PETALING JAYA: The Covid-19 pandemic did not dampen the spirit of kindness among Malaysians as can be seen from the philanthropic works of the Star Golden Hearts Award (SGHA) winners.
A total of 10 winners were selected to receive the award, which gives due recognition to individuals, groups and organisations that contribute towards promoting unity and the betterment of the society.
The annual award received a record-breaking number of over 500 nominations in its sixth year running, testifying to the generosity and goodwill among Malaysians despite challenging times.
Winners of this year’s award represent a wide range of social causes, including environmental health and food security, support of vulnerable communities, quality education for schoolchildren and digital inclusion among senior citizens.
Star Media Group chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow described 2020 as “a year of unprecedented events” but it also reflected a true test of the people’s unity.
“When any nation goes through a crisis, especially at a scale like this, the most vulnerable among us are usually the ones at the receiving end.
“This puts to test our collective ability as a nation to help one another and cope together. Be it the government, businesses or people, we all have a role to play.
“For both Star Media Group and our charitable arm Star Foundation, we knew from the start that we needed to use our resources and influence to channel support where it was needed the most, ” he said.
The award, Fu added, is the media group’s efforts and a meaningful way to highlight exemplary people who worked towards helping and uniting Malaysians.
“By amplifying their stories, we hope that their acts of doing good will serve as an inspiration to the society at large to carry out their own deeds of kindness wherever they are.
“This ripple effect of compassion and positivity can bring people together and contribute to nation-building as a whole, ” he
Fu also congratulated the 10 winners, saying that he was impressed by their selflessness and creativity in addressing social concerns and helping the less fortunate.
“Be it deep-rooted societal issues or the ever-present environmental challenges, these winners are proof that everyone can make a positive difference to the causes we care about.
“Through this award, we hope more people will learn about their exemplary efforts and lend a hand to enhance the good work, ” he said.
This year, the coveted Gamuda Inspiration Award (GIA) by Yayasan Gamuda was awarded to two out of the pool of 10 winners.
Social enterprises – PWD Smart FarmAbility and Seven Tea One – were singled out to receive a grant of RM50,000 each as a contribution to further their worthy causes.
Fu expressed his appreciation to Yayasan Gamuda’s invaluable support in recognising deserving Malaysians who have brought a positive impact to society.
“Our long-standing partnership with Yayasan Gamuda has seen the award
grow from strength to strength, and receiving higher number of nominations every year.
“This is testament to the important role the award plays in helping to spread the spirit of kindness and unity in our society.
“Every year, Yayasan Gamuda’s grant for the GIA winners has also proven to bring about tangible impact in advancing their good work, ” he said.
Yayasan Gamuda head Ts. Sharifah Alauyah Wan Othman said this year marks an important milestone as it is the fifth year that the organisation has partnered with The Star for the SGHA.
“We support the call to recognise Malaysians who are dedicated to help vulnerable groups to gain equitable health, education and social benefits, and in shaping a more inclusive and caring society.
“This is reflective of the values we hold dear as an organisation to galvanise and recognise an entire ecosystem of humanitarian and inclusive initiatives, ” she said.
Separately, chief judge Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said he was proud to see the award gaining traction every year.
“This year’s search for unsung heroes was even more pertinent following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’ve seen common people step up to offer assistance wherever and whenever help is needed, be it one-off or long-term initiatives.
“Despite being a challenging year, Malaysians have come forward to nominate and show appreciation for their fellow countrymen for their noble deeds.
“This shows that we are not short of unsung heroes who have made tremendous contributions in terms of time, money, safety, and comfort to create a better society, ” said Lee, who is also a Malaysia Unity Foundation trustee.
For the sixth year running, Lee led a panel of judges comprising experts and advocates with vast knowledge in their respective causes.
They include Sharifah Alauyah, Star Media Group chief content officer Esther Ng, former Yayasan Kebajikan Negara chief executive officer and environmental advocate Datin Paduka Che Asmah Ibrahim, Universiti Malaya dean of medicine and International AIDS Society president-elect Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, prominent social activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi, as well as child protection consultant and former Social Welfare Department assistant director Vijayakumari Pillai.