HWUM honours YTL Group founder


Tribute to a giant: (from left) YTL Communications director Yeoh Keong Wei, Prof Mushtak, Datin Lily Yeoh, Seok Kian, Prof Williams and Soo Min at the ceremony.

THE late Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay cherished the importance and the value of providing opportunities for others to acquire a good education, despite having been deprived of a formal tertiary education himself.

In paying tribute to his father, YTL Corporation Berhad managing director Datuk Yeoh Seok Kian shared how his father’s vision, persistence, guidance and wisdom ensured all his children had the means to grasp exciting opportunities in world-class universities.

“In the same way, he was steadfast in his dedication to extending the same opportunity to deserving students without the means and support to receive a quality university education.

“My father, alongside his beloved wife, Puan Sri Tan Kai Yong, who was a teacher herself, devoted a greater part of their lives to supporting educational causes and various educational establishments. “This was part of their profound passion for education,” Seok Kian shared during a ceremony to honour his father’s contributions to Heriot-Watt University Malaysia (HWUM) on July 21.

The varsity, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, named the main library at its Putrajaya campus after the renowned Malaysian businessman and philanthropist.

Spanning more than 1,114 sq m, the two-storey Tan Sri (Dr) Yeoh Tiong Lay Library – with 307 study areas including 47 individual carrels in an open area – was designed to accommodate various student learning methods and preferences.

Seok Kian was at the campus to sign the plaque that will be placed at the main entrance of the library.

He also unveiled a gallery commemorating Tiong Lay’s long-time association with the varsity, which awarded the late YTL Group founder an honorary engineering doctorate (DEng) in 1988 for his contribution to industry.

Seok Kian himself had attended Heriot-Watt University (HWU) in Scotland as an undergraduate and graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Building in 1981.

In 2017, he was conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University (DUniv).

Also present at the ceremony were YTL Corporation Berhad executive director who is also Tiong Lay’s daughter Datuk Yeoh Soo Min, HWU principal and vice-chancellor Prof Richard A. Williams, and HWUM provost and chief executive officer Prof Mushtak Al-Atabi.

Prof Williams said Tiong Lay had offered an unshakeable pillar of support for the development of the university in Malaysia and been generous in meeting the needs of its alumni association.

“He had a deep and strongly held understanding of the value of education to transform lives and its importance to humanity.

“In more recent times, we have been blessed with the YTL family’s generosity and philanthropic gift to support education and draw on the unique experience of Heriot-Watt in enabling students to spend time in different locations during their studies,” he said in a press release.

In January 2019, Seok Kian gifted the varsity £1,000,000 (RM5,340,313), which was used to establish the Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay Global Scholarship Programme in memory of his father.

The scholarship programme is aimed at widening Malaysian students’ access to higher education in the United Kingdom at the university. To date, it has given more than 70 students the opportunity to pursue their higher education with HWUM.

It has also enabled 11 students to pursue their studies at the university’s campus in Scotland via its Go Global inter-campus transfer programme.

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