Malaysia’s Uncle Potato
Commonwealth Point of Light 175. Kuan Chee Heng
Kuan Chee Heng, representing Malaysia, is a philanthropist whose crowdfunded charity offers employment mentoring, food deliveries and an innovative ‘10 cent marketplace’ where those in need can buy donated second-hand items for a nominal fee.
Kuan, who is known by many as “Uncle Kentang” (Uncle Potato) due to his early voluntary work distributing potatoes to the poor, has been offering his service to the community for many years, particularly helping those from vulnerable and underprivileged backgrounds. He provides transport and ambulance service, free hearse and funeral for those in need, and the indigenous orang asli community. He also runs a food bank, operates a 12-hour suicidal hotline, helps arrange shelter for abused women and children as well as sets up a community policing teams to keep crimes at bay.
Kuan is also known as the 10-sen man because he offers 10-sen ambulance service, 10-sen taxi and sell items for 10-sen at flea market to alleviate the financial burden of the poor and needy. Kuan’s travelling marketplaces have helped over 10,000 people afford essential household items, while also providing an important community hub.
H.E. Charles Hay, the British High Commissioner to Malaysia, presented the award on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Kuan in a simple ceremony in Kuala Lumpur (pictured).
“I feel extremely honoured and proud to be awarded the Commonwealth Points of Light award. When I began this journey of service, my motive was not to get any form of reward or recognition, but purely to make a difference in the lives of those who needed help. I was supported in my efforts by a group of wonderful people who put service before self. Getting this award is an honour not just for me but for my great team of volunteers who share my passion.
“The award belongs to all donors and Malaysians who work hard and support all initiatives taken to uplift the quality of living. I thank Her Majesty The Queen of England with all our best wishes. The award will spur us to work harder indeed.”
H.E. Charles Hay, British High Commissioner to Malaysia, said:
“The award is a fitting acknowledgement of Mr Kuan’s tireless efforts in helping those in need. It is important to recognise exceptional volunteers like Mr Kuan and share their stories of service. I hope this can inspire others to contribute back to the society.”