PETALING JAYA: Kuan Chee Heng, known as Uncle Kentang by many who follow his acts of charity online, has been named to the Commonwealth Points of Light Award in recognition of his philanthropy.
The award is given out weekly to a person from the Commonwealth in recognition of their community work, and Uncle Kentang will be only the fourth Malaysian to receive the honour since its inception in 2018.
“This isn’t just for me, this is for all Malaysians,” he told FMT. “I’m just a representative, this award belongs to everyone, ‘Uncle Kentang’ isn’t just about what I do.”
He received notice of the honour on Saturday night and will collect the certificate on June 12 at the British High Commissioner’s office in Kuala Lumpur.
Uncle Kentang and the organisation he founded, Community Policing Malaysia, have been responsible for a number of aid efforts aimed at helping society’s most vulnerable, such as a RM1 hearse service, cheap ambulance services, food deliveries to the poor, and his “10 sen pasar” programmes, where he sells donated clothing, appliances and books to the needy.
“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.”
Next: A ranch for old folk
He said his next major project is an ambitious one, a “ranch” in an idyllic location to house poor elderly people and give them the best possible life and care.
“Some old folks’ homes are so cramped, and the conditions aren’t very nice. I want to set up something better, something that takes advantage of Malaysia’s natural blessings like sunlight and abundant rainwater, so it doesn’t have to be so expensive to run.
“Then we can have a farm, some animals, and the whole thing will be self-contained. We can work with local health authorities to make sure everyone’s well-being is taken care of too.”
He said he dreams of somewhere “beautiful, where these people can gaze at the stars and the moon” in the hills, tossing out Broga and Semenyih as examples, and hoped a good Samaritan with some unused land might be able to lend a hand.
“This could be a chance for everyone to stand together and do something for old people. Maybe it could even pave the way for old folks’ homes in the future.”