WHEN I moved to Taman Mawar Fasa 1 (TMF1) in Pasir Gudang about 15 years ago, most of my neighbours were conservative and introverted in character.
Many were from other parts of the state. Some were from as far away as Sabah and Sarawak. The majority of them worked in the private sector and some were government servants.
The TMF1 neighbourhood consists of 400 households dwelling in medium-cost single-storey terrace houses from Jalan Mawar 1 to Mawar 13.
The majority of the 2,000 residents are Malay and they have a cordial relationship with the non-Malays.
My relationship with my neighbours improved after we set up a Yaasin group. We would take turns to host a prayer and recital of the Yaasin verses every Thursday evening.
The success of the Yaasin group led to the setting up an informal working committee to expand the scope of our activities.
I proposed that we set up a residents' committee that would not only safeguard the wellbeing of residents but also foster better relations among the different races.
The TMF1 residents' committee was set up in 2002 and led by me. From then on, many programmes and activities, including festive gatherings, were organised.
The Yaasin recital group is still active.
In 2006, I proposed that we set up a Rukun Tetangga. I also suggested that we set up a voluntary patrol team to maintain peace and order, and curb criminal activities in the neighbourhood. My proposals were welcomed by residents.
Pasir Gudang member of parliament Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin launched the Rukun Tetangga and voluntary patrol team in 2007.
The commitment and cooperation from residents was encouraging.
Regardless of race or religion, they attended almost every gathering we organised. Many even contributed money to the cause.
The patrol team only do their rounds on Saturdays, but senior members led by my deputy Muhammad Abdul Hamid carry out informal patrols every other day, without fail.
In 2010, our patrol team was granted the outstanding management quality award at the Johor Baru district and state levels.
Recently, we were proclaimed the most outstanding patrol team at the state level.
I am convinced that our achievements are due to the good neighbourly relations among the residents.
I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will be declared the best patrol scheme at the national level this year.
Mohd Hashim Marsidi, 52, is an executive with a private firm in Pasir Gudang.