HE 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.
Kuan has been providing service to the community for many years, helping the poor, the needy and the underprivileged. It provides transport and ambulance service, a free hearse and funeral service for the poor and the indigenous Orang Asli community. He also runs a food bank, runs a 12-hour suicide hotline, helps organize a shelter for abused women and children, and sets up community policing teams to keep crimes at bay.
Kuan has been known to many as “Uncle Kentang” since the time he started distributing potatoes to the poor. He is also known as the 10 sen man because he offers 10 sen ambulance service, 10 sen taxi and sells 10 sen items at the flea market to ease the financial burden on the poor and of the needy.
The 57-year-old philanthropist, who was surprised when he was first told about the news, said:
I feel extremely honored and proud to receive the Commonwealth Points of Light award. When I began this journey of service, my motive was not to gain any form of reward or recognition, but simply to make a difference in the lives of those in need. I have been supported in my efforts by a group of wonderful people who put service before themselves. Winning this award is an honor not only for me, but for my wonderful team of volunteers who share my passion.
The prize belongs to all donors and to hardworking Malaysians who support all initiatives taken to improve the quality of life. I thank Her Majesty the Queen of England with all our best wishes. The price will make us work harder indeed.
The Commonwealth Points of Light Award is presented by Her Majesty The Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, to outstanding volunteers from 54 Commonwealth countries for the difference they make in their communities.
HE Charles Hay, British High Commissioner to Malaysia, said:
The award is a fitting recognition of Mr. Kuan’s tireless efforts to help those in need. It is important to recognize outstanding volunteers like Mr. Kuan and share their stories of service. I hope this can inspire others to contribute to society.
Before Kuan, three other Malaysians received the Commonwealth Points of Light award. They are Dr Madhusudhan, who provides free medical care to the homeless through his Teddy mobile clinics; Dr Chen Pelf Nyok of the Turtle Conservation Society, which protects freshwater turtles in Terengganu; as well as Ms. Khor Sue Yee and Ms. Aurora Tin from Zero Waste Malaysia for promoting a zero waste lifestyle to preserve the environment.