Top 10 Most-Admired Philanthropists in Malaysia

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Many corporations in Malaysia make financial contributions to charitable organisations as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives. But there are some leaders of these corporations who have gone a step further to ensure the sustainability of these philanthropic endeavours. Top 10 of Malaysia presents its list of the country’s top 10 most-admired philanthropists (presented in random order) who have made a wonderful and heart-warming difference in society and in the lives of the less fortunate.
Dato’ Vijay Eswaran
Dato’ Vijay Eswaran is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Qi Group, a multi-million dollar direct selling company based in Hong Kong involved in weight management, nutrition, personal care, home care, luxury goods and fashion accessories.Vijay also founded RHYTHM Foundation and its Malaysian chapter, Vijayaratnam Foundation. Registered in Hong Kong, RHYTHM Foundation has been involved in various global initiatives in the areas of education, disaster relief, children and community development. The Vijayaratnam Foundation which was established in honour of Vijay’s father is involved in youth and women empowerment, arts and culture, child mentoring as well as environmental protection projects in Malaysia. The Foundation is known for its projects, Footprints – a mentoring programme for children in orphanages, Maharani – a series of educational and empowerment camps for adolescent girls from less privileged backgrounds and Taarana– a special school for children with learning disabilities. In 2011, Forbes Asiaput Vijay on its list of ‘48 Heroes of Philanthropy’.
Dato’ Ruby Khong
Many of us may have heard of Kechara Soup Kitchen but not many may know Dato’ Ruby Khong, the lady behind it.Kechara Soup Kitchen is a non-religious community action group that distributes food and medical aid to the homeless.
Prior to leading a life of volunteerism and philanthrophy, Khong had many questions about life that went unanswered. It was only after a spiritual pilgrimage to India in 1994 where she met her spiritual guide, Tsem Tulku Rinpoche that her life began to change. It inspired her to get involved in charity work. As President of Kechara Soup Kitchen, Khong is a very hands-on person. She involves herself in the packing and delivery of food to the homeless on a daily basis. Apart from that, the organisation also provides counselling and training to help the homeless onto a better life. In 2010, Khong was on the list of Forbes Asia’s‘Heroes of Philanthropy’. In 2013, she was won the Bella Award for her work with Kechara Soup Kitchen.
Tan Sri Datuk Ng Teck Fong
Tan Sri Datuk Ng Teck Fong is the Founder and Group Executive Chairman of Tomei Consolidated Berhad, an integrated manufacturer and retailer of gold and jewellery. Having founded the company as a small family enterprise in 1968, Ng has played a pertinent role in the growth and development of the Group. With more than 40 years of experience in the jewellery industry and armed with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Taiwan National Cheng Kung University, Ng has grown to become a respected authority in gold, silver and platinum as well as other precious stones. He set up the Ng Teck Fong Foundation in 2006 to assist less fortunate students to complete their studies. Every year the Foundation gives out cash rewards and other forms of financial aid to primary and secondary school students.
Datin Winnie Loo
Celebrity hairstylist Datin Winnie Loo is a woman who is adept in dividing her time between work and charity. As Founder of A-Cut-Above chain of salons, Loo has her hands full managing the 17 hair salons to her name. She also travels frequently to fashion capitals like London and New York and in spite of her busy schedule, Loo still finds time to sing in an all-girl choir called Glitterama to help the sick and needy. In September 2011 the choir raised RM312,000 for 30 charitable homes through a charity dinner.Loo is happy to do what she loves while helping out the less fortunate and she has also done various charitable works like The Moon Speaks for My Heart musical show in 2013 in aid of Institut Tengku Ampuan Afzan.
Koon Yew Yin
Koon Yew Yin is probably known as the man who attempted to donated RM30 million to University Tunku Abdul Rahman but was not successful due to unforeseen circumstances. This simple man’s large donation is reflective of this dedication for education and society. He gives away RM1 million scholarships annually to less fortunate students who are entering colleges or universities. Apparently students can just send their appeal letters to his house telling him why they need the scholarship. Koon will read every letter that comes through his mail box, selects those who are genuinely in need and then award them a scholarship. Koon, a man with a humble demeanour, co-founded IJM Corporation Berhad, a company with core businesses in construction, property development, manufacturing and quarrying, oil palm plantations, toll concessions, port operations and international ventures.
Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun
Tan Sri Vincent Tan is the founder of the Berjaya Group, a conglomerate engaged in various core businesses, some of which include consumer marketing, financial services, management, property investment and development as well as hotels and resorts. In early 2014, Tandonated some RM25 million to 90 non-governmental organisations in conjunction with his 62nd birthday. The donations came from his personal foundation, Better Malaysia Foundation and Berjaya Cares Foundation. Through his Better Malaysia Foundation Foundation, Tan has also set up a centre which provides free acupuncture treatment to underprivileged communities as well as sponsors various feeding programmes for the poor. The Berjaya Cares Foundation was set up in 2008 to provide aid to needy Malaysians, promote employee well-being, conserving and protecting the environment as well as promote and preserve Malaysian arts, culture and heritage.
Tan Sri Datuk Dr Mohan Swami
Tan Sri Datuk Dr Mohan Swami is Executive Chairman of Turiya Bhd, an enterprise involved in property management activities and also Executive Chairman of Chase Perdana Sdn Bhd, a construction and civil engineering company. Thisdoctorwho had established the largest private group medical practice in Sabah, started the Swami-Rathinambal Foundation to lend a helping hand to poor families and students and to support spiritual endeavours. Mohan also provided the financial resources for medical training and research grants in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine of the Unites States.Together with John Hopkins Medicine, he established the Johns Hopkins Dr Mohan Swami Institute of International Medical Educationin 2011 which promotes medical education globally. With his philanthropic endeavours, Mohan is recognised by Forbes Asiain 2012 as one of Malaysia’s leading philanthropists.
Tan Sri Dato’ Francis Yeoh Sock Ping
Tan Sri Dato’ Francis Yeoh Sock Ping is the Group Managing Director of YTL Corporation Bhd, a conglomerate with core businesses in property development, hotels and resorts as well as cement manufacturing.
Trained as a civil engineer, Yeoh is known for his numerous philanthropic works one of which is the Pride Foundation which promotes breast cancer awareness and provides support to victims. Yeoh supports clean and renewable energy initiatives and sponsors awareness campaigns such as ‘Climate Change Week’.For his philanthropic work, Yeoh was honoured by Queen Elizabeth II with a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. In 2010, Yeoh was featured as one of the 48 prominent givers in society in the Asia-Pacific region in Forbes Asia’s ‘Heroes of Philanthrophy’.
Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah
Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah is Founder and Chairman of the Sunway group of companies. He established the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation to inspire philanthropic culture amongst corporations. Cheah made a personal donation of RM20 million to the Foundation which is valued at RM700 million. The Foundation is endowed with full ownership of the Sunway Education Group.
The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation is founded on the fundamental premise of giving to society where operating surpluses of the Sunway Education Group are channelled back into its institutions or disbursed as scholarships and research grants. To date, more than RM50 million worth of scholarships has been awarded to bright and deserving students.In recognition of his contributions to society, Cheah was named as one of Forbes Asia’s ‘Heroes of Philanthropy’ in 2009.
Mohd Kassim Sulong and Miliee Kassim
Mohd Kassim is the co-founder of accounting firm Deloitte Kassim Chan and Miliee is a director of property manager and investor, Harta Setia. They also started the Kassim Chan Humanity Foundation which runs afterschool learning centres in poor areas as well as motivational camps for school children. Kassim and Miliee hope to provide basic education to children from impoverished countries so that these children may in turn be empowered to contribute meaningfully to their respective communities when they grow up. The Kassim Chan Humanity Foundation is currently working on the setting up of a RM33 million Asian International Vocational Centre for less privileged youths to empower them with skills for their adult life. In 2012, Kassim and Miliee were on the list of Forbes Asia’s ‘Heroes of Philanthropy’.
Issue 21/2015

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