PETALING JAYA: Social activist Kuan Chee Heng, 58, has been given the Commonwealth Points of Light Award by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his charitable work.
Kuan, who is popularly known as Uncle Kentang, said he was honoured to receive the award and would like to share it with all Malaysians.
“This award is for everyone because when we do social work, everyone donates, either in the form of cash, kind and even effort.
“I am just a representative receiving this award and a coordinator in helping the community, ” he said.
The Commonwealth Points of Light Award is given out weekly to an individual from the Commonwealth in recognition of their social work.
Kuan is the fourth Malaysian to be recognised since the inception of the award in 2018.
He got his "Uncle Kentang" moniker from his approach in helping the needy by donating potatoes instead of rice.
He also offers ambulance services and accommodation to those in need.
He decided to commit himself to helping the community because of his childhood where his family faced financial difficulties.
“I enjoy giving back to the public, especially when I see smiles, receive warm wishes and manage to improve others’ lives.
“It is certainly heartwarming, ” he said, adding that he gets about 300 requests for help per day.
He also shared that his next plan will be to focus on the elderly.
“My dream is to pave the way for a comfortable lifestyle for them in their golden years.
“Many old folks' homes are often cramped, which affects their quality of life.
“Since Malaysia is rich in natural resources such as land, sunlight and rain, I hope the government could provide a piece of land for us to build a self-contained place for the old folks, ” he said, adding that the elderly worked hard to contribute to the nation and deserved to enjoy their golden years in a conducive environment.
Kuan also shared that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected their social work.
“It is stressful for us as we are worried about the virus.
“We can no longer move freely but we will still give our best despite being hindered by the Covid-19 situation, ” said Kuan, who is currently based in Puchong.
In a Facebook post, Kuan said he had received notification of his Commonwealth award on Saturday (May 22) and would receive it on June 12 at the British High Commissioner's office in Kuala Lumpur.