Empowering the Youths of Malaysia
Home to 6.54 million people, Selangor is the most populous state in Malaysia, making up 20% of the country’s total population. According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), 27.4% of Selangor’s population are under the age of 18.
The state also contributes the lion’s share of the Malaysian economy at more than 24% of GDP, DOSM figures show.
Given the significance of the state in Malaysia, the development of youths in Selangor to harness their untapped potential becomes paramount.
Providing an avenue to connect Selangor youth to development opportunities is non-profit NGO Selangor Youth Community or SAY, which was founded by His Highness Tengku Amir Shah Ibni Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj, Raja Muda of Selangor, in 2015.
“SAY was officially incorporated in 2017. However, ground works had started since late 2015 when Tuanku Raja Muda came back from his Military Training in Sandhurst, UK. Upon observing the work that Sunway has been doing, Tuanku Raja Muda and our Board of Trustees decided to approach Sunway as one of the first few companies to collaborate with us for the benefit of youths in Selangor,” said SAY manager Farah Syamila Mohamad Nor.
A crucial partnership
Having rehabilitated an abandoned tin-mining wasteland into the wonderland that is home to award-winning Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, it seemed only befitting that the first collaboration between Sunway and SAY involved the rejuvenation of an abandoned recreational park at Shah Alam.
Collaborating with Sunway, the Shah Alam City Council and other youth communities, SAY launched Project Revamp in 2016 to give the Shah Alam Extreme Park a new lease of life.
Since then, the partnership between SAY and Sunway has grown, allowing the NGO to expand its programmes and reach out to more than 300,000 beneficiaries under various initiatives across the four pillars of Entrepreneurship, Sports & Wellness, Arts & Creative and Community Service.
Among the flagship programmes organised by SAY in partnership with Sunway include SAY IGNITE, Project Revamp, Bantuan dan Ziarah Ramadhan, festive events such as Deepavali and Chinese New Year, Rantai Arts Festival, Selangor Champions League and SAY ASPIRE.
“We believe the partnership with Sunway is based on good values and our shared responsibility to make society a better place. What started as monetary contribution initially has now been expanded to include more holistic approaches such as Sunway SILK programme, Sunway Raya Cheer, and many other United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) related initiatives,” said Farah.
Working together with Sunway also means having access to knowledge and technical sharing and networking opportunities.
“For our community service initiatives, Sunway also contributed their ideas, expertise and manpower to nurture the development of the community. With Sunway, it is not about marketing but making the real impact,” she said.
Creating lasting, measurable impact
Sunway’s partnership with SAY has benefited more than 170,000 beneficiaries, with a total value of RM3.596 million contributed to communities in need from 2017 to 2020.
For two of SAY’s entrepreneurship initiatives, SAY ASPIRE and SAY LEAD, Sunway provided the venue and subject matter experts as judges for the pitching sessions.
SAY ASPIRE, the business development programme for export-ready entrepreneurs, increased more than RM2.45 million in revenue and created market access into five countries for its participating start-ups.
Meanwhile, SAY LEAD, a programme for the differently abled entrepreneurs, achieved a 182% average increase in revenue for the entrepreneurs at the end of the programme. SAY LEAD has since been expanded to other states.
SAY LEAD and SAY ASPIRE are now part of the inaugural Selangor Entrepreneurship League that was launched in 2021. A joint effort by SAY and the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS), the league is an effort by the state government to produce competitive and world-class entrepreneurs.
With the aim of discovering local sporting talents in football, His Highness Tengku Amir Shah launched the Selangor Champions League (SCL) in 2016 to unify the football community in Selangor and showcase the best talents in the state. Sunway hosted the first batch of SCL matches at Sunway University’s football field.
“After two years, SCL became the first amateur league in Malaysia that is eligible to participate in the qualifying cup of a professional league. Penang and Terengganu soon followed our SCL framework and organised similar amateur leagues in both states. We have unearthed many talents from this initiative and have more than a million fans watching the games online and offline. Sunway and SAY carry similar aspirations in building an empowered community and unearthing talents to become global champions,” said Farah.
SAY founder and executive president His Highness Tengku Amir Shah credits Sunway for the company’s foundational support towards the NGO.
“It has been such a great experience to work alongside such an established group. The Sunway-SAY partnership has been able to introduce new ways of engagement with the community and we have seen incredible responses. This really sets a high standard and is truly an example for many to follow. Thank you so much Sunway for your dedication and belief in this partnership,” he said.
His Highness Tengku Amir Shah highlighted the importance of seeing large corporations such as Sunway demonstrate sincere compassion and connection with their local communities.
“Sunway has been supporting us from the very beginning and a foundational support throughout. It has been such a great experience to work alongside with such an established group. The Sunway-SAY partnership has been able to introduce new ways of engagement with the community and we have seen incredible responses. It is so important to see that even large corporations like Sunway is able to show such sincere compassion and connection with their local communities. This really sets the standards high and is truly an example for many to follow. Thank you so much Sunway for the dedication and belief in this partnership.” – His Highness Tengku Amir Shah Ibni Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj, Raja Muda of Selangor, founder & executive president, SAY
This article first appeared in Berita Sunway Issue 74