PETALING JAYA: The Star Golden Hearts Award celebrates inspiration and compassion, but this year’s ceremony had a moment of sadness too as a tribute was paid to a former winner, Rishiwant Singh Randhawa, also known as the Flying Singh, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in India on Nov 25.
Rishiwant, 43, received the Star Golden Hearts Award in 2016 for his contribution as a United Sikhs Humanitarian Aid coordinator and Malaysia Foodbank organisation director.
Some of his humanitarian works include bringing aid to the orang asli affected by floods in Kelantan and providing food to Syrian refugees along the Macedonian-Serbian border during a harsh winter in 2016.
“His departure marks a great loss to the Star Golden Hearts Award alumni and the community at large,” said Star Golden Hearts Award chief judge Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
According to earlier reports, Rishiwant was riding a rented motorcycle when the incident happened not too far away from an ashram where he had gone to spend some time.
Meanwhile, Lee said judges received more than 150 nominations from all over Malaysia, with an increase in number from Sabah and Sarawak.
“Most of the nominees were recommended by members of the public who are usually the first recipients of their gestures of kindness,” he said, adding that others were picked up from news articles and social media.
Lee added that the winners of this year’s awards had bridged gaps and promoted unity while championing other causes.
"I hope today’s Star Golden Hearts Award winners and their work will continue to inspire and encourage others to be the change we have longed to see, be the voice of the less fortunate, and unveil issues that have been in blind spots for too long," he said.
The 2018 winners are:
2. Efinity Social Enterprise
3. Suka Society
4.The Tuyang Initiative
5. Friends of Bukit Gasing
6. Cancerfly networks
7. Sia Siew Chin
8. Dentistry for the needy
9. Suri Inspirasi
10. Masala Wheels
All were nominated as organisations except Sia who was nominated as an individual.
The Star Golden Hearts Award is aimed at recognising everyday Malaysians who are dedicated to helping those in need irrespective of race and religion, and is supported by Yayasan Gamuda.