29 October 2012 – The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur reported that Muslim-Filipinos in Malaysia organized themselves by establishing a community association called the Union of Muslim Filipinos in Malaysia (UMFM) during a meeting held on October 20 at the Embassy's Vista Community Hall, and had the induction of its first set of officers on October 28 at the same venue.
Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya administered the oath to its president, Jamel Cayamuddin, and the rest of the UMFM's officers, namely: Mohammad Omar Bin Bituh (vice president for internals), Jamila Binti Abdullah (vice president for externals), Carim Panumpang (secretary), Imam Hamza Balt (treasurer), Khadafy Sinulinding (auditor), Jonathan Mantikayan (PIO) and committee heads Ustadz Cairoden Lao (culture), Nadhera Muhammad Qassem (education) and Muhammad Renato (religion and sport).
In his remarks, Ambassador Malaya congratulated the UMFM officers and members for finally coming together and organizing themselves, particularly at this time when there are "dramatic and exciting" developments in Mindanao with the signing of the Framework Agreement between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
"The Embassy wishes to put our Filipino Muslim culture and heritage front and center of the its activities and initiatives. We would like to showcase and put the spotlight on the country's Muslim heritage in its dealings with the host government and society. Apart from helping the Embassy in reaching out to Muslim Filipinos, we would like to also ask the UMFM for advice and recommendations on how to further uplift the welfare of Muslim Filipinos in Malaysia," he said.
The Embassy had celebrated a Hari Raya dinner after the holy month of Ramadan, designated a mini surau (prayer room) at the Embassy's community hall with a qiblat (arrow pointing to the direction of kaaba, where all Muslims should face while praying) and featured Maranao malong artworks in its offices.
For his part, UMFM President Cayamuddin extended the organization's gratitude to the Embassy for its support to the group, and highlighted the need for constructive cooperation in achieving shared goals.
"Muslims and non-Muslims within or outside the Philippines can work together peacefully for a common goal. I would like to take this opportunity to invite my other Muslim brothers and sisters to join us, so that we can work together in order for us to maximize our altruistic efforts in pursuit of a sustainable growth for each and everyone," he said.
Mr. Cayamuddin is a Sharia Counsellor and is taking his doctorate degree at the International Islamic University of Malaysia.
Embassy Attache Mustapha Lucman welcomed the Filipino Muslims' initiatives, stating that it was "timely and historic," as many have long been residing in Malaysia.
A dinner followed the induction ceremony. END