NIMSA brings Malaysia to DeKalb community

By R. Scott Lohman

A little bit of Malaysia is here in DeKalb because of the Northern Illinois Malaysian Student Association (NIMSA).

NIMSA is a 20-year-old organization, which helps to make Malaysian NIU students more comfortable and brings a little bit of Malaysia to the community, said Reza Mutalib, junior economics major and NIMSA president.

NIMSA brings cultural, religious and seasonal activities to NIU for people to learn about Malaysia and the way that it operates, Mutalib said.

NIMSA was formed in 1972 to allow Malaysian students the “expression of their ideas and talents with other Malaysians,” Mutalib said.

Mutalib added that NIMSA has dinners and lunches, which share foods that are common to Malaysia. NIMSA also “curbs energies of loneliness and homesickness, due to students being thousands of miles from home.”

Suhairil Supian, junior marketing major and NIMSA committee member, said that NIMSA “plans to get more involved in the NIU communities.” The group wants to represent Malaysia in the best possible manner, he added.

Zainal Ariffin Ahmad, programming coordinator for the University Programming and Activities Office, said that NIMSA has members who are not only Malayans, but also Chinese people and Indians.

Ahmad said that the main functions of NIMSA are to act as a support group for Malaysians and to keep Malaysians together. NIMSA also “keeps students in touch with their ethnic culture.”

Right now, NIMSA has about 70 members. The group will be having an ethnic food stand at “Springfest.”

On Saturday, NIMSA had a celebration, which ended their religious fasting month, Ahmad said. Ethnic foods were served at the event.