Jeffrey Cheah

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For the Hong Kong swimmer, see Geoffrey Cheah.
Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dr.
Jeffrey Cheah Fook Ling
Native name
  • 谢富年
  • Qia3 Fu5 Ngien2
  • Chhía Fu Ngìen
Born Pusing, Perak, Malaysia
Nationality Malaysian
Alma mater Victoria University, Australia
Occupation Founder and chairman of the Sunway Group
Title Foundation Chancellor of the Sunway University
Children 3
Cheah Fook Ling
Traditional Chinese 謝富年
Simplified Chinese 谢富年
  • Qia3 Fu5 Ngien2
  • Chhía Fu Ngìen

Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah Fook Ling (Hakka Chinese: 谢富年; Qia3 Fu5 Ngien2 or Chhía Fu Ngìen) is the founder and current chairman of the Sunway Group, a Malaysian conglomerate operating in 12 industries with core businesses in property and construction.[1] Jeffrey Cheah is Foundation Chancellor of Sunway University in Malaysia.[2] He is also a Founding Trustee of the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation.

Early life, education and early career[edit]

Jeffrey Cheah was born in Pusing, a small town near Ipoh in the Malaysian state of Perak. He received his secondary schooling at SMK Sultan Yussuf in Batu Gajah.[3] Cheah then moved to Australia to pursue a business degree at Victoria University in Melbourne. Although Cheah is the recipient of nine honorary degrees and is frequently styled as 'Dr Cheah', this bachelor's degree is the only academic qualification for which he has studied.[1]

After graduating, Jeffrey Cheah returned to Malaysia to take a job as an accountant in a motor assembly plant. He soon left this employment, in 1974, to start his own company, a small tin-mining company, with an initial investment of RM100,000.[1]

Sunway Group and Bandar Sunway[edit]

The Sunway Group grew from a gradual conglomeration of Jeffrey Cheah's business interests. At its heart is the 350-hectare (860-acre; 1.4 sq mi) development Bandar Sunway, in the Petaling district of the state of Selangor. This derelict mining estate was 'resurrected' as a new township, twenty minutes' drive from the centre of Kuala Lumpur, focused around the Sunway Lagoon theme park and the Sunway Pyramid shopping mall, both of which are Sunway Group holdings. Cheah's investment in Malaysian higher education is represented by the two universities of Bandar Sunway: the Malaysian campus of the Australian Monash University and the local Sunway University. The rehabilitation and transformation of the landscape has won the township international awards, including being judged the world's best leisure project by FIABCI (International Real Estate Federation, Paris) in 2002.[2]

Educational investment[edit]

In 1987, Jeffrey Cheah established Sunway College in Bandar Sunway as a private tertiary educational institute. A major phase in college's early development was its partnership with Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. The partnership allowed Malaysian students to pursue a preparatory year at Sunway College before being admitted to study at Monash. In 1997, the college has proved financially viable, and Cheah transferred ownership to the Sunway Educational Trust Fund (which was later renamed the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation). This move paved the way for the Monash partnership to take the next step. In 1998, the Monash University Malaysia Campus was opened in Bandar Sunway, in partnership with the trust fund. On 12 August 2004, the Minister for Education granted the institution the status of a university college. In 2006, the Sultan of Selangor installed Jeffrey Cheah as Foundation Chancellor of the university college. In appreciation of his contribution to Monash University Malaysia Campus, the Monash University School of Medicine was named after him in 2007. In January 2011, the institution was further upgraded to a fully independent university.[4]

Jeffrey Cheah set up Sunway College and Monash University Malaysia Campus. These institutions, along with Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Sunway International School were later placed under the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation (formerly Sunway Education Trust Fund) which has not only given out scholarships worth more than RM80 million to date, but has reinvested all the profits from these institutions. The profits serve to upgrade facilities and ensure students benefit from a higher quality of education.

Under Jeffrey Cheah's leadership, the Sunway Safe City Initiative was implemented. This initiative, which was launched in 2001, has proven extremely effective in combating crime.[citation needed] A partnership between the Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF), the Selangor State Government and the Sunway Group, it has reduced the crime rate and infused the township with a spirit of togetherness and neighbourliness that now serves as an example for other residents' association throughout Selangor. In recognition of Tan Sri Jeffrey's meritorious contribution in the field of social safety and security, he was appointed the Chairman of MCPF Selangor Chapter by the Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts & Heritage in Aug 2008.[citation needed]

Awards, honors and privileged positions[edit]

Royal orders and conferments[edit]

On 8 March 1988, the Sultan of Selangor made Jeffrey Cheah a Knight Commander of the Crown of Selangor (Malay: Dato' Paduka Mahkota Selangor, DPMS), which entitles its holder to the title Dato'.

In 1995, Jeffrey Cheah was made a Justice of the Peace (JP) by the Sultan of Terengganu. The appointment is purely honorary.

In April 1996, the Sultan of Perak, Jeffrey Cheah's home state, made him a Knight Grand Commander of the Crown of Perak (Malay: Dato' Seri Paduka Mahkota Perak, SPMP), which entitles its holder to the title Dato' Seri.

On 1 June 1996, Yang di-Pertuan Agong (the 'King of Malaysia') awarded Cheah Commander of the Order of Loyalty of the Crown of Malaysia (Malay: Panglima Setia Mahkota Malaysia, PSM), which entitles its holder to the title Tan Sri.

On 10 July 2008, Jeffrey Cheah was made an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for "service to Australia–Malaysia bilateral relations, particularly tertiary education through the development of collaborative student transfer programs and the establishment of a Monash University campus in Malaysia".[5]

Honorary doctorates[edit]

Jeffrey Cheah has been awarded the following nine honorary doctorates, by universities in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Year University Award
1993 Victoria University, Australia Doctor of the University
1994 Flinders University, South Australia Doctor of the University
1994 University of Western Australia Doctor of Education
1994 Western Michigan University, United States Doctor of Education
1995 Monash University, Victoria, Australia Doctor of Laws
1996 Leicester University, United Kingdom Doctor of Laws
1998 Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom Doctor of Education
2001 Greenwich University, United Kingdom Doctor of Business Administration
2013 Lancaster University, United Kingdom Doctor of Laws

Government advisor positions[edit]

  1. Director, National Productivity Centre, appointed by the Minister of Trade (1990).
  2. Chairman, Malaysian Industry-Government High Technology for Construction and Housing (MIGHT), appointed by the Prime Minister (1995).
  3. Executive Council Member, Malaysian Tourism Action Council, appointed by the Minister of Tourism (1996).
  4. Council Member, Higher Education Council of Malaysia, appointed by the Minister of Education (1996).
  5. Council Member, Financial Reporting Foundation, appointed by the Minister of Finance (1997).

Business honours[edit]

  1. 'Property Man of the Year (FIABCI, Malaysian Chapter)' (1993).
  2. 'CEO of the Year (Malaysia)' (1996).
  3. 'Asia's Most Innovative Chinese Entrepreneur Award' (2005).[citation needed]
  4. Chairman & co-founder of Asian Strategy And Leadership Institute (ASLI).
  5. Paul Harris Fellow Award.
  6. Fellow Australian Society of Certificate Practising Accountants.
  7. Fellow of Institute of Directors.
  8. Lifetime Achievement Luminary Award (2016)[6]

Social and welfare organisations[edit]

  1. President, Malaysian Hakka Association (1997).
  2. Founding Trustee, Malaysian Liver Foundation (1999).
  3. Honorary chairman, Sin Chew Foundation (2000).
  4. Vice-President, National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (2002).
  5. Honorary Member, Kuala Lumpur Malay Chamber of Commerce (2002).
  6. Fellow Benefactor, University of Cambridge (2015).[7]

Places named after Jeffrey Cheah[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Sunway Group: Chairman's Profile". Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Sunway University: The People: The Chancellery". Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Cheah donates to alma mater". The Star. 31 October 2000. 
  4. ^ "Sunway University: Our story". Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Australian Government: It's an Honour". Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Sunway Group and Grab founders honoured at Channel NewsAsia Luminary Awards". Channel NewsAsia. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2016. 
  7. ^ "Sunway Ties Up With Cambridge". The Star. 15 February 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.