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Harris Abdullah

General Manager, The Els Club Desaru Coast, Malaysia

Harris Abdulah, General Manager, The Els Club Desaru, Malaysia

Question: What is Ramadan?

A: Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar and is regarded as the “Holy Month” where Muslims all over the world observe fasting (no food nor drinks) throughout the month from dawn to sunset. The month of Ramadan lasts 29 or 30 days. Malaysia has a population of 33 million people with more than 60 percent are Muslim. Malaysian Muslims fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

“Buka Puasa” means to break-fast and this takes place at around 7:10PM while “Imsak” means to abstain from eating or drinking and this begins at approximately 5:45AM in Malaysia.

Beyond abstaining from food and drinks, Ramadan is also a month for Muslims to be closer to Allah spiritually through increase of worship, practise of compassion, kindness and good deeds as well as acts of charity.

At the end of the fasting month, Muslims joyfully celebrate Aidilfitri; in the tenth month of the Islamic calendar known as Syawal.


Question: Your experiences with Ramadan, both personal and business perspective?

A: During Ramadan, my day starts as early as 5AM to prepare a pre-dawn meal and prayer. Throughout Ramadan, I typically start work earlier than usual. I find fasting is good for my health and builds my mental strength. Once a week, I still embark on an evening 9-hole round of golf to maintain my workout routine.

Particularly in the first week of fasting, it can get tiring especially for the greenkeepers, service and operations teams. I always try and motivate these associates and encourage them to continue to work hard in spite of the fasting month. As a team, we enjoy fasting together and after a long day, we look forward to breaking fast together in good spirits. This strengthens our team spirit and is a great way to bond with colleagues.

Ramadan is the quietest for golf and outdoors activities, but it can get busy for the F&B front liners because most of the restaurants promote Ramadan buffet for break-fasting.

Malaysia being a multi-racial society, enables us to target specific segments during fasting month. In 2022, despite the fasting month, we see an upward trend with the reopening of Singapore – Malaysia borders. After 2 years of hiatus due to the pandemic, golf and F&B are expected to finish on a high note since the club’s inception in 2016.

Here’s wishing all Muslims Selamat Berpuasa and Selamat Hari Raya.

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