PETALING JAYA: Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah (pic) has been named an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) by King Charles III.
The award, which carries the title “Sir”, is the first conferred by His Majesty on a Malaysian citizen.
This is in recognition of the instrumental role played by Cheah in forging high-level links with a number of British institutions and contributing immensely towards bilateral ties between the United Kingdom and Malaysia, according to a statement from the British High Commission to Malaysia.
Cheah, a prominent Malaysian entrepreneur and philanthropist, is the founder and trustee of the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, which owns and governs all entities in Sunway Education Group under a not-for-profit structure.
Cheah said he was overwhelmed and greatly humbled on being conferred the award by 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 the 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,” he said.
In conveying her congratulations, British High Commissioner to Malaysia Ailsa Terry said Cheah was an extraordinary entrepreneur who built and led the Sunway Group to a successful conglomerate with investments in the UK.
“Equally remarkable is how he continues to invest in future generations through education, healthcare and philanthropy both in Malaysia and the UK.
“All these have contributed immensely to bilateral relations,” she said in a statement yesterday.
The British High Commissioner to Malaysia will present the honorary award to Cheah on behalf of King Charles III at a later date.
In 2009 and 2019, the late Queen Elizabeth II also awarded the honorary knighthood to Rimbunan Hijau Group founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King and YTL Group executive chairman Tan Sri Francis Yeoh.
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 awarded to individuals who have made major contributions in any field of activity, usually, but not exclusively, at national level, or in a capacity which will be recognised by peer groups as inspirational and significant nationally and demonstrates sustained commitment.
For non-British nationals, the award is an Honorary KBE.