Celebrating 40 impactful years


By CY LEE

Tunku Imran (centre) cutting a cake during the foundation’s 40th anniversary celebration. With hime are (from left) Sime Darby Property chairman Rizal Rickman Ramli, Yatela, former YSD council member Tan Sri Dr M. Jegathesan, Sime Darby Plantation group managing director Mohamad Helmy Othman Basha, Sime Darby Bhd non-independent non-executive chairman Tan Sri Samsudin Osman, YSD governing council member Datin Paduka Zaitoon Othman, Sime Darby Property group managing director Datuk Azmir Merican and YSD representative Puan Sri Normah Hashim. — MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star

YAYASAN Sime Darby (YSD) marked a milestone in its philanthropic journey as it commemorated 40 years of impactful initiatives.

Together with partners and beneficiaries under its five pillars: education, environment, sports, arts and culture as well as community and health, the foundation celebrated its Ruby Jubilee over a high tea ceremony.

Hosted by foundation chairman Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar, YSD committed to creating more impact by continuously making positive changes.

Tunku Imran credited the success of the foundation’s efforts to the hard work of its beneficiaries and project partners as well as the support and contributions from YSD’s generous donors – Sime Darby Bhd, Sime Darby Property and Sime Darby Plantations.

“These initiatives are made possible due to the leadership of YSD’s past and current council members whose wisdom, guidance and advice have resulted in its success and reach, along with a strong sense of corporate governance while prioritising the growth of beneficiaries and the causes at hand.

“We truly have come a long way over the past 40 years,” said Tunku Imran.

The foundation was established as the philanthropic arm of Sime Darby Group.

It began by awarding scholarships to outstanding students to further their studies at Oxbridge and Ivy League universities.

The foundation’s five pillars were established by former chairman Tun Musa Hitam.

Since its inception, YSD has committed more than RM380mil to educational initiatives, RM180mil to environmental projects, RM200mil to sports as well as community and health, and RM30mil to arts and culture.

It currently has about 1,000 scholars and 100 ongoing long-term projects, and continues to award about 400 scholarships every year while contributing to emergency and relief aid as needed.

One such long-term partnership is with Cancer Research Malaysia (CRM) – a non-profit organisation researching cancers that commonly affect Malaysians and people around the region.

CRM chief scientific officer Prof Datin Paduka Dr Teo Soo Hwang said there was no organisation in the country or region that was studying Asian cancer patients prior to the formation of CRM in 2008.

“When looking at setting up an organisation, YSD offered to host us at their facility at Subang Jaya Medical Centre, which enabled us to work with some of the country’s top doctors to recruit cancer patients into the research study.

“What we tried to do was make sure that Asians were not left out and YSD enabled us to set up a laboratory right here in Malaysia to kick-start that work,” she recounted.

Meanwhile, YSD chief executive officer Yatela Zainal Abidin said the foundation would strive to be more involved with development and improvements in society such as empowering local communities.

Yatela said the foundation was not only looking for short-term solutions for society but also sustainable projects where communities could benefit in the long run.

“As custodians of the donor’s hard-earned profits, we have to ensure that every ringgit from them stretches as far as possible.

“So we have to focus on what truly are the necessities to get the most impact,” Yatela added.

One of the foundation’s objectives for the future is to focus on segments that have lacked support such as minority groups and help raise support for women and young girls in their respective fields.

“We are headed towards that direction and we will support the government’s agenda in that respect.

“We will also be looking at where those communities need us to be most as that is where we want to be,” said Yatela.

Also present at the celebration were the foundation’s current and former governing council members and senior management of its three donor companies.

The gathering also opened up opportunities for networking and information-sharing on causes and achievements among partners and beneficiaries.

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