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It is mandatory for public listed and Government-linked companies (GLCs) to incorporate Corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities which delivers economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders. It was a natural inclination for my Group to concentrate our CSR efforts on education access to all – in spite of their challenging financial and social background.

Doing business with benefits

There might be a misconception that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs may be costly or counter-productive. Nothing could be more wrong. The corporate world needs to go beyond philanthropy and embrace corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a core business value to ensure sustainable development, said the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM). There was a misconception that CSR was limited to monetary contributions.

Contrary to popular belief, there are many advantages to adopt a CSR initiative as it gives the company a more positive brand recognition and reputation. This in turn may lead to a better financial performance due to increased sales and customer loyalty which actually might reduce overall operational costs. The other healthy side benefits include attracting talent and retaining staff who align themselves with the company’s CSR vision and mission.

Corporate social investment can help you to build a reputation as a responsible business, which can, in turn, lead to competitive advantage. Companies often favour suppliers who have responsible policies, since this can reflect on how their customers see them. Some customers don’t just prefer to deal with responsible companies – they actually insist on it.

Going beyond CSR requirements

I found the CSR component of my business group, a perfect fit into my personal background and earlier philanthropic efforts. In fact, I went above and beyond to what was required and exceeded the amount of physical, monetary and emotional synergies into making sure that the underprivileged and disadvantaged children in society are well taken off by setting up the Hiichiikok Foundation.

The Foundation was set up to provide a respite for parents to could not afford to send their children to school and provide tuition. The Hiichiikok Foundation Home which accommodates kids from age 5-16 years old, is equipped with all the necessary amenities and the children are also taught values like independence, responsibility and respect for the elderly by experienced and dedicated care-givers.

Higher Education for all

Although we first started our CSR arm with altruistic motives to provide basic education for all who needed it – this year we are taking it higher a notch by offering massive nation-wide scholarships to the tune of 5 million in order for deserving needy students to gain access to tertiary education to pursue their future life goals and ambitions.