Jeffrey Cheah conferred top UK honorary award

He was honoured for his services to higher education, health services and philanthropy.

Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah
Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah

KUALA LUMPUR — Sunway Group Founder and Chairman, Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah has been named an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) by His Majesty King Charles III of the United Kingdom (UK).

In a statement issued by the British High Commission today, Cheah was honoured for his services to higher education, health services and philanthropy.

The honorary knighthood which carries the post-nominal letters KBE, is a highly prestigious and rare distinction for citizens of a non-Commonwealth Realm nation.

“This honour bestowed on Cheah is only the second in Malaysia in recent times and the first conferred by His Majesty King Charles III on a citizen of Malaysia.

“The honorary award is also in recognition of the instrumental role Cheah played in forging high-level links with a number of UK institutions and contributing immensely towards the bilateral relationship between the UK and Malaysia,” the statement read.

Entrepreneur and philanthropist

Cheah, a prominent Malaysian entrepreneur and philanthropist is also the founder and trustee of Jeffrey Cheah Foundation which owns and governs all entities in Sunway Education Group under a not-for-profit structure.

To date, the foundation has disbursed more than RM670 million in scholarships to provide educational support to qualified students in need and endowed many chairs and professorships at a number of world-renowned universities including the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford in the UK to facilitate knowledge transfer and bring world-class experts to Malaysia.

Through the realms of business and philanthropy, the British High Commission said Cheah’s relentless drive to learn from the best and work with the best led to high-level partnerships between Sunway, the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation and renowned institutions in the UK such as the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, Lancaster University and the Royal College of Physicians.

In healthcare, it said the partnership with the University of Cambridge saw the Group’s flagship Sunway Medical Centre at Sunway City Kuala Lumpur appointed as a Regional Site Partner of Cambridge University Clinical Research Centre, as well as the naming of the Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre at the Cambridge University Biomedical Campus, the largest biotech cluster outside the United States.

“In addition to playing a pivotal role in the UK’s response towards COVID-19, the Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre houses more than 300 scientists conducting cutting-edge research to address the latest and emerging public health challenges,” it said.

Overwhelmed and humbled

In the education sector, the British High Commission said the affiliation between Sunway University and Lancaster University since 2006 has resulted in one of the most successful transnational higher education partnerships in the world, winning the ‘UK-Malaysia Education Institutional Partnership’ award at the prestigious British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (BMCC) Business Excellence Awards 2022.

“More recently, Cheah led the Sunway Group, through Sunway Innovation Lab, to establish a partnership with Cambridge-based venture capitalist firm Deeptech Labs, enabling them to accelerate the growth of net zero technologies and open new avenues for UK startups in the Asia Pacific region,” it said.

Meanwhile, Cheah in the same statement said he was deeply overwhelmed and greatly humbled by the award and considered the honour not just a personal one but an award that recognises the efforts of everyone affiliated with Sunway Group and the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation in positively impacting society and Malaysia.

British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Ailsa Terry also congratulated Cheah and described him as an extraordinary entrepreneur who has built and led the Sunway Group to a successful conglomerate with investments in the UK.

According to the statement, Terry will present the honorary award to Cheah on behalf of His Majesty King Charles III at a later date.


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