Press Release

Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, First and Only Non-Muslim to Receive Unity Award at Islamic Excellence Awards

Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, First and Only Non-Muslim to Receive Unity Award at Islamic Excellence Awards
Kuala Lumpur,10 March 2020

After being recently named as one of the region’s most prominent philanthropists by Forbes Asia in their definitive Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy 2019 list, which highlights the most generous and impactful philanthropists across the Asia Pacific region, Jeffrey Cheah Foundation (JCF) Founder and Trustee Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah AO became the first and only non-Muslim recipient at the Islamic Excellence Awards 1441H/2020AD held recently. 

He was awarded the Hunayn Ibn Ishaq Unity Award from the National Dakwah Council. As an ardent enthusiast of quality education for socio-economic growth towards fostering peace and prosperity in the country, Cheah has chosen to focus on democratising education as his legacy. Fulfilling his personal life philosophy to “aspire to inspire before I expire,” he had transferred, in perpetuity, the equity and rights of Sunway Education Group’s educational institutions, worth several billion ringgit today, into the JCF. Today, JCF is Malaysia’s largest education-focused social enterprise.

Rooted in his conviction of the power of education in breaking the cycle of poverty and in raising standards of living, the JCF has disbursed scholarships exceeding RM 482 million as of 2019, touching and transforming the lives of thousands of future leaders and global citizens. It is Cheah’s personal aim to award more than RM1 billion worth of scholarships in his lifetime.

He received the award from the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah who was the guest of honour at the event. 

The Islamic Excellence Awards is designed to showcase outstanding excellence of individuals and organisations in various fields including academic, corporate, business and social advocacy. The diversity of the recipients reflect the relevance and importance of the enduring values of Islam in achieving inclusive and equitable success that is compatible with the global landscape. 

The Unity Award is presented to a non-Islamic organisation in recognition of effective efforts to enhance local and regional unity. The recipient of this award is the one and only non-Muslim recipient in the IEA.

Candidates were assessed based on recognition of leadership or acknowledgement of experience, past and present contribution, be it at national or international level and eligibility in terms of qualifications.The panel of eminent judges were National Dakwah Council Chairman and eighth chief judge of Malaysia Tun Arifin Zakaria, previous deputy governor of Bank Negara Tan Sri Arshad Ayub, previous Secretary General of the Minister of Foreign Affiars Tan Sri Rastam Isa, Telekom Malaysia Berhad Chairman Tan Sri Dr. Sulaiman Mahbob and previous Human Rights Commissioner member Malaysia Prof. Emeritus Dato’ Paduka Dr. Mahmood Zuhdi Hj Abd. Majid.

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