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Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah during Teach for Malaysia Week. NSTP

SUNWAY GROUP founder and chairman Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah made history this year as he was named in Forbes Asia's annual list of “Asia’s 2019 Heroes of Philanthropy,” for the third time.

Cheah, who is also founder and trustee of the education-focussed Jeffrey Cheah Foundation (JCF) is the only Malaysian named on the list this year, as well as the only Malaysian who has made the definitive list for three years, having first being listed in 2009 and 2015.

The list, highlighting 30 of the most generous and impactful philanthropists across the Asia Pacific region also features, amongst others, co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma and Wipro’s chairman Azmin Premji.

The list includes billionaires, entrepreneurs and celebrities across the region who are committed to solving some of the most pressing issues facing the Asia-Pacific region, Sunway said in a statement.

Those who made it to the list this year are evaluated and selected by Forbes Asia based on several aspects including their monetary contributions, the depth of their involvement and the reach of their philanthropic efforts.

Cheah founded Sunway Group, with core interests in real estate, construction, education and healthcare in 1974.

Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, Sunway Group Founder and Chairman. NSTP

He developed Sunway City Kuala Lumpur in Bandar Sunway from mining land to an integrated resort city.

Cheah had envisaged more than 15 years ago that Sunway City would be a vibrant city attracting generations ahead and a major tourism destination.

Today, Sunway City is the only integrated resort city in Malaysia which fully encapsulates the "livability" concept with the presence of six key components - shopping mall, hotel, office, theme park, education institute and medical centre.

JCF is the largest education-focused social enterprise in Malaysia, which owns and governs Sunway Education Group (SEG) and its 16 learning institutions.

The Foundation's history began in 1997, when Cheah established the Sunway Education Trust, which was converted to JCF in 2010. Cheah transferred his equity in SEG's learning institutions worth several billion ringgit to the Foundation in perpetuity.

As of 2019, the Foundation has awarded more than RM482 million worth of scholarships to thousands of deserving students.

Cheah's personal goal is to award over RM1 billion worth of scholarships in his lifetime.

Sunway said, 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.

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