The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation was launched on 18 March 2010 by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, in the presence of its Royal Patron H.R.H. The Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj Ibni Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Alhaj. At the event, Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah who is the Founding Trustee of the Foundation, donated RM20 million to the Foundation.
“Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah has set a fine example for others to emulate by going beyond the business of education and launching this Foundation,” said Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak. “Besides being a pioneer and innovator in the field of higher education, he has also been very active in promoting education as a social cause in Malaysia. I was present at the launch of the Sunway Education Trust back in 1997 and I am very pleased to be here tonight to officiate the launch of its successor, the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation,” PM said.
The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation is a unique, first-of-its-kind structure in Malaysia within the field of private higher education, modeled along the lines of some of the oldest and most eminent universities in the world; such as the Harvard University in the United States. It carries on the mandate of the Sunway Education Trust which has, since its inception in March 1997, given out more than RM60 million in scholarships to deserving and needy students.
The advent of the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation saw the transfer of equity ownership worth RM700 million of the not-for-profit Sunway Education Group, made up of Sunway University, Monash University Sunway campus, Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Sunway International School. Today, these education institutions account for over 16,000 students, of which 30% are from 80 different countries. Under the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, operating surpluses from the Sunway Education Group will be reinvested into the universities and schools. The Foundation will continue to disburse scholarships and research grants to worthy individuals in various fields of study.
The Foundation’s Board of Trustees includes prominent leaders in the business and socio-economic arenas. They are YBhg Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, AO; YBhg Tan Sri Datuk Seri Lee Lam Thye; YBhg Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. R.V. Navaratnam; YBhg Tan Sri Rainer Althoff; YBhg Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Lin See Yan; YBhg Datuk Razman M. Hashim; and Professor Richard Graeme Larkins, AO.
The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation is named after the Founder and Chairman of Sunway Group, one of Malaysia’s most diversified conglomerates. It has a leading presence in civil engineering and construction, property development and investment, building materials, trading and manufacturing, quarrying, information technology, leisure, entertainment and hospitality, healthcare and education. In education, what started out as a single institution with Sunway College, Petaling Jaya in 1986 over time grew into a larger portfolio named the Sunway Education Group, comprising other education institutions and services across the country; in cities like Johor Bahru, Ipoh and Kuching.
Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah’s participation in the field of higher education has always extended above and beyond the business realm. Addressing the guests at the Foundation launch, Tan Sri said, “I have always believed that the business of education is more than just a “business”. Education becomes more meaningful when it acts as an effective means to enrich and improve lives for the better, and it was for this reason that the Sunway Education Trust was first established in 1997. Today, I hope to crystallize this personal vision into a timeless commitment by transferring all the shares previously held under the Sunway Education Trust to the Foundation. There, they will be held in perpetuity, and can never be sold.”
The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation as a not-for-profit entity ensures that the assets, funds and operating surpluses are used to perpetuate the cause of bringing quality education to future generations of diligent and deserving Malaysian students.