Kuan Chee Heng, fondly known as Uncle Kentang, has been presented the Commonwealth Points of Light Award in recognition of his countless acts of charity in the community
The Points of Light award was started by Queen Elizabeth II to recognise inspirational volunteers across the 54 Commonwealth countries for the difference they make in their communities.
According to Free Malaysia Today (FMT), Kuan will be the fourth Malaysian to receive the honour since its inception in 2018.
He received notice of the honour on Saturday, 22 May, and will collect the award on 12 June at the British High Commissioner's office in Kuala Lumpur.
Uncle Kentang is well known in Klang Valley for his many efforts aimed at helping society's most vulnerable and underpriviledged
In a pinned post on his Facebook page, Kuan explained that he, too, came from a poor family. He remembers the feeling of hopelessness when his father passed away and they had no money to transport him to the hospital.
He also remembered how his mother was hit and chased away when she asked a grocery store owner for some rice when he was younger.
"That's when I promised myself, I will never let the poor be bullied, and the poor should never be bullied anyway," he said.
Although helping the underprivileged often takes an emotional toll on him, especially when he is unable to due to the sheer volume, he continues to provide aid because of his own difficult experiences.
The 56-year-old was a policeman when he founded Community Policing Malaysia in 2007, originally intended as a crime prevention non-governmental organisation (NGO)
However, according to Wiki Impact, Kuan began to realise that the main driver for crime was poverty in many local communities.
That was when he started to focus on aid and relief efforts for the poor instead. He has since started many initiatives as Uncle Kentang, a nickname that came about when he was giving out potatoes during a food distribution campaign.
He has since started a marketplace where the poor can buy items for 10 sen each, 10 sen taxi services to send the sick to hospitals, RM1 ambulance and hearse services, RM1 transit homes to house those in desperate need of a place to stay for a night, and many more.
He also personally attends to those in need when he receives calls from the public and has been grateful for the help of Malaysians when he asks for donations on social media
"There really is great unity in this country, I have to say. When things are posted to social media about people who need help, people are so fast to offer support and donate, it's so nice to see," he told FMT.
Kuan also wrote on Facebook that he was honoured and happy to be a representative of the community in winning the Commonwealth award.
"This was not the effort of me alone. Without the help of everyone, I would not be Uncle Kentang," he said when he was informed of the award.
"All credit should go to each of you for the support. Thank you for the strength. I hope I will be healthy enough to continue providing help to those in need."