromised until it fell. Similarly, many people focus on income and gains, yet financial management is the true foundation of wealth. AKPK is dedicated to educating people on the importance of financial management. Our role is to help individuals build a solid financial foundation to support their ambitions and withstand the tests of time.”

Commemorative plaque marking the planting of the new tualang tree.

Adding to the significance of the day, AKPK also celebrated its 18th anniversary by releasing a commemorative book titled “The Humble Giant: A Story of Humanity.” This anniversary book weaves through crucial lessons on discerning true needs versus passing desires, guiding readers towards enduring wealth over instant gratification, navigating the complexities of financial uncertainty in today’s world. With the central theme, “Dream Big, Start Small, Grow Significantly”, the book serves as a testament to AKPK’s journey and its unwavering commitment to fostering financial resilience among Malaysians.

It was said that the tree gave early signs of decline before it finally fell. Azaddin used this analogy to stress the importance of early detection and action in managing financial health, preventing indebtedness, and avoiding bankruptcy. “The gradual leaning of the tree was a clear sign that something was not right. At AKPK, we emphasise the importance of addressing financial issues early, before they become unmanageable.”

Azaddin concluded with a powerful message of resilience and hope. “In planting two new tualang trees, we symbolise hope and renewal. It’s never too late to correct our mistakes and strive for a better future for the next generation. Heroes are not only those who get it right the first time but also those who make impactful changes later in life. With AKPK, everyone has the opportunity to be a hero of their own life.”

The event’s theme, ‘Sustainable Communities through Financial Resilience: Replanting of Tualang Trees’, encapsulates this spirit. Concluding the event was the release of 30,000 Lampam fingerlings into the village’s freshwater ponds to support local economic activities. This initiative not only aids in sustaining the local ecosystem but also adds to the source of income for the villagers through fish farming. It reflects AKPK’s holistic approach to community support, integrating environmental sustainability with economic development.

This event highlights AKPK’s commitment to environmental conservation, community support, and financial resilience, setting a benchmark for corporate social responsibility in Malaysia. Through initiatives like these, AKPK continues to inspire and lead towards a more financially secure and sustainable future for all Malaysians.