Press Release

Cheah Named Forbes Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy for the Fourth Time

Cheah is the only Malaysian on the 2021 list

Cheah (left), pictured here with students during Teach for Malaysia week, has been named by Forbes in its “Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy” list for the fourth time.
Sunway City Kuala Lumpur,15 December 2021

Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah has been named by Forbes Asia, for the fourth time, in its “Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy” list, which honours individuals who have demonstrated personal commitment to various social causes.

Cheah is only the second person to be included in this list four times. He was previously recognised in 2019, 2015 and 2009.

As the sole Malaysian on this year’s list, Cheah was recognised for his unwavering commitment to education as a force for nation building and his efforts to set up an endowment fund worth over RM1 billion to ensure Sunway Education Group can be self-sustaining in perpetuity and offer more scholarships to deserving students from underprivileged households.

While most of the RM1 billion seed endowment will come from Cheah’s personal fund, Cheah is also working with the government to amend existing rules requiring a foundation to disbursed at least 50 percent of funds received annually by the following year. The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation owns and governs the Sunway Education Group.

This initiative is in addition to Cheah’s previous commitment to gift his entire personal stake in Sunway Education Group, which is valued at several billion ringgits, to the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, the largest education-focused social enterprise in Malaysia.

Published annually by the U.S.-based business magazine, this year’s definitive list includes a select group of 15 prominent philanthropists across Asia, such as Alibaba co-founder Joseph Tsai, Vingroup founder and Vietnam’s richest person Pham Nhat Vuong, as well as Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal, who signed the Giving Pledge to dedicate a majority of his wealth to charitable causes in his lifetime in March.

Previous Malaysians named in the list include business tycoons Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, executive chairman of YTL Group, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary of the Al-Bukhary group of companies and Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, CEO of Air Asia Group, among others.

Cheah was recently conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), one of the oldest and highest-ranked universities in the country. This honorary doctorate was awarded in recognition of Cheah’s stalwart leadership in health education and sustainability networks. It is the 12th honorary doctorate bestowed upon Cheah.


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