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Formation of MAAN

1986 may be considered the year that rallied the Muslim Malays in New South Wales (NSW) together. Although Malays has been living in metropolitan NSW for a great number of years, social cohesion and interaction were lacking among the Malay residents.

New Malay migrants arriving into Australia usually finds it hard adjusting to their new environment. On the rare occasions when they do meet - food, religion, events at their country of origin and cultural values are common subjects of conversation. One of the most talk-about topics usually centered on the bringing up of children in a new society.

The death of a Malay Muslim woman that year and her subsequent cremation at the request of her bereaved husband caused a stir within the Malay community. Subsequent events quickly brought about some rethinking among the Malays. It became evident that there was a need for an association that can provide guidance in Islam, promote cultural understanding and Islamic values; and to act as the harnessing force within the Malay community.

A year after the idea was first mooted MAAN was formed. The name MAAN is an acronym of Malay Australian Association of New South Wales; and incidentally bears the meaning "togetherness" in Arabic.

The first president of MAAN was Pak Samat Amjah. He was an active member of the Association until his passing in 2012. Pak Samat holds pioneer status amongst the Malay community. In the Australian SBS Television documentary series " Tales from The Suitcase", Pak Samat revealed the difficult years he experienced as a pioneering Malay in the history of Australia. The series also centered on Pak Samat, considered a "coloured" person in his time, challenged the "White Australian Policy".

Today, MAAN not only play a pivotal role to its community in New South Wales, it also act as a "hub" for the Malays to keep in touch and foster "good silatulrahim" among the new generation Malays. Through wholehearted dedication and effort, one is no longer surprise to see members and their families of the Malay community dressed in traditional Baju Kurung's (traditional Malay costumes) participating in public events:

  • Performing traditional Malay dances in major events
  • Member's setting up hawker stalls promoting traditional Malay Kuihs (cakes), Satays etc.

MAAN as an organisation derives most of its operating expenses by actively participating in local festivities through setting up food stalls selling Malay food and delicacies. Our hosting of the annual MAAN fund raising gala and dinner night where members perform traditional dances with sketches illustrating Malay cultures and values also help to contribute to our bottom line. The organisation aim to mobilise its members and provide to the wider community programs to help provide for its long term goal of keeping alive Malay cultural values and traditions in Australia. To date, it conducts:

  • Malay language classes
  • Malay folk arts and crafts
  • Malay cultural dance lessons so that it members can participate and perform in local and major festivities. (see the MAANari tab)
  • Religious classes
  • Promoting of games like - Sepak Takraw, Carom etc
Maan's Mission:

  • Promote a culturally vibrant Malay culture and values not only in New South Wales but also throughout Australia so that other Australian States can also understand us better;
  • To be socially progressive by engaging and working closely with other ethnic groups to help create an environment of understanding and be tolerant of one another's cultural heritage and identities;
  • Help fellow Australians understands us better and therefore promote racial and religious tolerance;
  • Play an active and leading role in the development of Malay Australians into a dynamic community taking its pride of place in the larger Australian society;
  • Be a cultural bridge to Asia;
  • Establish links with other Malay associations within Australia and oversea;