DATUK Liew Kee Sin, 45, holds education very close to his heart. As a graduate from Universiti Malaya, he joined a local merchant bank in 1981 and after five years, ventured into property development.
He is today a successful man, not just in his profession but also in life. He has four children and lives in a nice house.
That story could very well be of a person that has it all in life. But it could have been vastly different if Liew had not received an education.
The kind of education he talks deeply about is not the paper chase one pursues in the lecture rooms of a large university, nor is it the education one receives from work. It is the simple, basic primary school education.
Liew comes from a poor family. His father was a lorry driver and both his parents and he did not speak English.
“They sent me to an English school but I failed miserably. Luckily for me, one tutor helped me with English and from then on, I made it. I think every child is smart but the challenge is how to direct his energy into proper things,” he said.
Believing that education is something genuinely essential in a child's life, Liew, through the SP Setia Foundation, is trying to give disadvantaged children a better future.
The foundation, a charity trust, was founded on Jan 17, 2000, to provide financial help to individuals, charitable bodies and the community.
Chaired by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, the foundation has contributed to various charities, from the Malaysian Nature Society to the Setia Badminton Academy.
Under the Setia Adoption programme, it provides basic education needs to its adopted children.
This includes school fees, textbooks, stationery, uniforms, meals at canteens and transportation until they complete their primary education.
“The foundation will identify the needy children. We have people to make sure that not only money is given but also that the children receive a proper education,” Liew said.
The foundation raises money from SP Setia's contractors, suppliers and so forth. Its budget is RM4mil per year, of which RM2mil is spent on helping children.
About RM700 to RM800 per year is budgeted for each pupil under the Setia Adoption Programme.
“We have a rule in Setia that contractors and suppliers who deal with the group cannot buy us lunch or dinner. Everything must be done above board. All the money they do not spend on entertaining us must be donated to charity,” said Liew.
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