PETALING JAYA: In recognition of companies and individuals who have made an impact on society and the environment through their various initiatives, 10 organisations and individuals were honoured at the Star Golden Hearts Award (SGHA).
The selection process began in June with nominations from the public, who voted for their charitable organisations and individuals. Through a panel of distinguished judges, 10 outstanding winners were chosen from a big pool of 731 nominations.
This year’s remarkable recipients – the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Lang Tengah Turtle Watch, The MareCet Research Organisation, Starfish Malaysia Foundation, PACOS Trust, The Asli Co., Kelab Alami, Buku Jalanan Chow Kit, Japson Wong and Graze Market – are dedicated to tackling a diverse range of issues.
Their areas of impact encompass education for the underprivileged, wildlife conservation, sustainable waste recycling and improving the livelihoods of indigenous communities.
The 10 winners received RM15,000 each as a token of recognition for their exemplary contributions in making a positive impact on the lives of others and the environment.
Among the 10 winners, the highly sought-after Gamuda Inspiration Award (GIA) by Yayasan Gamuda was presented to two exceptional social changemakers, namely the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and The MareCet Research Organisation, with both receiving grants amounting to RM150,000 each.
The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, renowned for its dedication to protecting and preserving Borneo’s iconic sun bears, has been making significant strides in the realm of wildlife conservation.
On the other hand, The MareCet Research Organisation stands as a beacon of hope for marine life conservationists with its conservation efforts and research on marine mammals, supported by extensive education and volunteering programmes.
In his speech, Star Media Group (SMG) chief executive officer Alex Yeow applauded the winners for their unwavering effort and commitment to making a change in society.
“As you know, the main ethos of the award is to recognise and inspire unsung heroes.
“I believe that the efforts carried out by all individuals in this room have truly made a difference in the community and helped sustain our environment in some way or another.
“The work that you do is truly inspiring as you carry them out in conditions different than most of us – you are always on the ground, you are constantly reaching out to those in desperate need of help, working in places that at times can be dangerous as you take on some of the most challenging and complex jobs.
“The impactful and innovative projects we have come across during the judging period were truly nothing short of amazing. Through your work, you have demonstrated your professionalism and creativity in tackling social and environmental causes,” said Yeow.
Currently in its ninth year, SGHA continues to showcase the incredible efforts made by Malaysians for Malaysia.
Held at Menara Star’s Cybertorium yesterday, more than 150 people attended the event, consisting of current and past award recipients, along with guests from the social good sector, to celebrate the spirit of compassion and transformative action.
SGHA 2023 is a joint initiative between SMG and Yayasan Gamuda to demonstrate their commitment in supporting selfless and charitable acts within our local community.
Head of Yayasan Gamuda Ts Lim Hui Yan said: “Honouring the work of these social changemakers through GIA grants highlights their unwavering commitment and passion in pursuing a world where no one is overlooked or left behind.
“This award celebrates their achievements and propels them to continue positively impacting our world.
“We are pleased with this year’s nominees as many have actively engaged in various social initiatives and demonstrated a strong focus on environmental conservation efforts,” she said.
Lim also said this year’s GIA winners exemplify the potential for collaborative action in creating a better world for both terrestrial and marine life, and that their endeavours continue to inspire the people.
Yeow thanked Yayasan Gamuda for its continued willingness to participate in the award as this is a step towards inspiring more Malaysians to dedicate themselves to worthy causes.
“On behalf of Star Media Group, we also want to deeply thank Yayasan Gamuda for their continuous support of the award.
“Thank you for sharing the same vision and belief for this prestigious and meaningful award. Together, we can push for change through consistent collaboration,” he said.
For the ninth consecutive year, the esteemed judging panel was led by social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye. It comprised experts and advocates who are actively involved in the social good sector.
These individuals were chosen based on their knowledge in their respective areas of expertise.
“As I have been on this judging panel for the last nine years, I have seen how this programme has evolved.
“In fact, this is actually something that I look forward to as it gives me the opportunity to see the remarkable work done by our fellow Malaysians to help people, vulnerable communities, animals and the environment.
“It’s impressive to see the amount of work put in and what they have achieved,” said Lee.
Members of the panel of judges included SMG chief content officer Esther Ng, Gamuda Bhd group chief communication and ESG officer Ong Jee Lian, Perak State Parks Corporation director and conservationist Shah Redza Hussein, Institut Keusahawanan Negara social enterprise unit manager Muhammad Hafizul Khair Mohd Yusuf, naturalist, conservationist and educator Irshad Mobarak, prominent social activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi and child protection consultant and former Social Welfare Department assistant director Vijayakumari Pillai.
During the awards ceremony, the audience was pleasantly surprised with a performance by Sarah Ow and Joshua Danial Johnson.
The neurodivergent students were accompanied by last year’s winner Edwin Nathaniel, and together, they sang original songs while playing acoustic guitars.
Separately, SGHA 2022 and GIA winner Iskul Sama Dilaut Omadal shared their heartwarming story of championing communities in Pulau Omadal, Sabah.
The event also hosted booths selling merchandise and products meant for social good causes. The participating booths comprised The Asli Co., Buku Jalanan Chow Kit, Graze Market, Seven Tea One and a few others.
For more information about the award, visit sgha.com.my. A special pullout on the 10 winners will be published later this month.