History of SGM

Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM), whose members are located throughout the country, was established in 1984.

SGM was then known as Persatuan Buddhist Nichiren Shoshu Malaysia (NSM). The founding members were the six existing organisations of Persatuan Buddhist Nichiren Shoshu Johor, Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Perak and Penang. In order to unite together Nichiren Buddhist believers throughout Malaysia, the members of these six organisations decided in 1987 to dissolve their organisations and join NSM as individual members.

Branches of NSM were then established in the various states of Malaysia. One of the significant results of the formation of this central body was the construction of the SGM Culture Centre, which was completed in 1988.

In line with the underlying role of SGM in the development of positive human values of its members through the practice of Nichiren Buddhism and endorsing its identity as a fully Buddhist laity organisation, the name of Persatuan Buddhist Nichiren Shoshu Malaysia was changed to Malaysia Buddhist Soka Gakkai Association (SGM) in 1991. Most of the laity Nichiren Buddhist organisations throughout the world had incorporated the words “Soka Gakkai” in the names of their organisations. The word “soka” is the Japanese word for “value creation” while “gakkai” means society.

Culture centres were built or purchased in the various states in Malaysia, to provide the members in each of the states, a venue to congregate and carry out their activities. By the year 2005, every state except for Perlis has a SGM culture centre.

The year 2001 saw the completion of Wisma Kebudayaan SGM in Kuala Lumpur. This culture centre has facilities for the hosting of exhibitions, seminars and performances.


Buddhist study meet in 1970s.

Early Years (1965-1983)

Nichiren Buddhism was first introduced to the shores of Malaysia in 1964. The number of practitioners gradually expanded. In time, the practitioners decided to register as an official association in order to facilitate the running of activities. The first to emerge was in Penang, in 1971. Soon after, practitioners in other states followed suit, to register a state-based association.

8 August 1976: Malaysia first culture centre was established in Penang.
1 January 1977: The inaugural issue of Cosmic. It is currently divided into English/Malay and Chinese versions.


Consolidation (1984 – 1987)

On June 15th 1984, approval was obtained from the Registrar of Societies to set up a national organisation, which at that time was registered as Malaysia Buddhist Nichiren Shoshu Association. [Subsequently the organisation changed its name to Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) in 1991].


Development (1988 – 2000)

At the start of 1988, the NSM Culture Centre was opened as the headquarters. In 1991, NSM formally changed its name to Malaysia Buddhist Soka Gakkai Association (or SGM in short) after obtaining approval from the Registrar of Society. This change reflected the organisation’s identity as a fully Buddhist lay organisation. With this, SGM has more vigorously pursued its promotion of social engagement. SGM members made efforts to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the country as good citizens.

Within this period, the Tadika Seri Soka (TSS) was opened in December 1994. This was an important development in SGM’s efforts to promote the ideals and practice of humanistic education. Children from various races study at the kindergarten, with more than half of those children enrolled being non-SGM members.

SGM Culture Centre (Cheras) SEA Games (1989)
23 January 1988: Opening Ceremony of NSM Culture Centre
NSM Culture Centre – a cherished dream of NSM members throughout the country was finally opened. Over 1,500 NSM representatives attended the opening ceremony.
20 August 1989: NSM Performs in Opening of 15th SEA Games
4,400 NSM members from all over the country came up with a stunning “human graphics” display and a gymnastics presentation for the opening ceremony of the SEA Games at Stadium Merdeka. The 2,200 placard-bearers for the human graphics displayed a total of 150 scenes, while the 2,200 members of the gymnastics performance wowed the crowd with formations like waves, human pyramids, and falling dominoes. Another 1,000 members supported the event from behind the scenes.
3 July 1990: The Birth of Organ Publication Flow
Chinese and English bilingual semi monthly organ publication Flow published.
1 December 1994: Tadika Seri Soka Opens
A total of 150 children and 12 teachers began their first day in class at Tadika Seri Soka. The establishment of TSS is in line with the objective of SGM to play an active role in education and to nurture capable people who would make valuable contributions to society in the future.
11 September 1998: 5,000 SGM Members Perform at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games
Commonwealth Games – the second largest sporting competition in the world opened in spectacular fashion. SGM created history with its 5,000-strong “human graphics” performance, which provided a dynamic graphical background throughout the opening ceremony at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil. The dazzling display by the SGM members gained much praise locally and internationally.
6 November 1998: SGM Human Graphics Wins the IPRM Crystal Award 1998
SGM won the Institute of Public Relations Malaysia (IPRM)’s Crystal Award under the “Voluntary Programmes” category. The award was presented in recognition of SGM’s “human graphics” performance during the opening ceremony of the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games. The IPRM Crystal Award is presented to recognise organisations with the most exemplary public relations project in the country.


Opening of Tadika Seri Soka (1994) Commonwealth Games (1998)

Expansion (2001 – 2010)

SGM’s movement for peace, culture and education expanded further in society, strengthened by the completion of several more culture centres throughout the country. SGM has moved towards actualising the purpose for which these culture centres were built – they are starting points for promoting peace and friendship in the community. Activities on culture and arts, education and peace in each state have intensified and diversified after the completion of the culture centres.

The Completion of States Culture Centres and Wisma Kebudayaan SGM
18 November 2001: Located within the Golden Triangle in Kuala Lumpur, Wisma Kebudayaan SGM was completed on May 3rd, 2001 and opened on November 18th the same year.

Opening of States Culture Centres

SGM Penang Culture Centre 1976-08-08

Kuala Lumpur Culture Centre 1984-12-08

SGM Culture Centre 1988-01-23

SGM Terengganu Culture Centre 1998-03-06

SGM Selangor Culture Centre 1998-04-26

SGM Kedah Culture Centre 1998-12-26

SGM Negeri Sembilan Culture Centre 2000-07-22

SGM Kelantan Culture Centre 2000-08-18

SGM Perak Culture Centre 2001-02-18

SGM Johor Culture Centre 2001-03-17

SGM Sarawak Culture Centre 2001-10-20

SGM Sabah Culture Centre 2001-12-29

SGM Melaka Culture Centre 2002-04-20

SGM Bukit Tambun Culture Centre 2002-06-08

SGM Pahang Culture Centre 2005-08-21

Wisma Kebudayaan SGM Arts Supporter Awards (2004)
27 February 2004: SGM Receives Arts Supporter Award
SGM became the inaugural recipient of the Arts Supporter Awards (Anugerah Pendukung Seni) in the NGO category at the National Arts Awards 2004. The awards recognise outstanding contribution to the development of art and culture by individuals and organisations.
4 July 2005: SGM Selangor Receives Arts Supporter Award
SGM Selangor received the Arts Supporter Award for non-governmental organisations at the Selangor Arts and Culture Award 2005 Ceremony. The award, the highest honour given by the state for artistic and cultural contributions was presented in recognition of SGM Selangor’s contribution towards culture and active participation in many cultural activities.
21 May 2006: SGM Perak Receives Arts Supporter Award
In recognition of its contribution to arts and culture, SGM Perak was given an award at the Perak Arts Supporter Awards 2006. SGM’s award was for being “The Most Active Non-Malay Cultural Association,” in the state. SGM Perak is the second SGM state branch to receive such an honour from the state government.