Jeffrey Cheah Becomes First Malaysian To Receive Honorary Knighthood From King Charles III

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

Cover image via Sunway Group (Provided to SAYS)

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Tan Sri Dato' Seri (Dr) Jeffrey Cheah has been bestowed the title of honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) by His Majesty King Charles III of the United Kingdom

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.

It is bestowed upon individuals who have made major contributions in any field of activity, or in a capacity which will be recognised by peer groups as inspirational and significant at a national level, and demonstrates sustained commitment.

This marks His Majesty King Charles III's first conferment of a KBE to a citizen of Malaysia.

Cheah, who is the founder and chairman of Sunway Group, received the honour for his contributions to higher education, health services, and philanthropy

Screenshot from the UK government's website listing Cheah under the Honorary Awards to Foreign Nationals category.

Image via Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

The award also recognises 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.

"I am deeply overwhelmed and greatly humbled by the award of Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire conferred on me by His Majesty King Charles III.

"It is particularly welcomed as the honour is bestowed in recognition of services to Higher Education, Health Services, and Philanthropy – exactly the sectors in which Sunway Group and Jeffrey Cheah Foundation are making a difference in the world.

"I consider this 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 our beloved country," said Cheah.

In addition to his role in Sunway Group, the prominent Malaysian entrepreneur and philanthropist is also the founder and trustee of the Jefferey Cheah Foundation

Cheah speaking to students at SMK Puchong during one of the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation's community outreach programmes, in partnership with Teach for Malaysia.

Image via Jeffrey Cheah Foundation

The foundation owns and governs all entities within 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.

It has also endowed numerous chairs and professorships at several world-renowned universities, including the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford in the UK. This initiative aims to facilitate knowledge transfer and bring world-class experts to Malaysia.

Additionally, Cheah has forged high-level partnerships between Sunway, the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, and renowned institutions in the UK.

These partnerships encompass notable institutions such as the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, Lancaster University, the Royal College of Physicians, the Chevening Awards (the UK government's flagship scholarship programme), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

In the healthcare sector, Sunway Group's partnership with the University of Cambridge led to Sunway Medical Centre in Sunway City, Kuala Lumpur being designated as a Regional Site Partner of the Cambridge University Clinical Research Centre

Image via Sunway Group

There is also 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 to 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.

As for the education sector, the collaboration between Sunway University and Lancaster University since 2006 has given rise to one of the most successful transnational higher education partnerships in the world

Image via Sunway Hotels

The partnership even won the 'UK-Malaysia Education Institutional Partnership' award at the prestigious British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (BMCC) Business Excellence Awards 2022.

The close collaboration between Sunway TES Centre of Accountancy Excellence, ACCA, and ICAEW, spanning almost 30 years, is producing some of the best talents in the fields of banking, finance, and accountancy, among others. Over the years, graduates from Sunway TES have consistently ranked number one in ACCA and ICAEW global exams.

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 create opportunities for UK startups to expand their presence in the Asia Pacific region.

The British High Commissioner to Malaysia will present the honorary award to Cheah on behalf of His Majesty King Charles III at a later date

The updated list of Honorary Awards to Foreign Nationals can be found here.

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