SUNWAY Group founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah may have made billions but his heart is never far from his hometown of Pusing in Perak.
A firm believer in education being the only way out of poverty, the 71-year-old philanthropist continues to take a keen interest in the development of the former tin-mining town and its community at large.
Having previously donated RM2mil to SJK(C) Gunung Hijau for the construction of a new school hall and classroom block, Cheah, through the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, is giving another RM500,000 to the school for the construction of a three-storey administrative block.
Sunway Construction Group Bhd adviser and non-independent non-executive director Datuk Kwan Foh Kwai, who represented Cheah in presenting an initial RM400,000 to the school last Sunday, said Cheah had set up the foundation in order to promote education as a social cause in the country.
“The foundation supports many charitable works everywhere throughout the country, especially in education.
“Many schools and individuals have benefited from donations and scholarships amounting to more than RM50mil annually from the foundation, which is currently worth more than RM1bil,” said Kwan.
Thanking Cheah and the foundation, Board of Governors deputy chairman Datuk Lee Kon Yin said construction of the new administrative block would ease the burden of its teachers who were forced to work in classrooms at present.
“Right now, there isn’t a conducive place for them to work in. Construction is expected to commence in September after the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examinations,” he said, adding that the remaining RM100,000 from the foundation would be handed over to the school when construction commences.
In thanking Cheah, who is also the school’s board of governors chairman, Lee said:
“We are indeed very proud of this Pusing lad, who despite having made it big out there, has not forgotten his roots and continues to give back to the community here.”
The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation was created by Cheah as a vehicle to give back to society.
Originally started in 1997 as the Sunway Education Trust, the fund was converted into the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation in 2010 and the ownership and equity rights of the Sunway Education Group’s 12 learning institutions were transferred to the foundation, resulting in it becoming the largest social enterprise for education in Malaysia.