MELAKA: Hundreds of students will never forget businessman Chew Chert Fong for sponsoring them bicycles to go to school.
Chew started his free bicycle project three years ago and expanded his community work by donating education materials, spectacles and equipment to schools in the state.
The 41-year-old’s drive to do charity work was mainly due to his upbringing. As he grew up in a poor family, Chew understands first-hand about the hardship of life.
Since 2015, Chew has spent close to RM2.8mil to provide cash and kind to the needy and less fortunate, as well as organising numerous charitable events.
“I wanted to start my community projects much earlier but I didn’t have the financial means then.”
Chew said he struggled to make ends meet in his earlier days in business.
“But I am better off now. I do charity to repay the community for their support,” he said.
Chew has kept all the records pertaining to his 188 community programmes since 2015.One of his latest programmes was giving out financial aid to two cash-strapped families to lessen their burden while celebrating the recent Hari Raya.
Every month, Chew said he allocates 10% of his profits to help the needy.
He also provides rice and wheelchairs to the locals.
This charity programme was launched early last year by a now-defunct NGO.
“The NGO approached me for help to provide basic needs to the poor in the Batu Berendam area.
“It became inactive soon but I decided to continue with the charity work,” he said.
Chew said his philosophy in life was to show concern for others in need and make the world a better place for all.
The father of two also won praises from netizens for helping three siblings with facial deformities to go to school last December.
R. Jabesh, 11, Joshua, eight, and seven-year-old Jackson were unable to attend school because their family was too poor to finance them.
Their father K. Ramakrishnan, 37, said he was so touched when Chew visited them at home and hugged his kids.
He said many people kept their distance from his children and treated them like “aliens”.
Next month, Chew will be leaving to Suriname, South America, to receive an award from the country’s president, Desiré Delano Bouterse, for mooting bilateral ties between Suriname and Melaka.
Bouterse had invited Chew to his presidential palace in Paramaribo to discuss the setting up of a community development programme to help some 2,000 rural folks in that country.