Wawasan Education Foundation

The Wawasan Education Foundation (WEF) was established in 2000 as a company limited by guarantee with tax-exempt status. WEF is a foundation of members, with no share capital held by individuals or companies. Presently, WEF consists of 39 members from a diverse range of corporate, professional and academic sectors. Members at WEF’s Annual General Meeting elect directors to the WEF Board, some by rotation, as provided by the WEF Constitution.

WEF’s main objectives are:

  • to foster, develop and improve education of all kinds
  • to offer scholarships and financial aid to the needy and deserving
  • to provide research and project grants to researchers; to appeal for and procure contributions to the foundation
  • to donate to institutions with approval by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) of Malaysia.

As it has successfully done since its inception for over two decades, WEF serves within a fundraising capacity, securing donations from individuals and corporations to ensure Wawasan Open University’s sustainability and growth initiatives are achieved.

The IRB guidelines for all foundations with tax-exempt status and WEF’s own constitution specifically prohibit support for any political organisation or trade union.

Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon

Chairman, Board of Governors, Wawasan Open University

With a first degree in physics from Princeton, Dr Koh received his MA and PhD in comparative education from the University of Chicago and was later a Fulbright Scholar in Stanford University. He started his career as a lecturer in the School of Educational Studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in 1975 and became a Deputy Dean in 1978.

He ventured into politics in 1982 by joining Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia and was elected as a Member of Parliament. In 1986, he was appointed as the political secretary to Dr Lim Chong Eu, the second Chief Minister of Penang.

He subsequently succeeded Dr Lim in 1990, serving until 2008. He drove Penang’s industrial transformation towards high-tech, high value-add, development and design; and promoted education, sports, skills training, youth development and caring society. He also prepared George Town for the UNESCO World Heritage Listing which was successfully inscribed in 2008. Later, he served as a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of national unity and performance management (2009 – 2013).

He is presently also the Chairman of the Wawasan Education Foundation (since 2013). He served as WOU’s Pro-Chancellor from September 2012 to December 2018, and was appointed as WOU’s Board of Governors Chairman in March 2017.

Dato' Seri Stephen Yeap Leong Huat

Chairman, Heng Lee Group of Companies

A prominent banker, company director, philanthropist and trustee of the Yeap Chor Ee Charitable Trust and former chairman of the Wawasan Education Foundation.

Executive Chairman of Heng Lee & Company Sdn Bhd, a Penang-based group with diversified interests in education, property development, investment holding, sports complex operations, credit financing, warehousing and investments.

Dato’ Seri Stephen is the Chairman of Wawasan Open University Sdn Bhd and Deputy Chairman of Wawasan Education Foundation, an established not-for-profit education foundation based in Penang. He is also the Founder and Executive Advisor to the Penang Chinese Clan Council.

Previous directorships in public listed companies included CIMB Bank and Island & Peninsular Bhd.

Mr Loo Choo Teng

Former Chief Executive Officer, Heng Lee Group of Companies

Former chief executive officer and company secretary of all companies in the Heng Lee Group. He holds a BSc (Hons) and a Diploma in Business Administration from Universiti Malaya and has more than 25 years of working experience. Initially with Ban Hin Lee Bank Bhd for 2 years before taking up the post of personal assistant to Tan Sri Geh Ik Cheong, chairman of Perlis Plantations Bhd and Kuok Group of companies, which are principally involved in manufacturing, plantations, trading and hotel.

He joined the Heng Lee Group in 1985.

Dato’ Seri Chet Singh a/l Karam Singh

Director, Penang Institute

Mr Chen Yow Seong

Investor & Director of various companies

Mr Chen is a member of both the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Malaysian Institute of Accountants. He is also a fellow member of the Malaysian Institute of Taxation. He started his career with an international professional accounting firm, KPMG Peat Marwick where he served his articleship. In 1988, he was appointed as Senior Auditor in another international professional accounting firm, Ernst & Young.

He has vast experience serving as an independent director in Public Listed Companies. He has served as an Independent Non-Executive Chairman of VADS Berhad Board’s Audit Committee and a member of VADS’ Nominating and Remuneration Committee. VADS Berhad was a listed company in Bursa Malaysia from 2002 until 2009 when it was taken private by Telekom Malaysia Berhad.

In 2006, he was also appointed as an Independent Director and Audit Chairman of Packet One Networks (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Green Packet Berhad, a company listed on Bursa Malaysia. He resigned from Packet One Network (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd in 2014 after the take-over of a majority shareholding by Telekom Malaysia Berhad.

He is also currently serving as a director of Wawasan Education Foundation (WEF), a position he held since 2011.

Datuk Lim Si Pin

Former Chief Executive Officer/Director Cempaka Sdn Bhd

Datuk Lim is currently Director of Wawasan Open University Sdn Bhd and also Director of the Wawasan Education Foundation.  From 2013 to 2018, he has held several positions which included Director cum Chief Executive Officer of Cempaka Sdn Bhd and Director of Eight-Tel Sdn Bhd.  He was also the former Director of CPMS Sdn Bhd.

He holds an MSc (International Banking & Finance) from the University of Wales, College of Cardiff (UWCC), Wales, UK and a BSc (Joint Honours) (Law & Economics) from the University College of Wales (UCW), Aberystwyth, Wales, UK.

Dato’ Seri Nazir Ariff

Chairman, Small Medium Enterprise Development Bank Malaysia Berhad (SME Bank)

Dato’ Seri Nazir is the co-founder of the Aspen Group and has served as its Executive Deputy Chairman since 2019.

He was an Independent Director at PBA Holdings Bhd, Chairman of the Small Medium Enterprise Development Bank Malaysia Bhd (SME Bank) from 2019 to 2022, Independent Non-Executive Director of Texchem Resources Berhad from 2003 to 2022 and Chairman of the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Northern Branch) from 1997 to 2014.

He is a successful corporate figure with vast experience in various industries, including banking, property, mining and commodity. He started his career holding several key leadership positions at Escoy Holdings Bhd. (formerly Datuk Keramat Holdings Bhd.), leaving at the end of his tenure as Managing Director in 2006.

He majored in accountancy in the United Kingdom, and is a Fellow of the British Institute of Management.

Dato’ Dr Neoh Soon Bin

Managing Director, Soon Soon Group of Companies

He has been the Managing Director of Soon Soon Group of Companies, a leading international food and feed ingredients manufacturing concern in Malaysia, for over 40 years. With a strong scientific research background, he also leads the Group’s research units.

He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Lam Wah Ee Hospital, Penang, and UTAR Hospital, Perak.

He has held leadership positions in both the government and private sector. He was Chairman of Penang Port, a former council member of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), and he also served in various state and federal government committees.

He obtained his BSc and PhD in chemistry from the University College London, and completed a post doctorate research fellowship at the University of Chicago in Biological Chemistry.

Dato’ Harry Allyn Cockrell

Managing Director, Pacific Tiger Group Ltd.

Dato’ Cockrell is the Founder and Chairman of The Habitat Foundation, a charitable organisation in Malaysia focused on education, the environment, heritage and charity. He has been the Managing Director of Pacific Tiger Group Ltd., a Hong Kong-based privately held investment enterprise with a wide range of businesses and assets across the Asia Pacific region, since 2005.

He has a wealth of business, financial and investment experience. He was an investment committee member of the Asian Infrastructure Fund. He has also held positions as the Director of Corporate Banking for the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia, and as a banking advisor for Middle Eastern and Asian interests.

He holds a BA in Asian Studies from Seton Hall University, New Jersey, and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, United States.

WEF Members

1. Dato’ Seri Chia Kwang Chye
Investor, owner of business & former Deputy Minister

2. Datuk Ng Chiang Chin
Investor, owner of business & property developer

3. Dato’ Dr Sharom Ahmat
Former DVC, USM; 1st CEO, WEF; Academic Advisor, University of Brunei Darussalam

4. Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap Leong Huat
Chairman, Yeap Chor Ee (YCE) Trust and Heng Lee Group

5. Tan Sri Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan
WOU 1st VC & former CEO, Commonwealth of Learning

6. Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon
WEF Chairman & WOU BOG Chairman

7. Dato’ Dr Teng Hock Nan
Ex-Pg State EXCO & Kek Lok Si Hospital Medical Superintendent

8. Datuk Lim Kheng Guan
ED, Msian Management, Consultant Sdn Bhd

9. Dato’ Seri Goh Eng Toon
Chairman, Salcon Bhd & former Chairman, BHL Bank

10. Chen Yow Seong
Investor, Director of various companies

11. Datuk Lim Si Pin
Investor & Director of various companies

12. Mr Ahmed Bin Chee

13. Mdm Amy Siew Choo Heah
Chairperson, Jacsui Sdn Bhd

14. Tan Sri Andrew Sheng
Pro-Chancellor, University of Bristol

15. Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar
Visiting Fellow, Cambridge U & Ex-MD Khazanah

16. Ms Charmaine Saw
Principal, UMAMU Estate, Australia

17. Dato’ Seri Cheah Cheng Hye
Co-Chairman & Co-CIO, Value Partners

18. Mr Chuah Choon Bin
Chairman, Pentamaster

19. Dato’ Gan Khai Choon
Co-Chairman, Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (Hong Kong & Macau)

20. Mr Gurmit Singh
Chairman, Centre for Environment, Technology & Development, Malaysia

21. Mr Hamdan Majeed
MD, Think City Institute

22. Dato’ Dr Kathleen Loh
United Clinic

23. Mr Koay Swee Aik
MD, Chop Tong Guan

24. Mr Li Chau Ging
Founder/MD, CG Group

25. Meenakshi a/p Raman
Head of Programmes, Third World Network & President, Sahabat Alam Malaysia

26. Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid
Chairman, CARI Research Institute

27. Tan Sri Nazir Razak
Chairman, Ikhlas Capital

28. Dr Nungsari Bin Ahmad Radhi
Trustee, Yayasan Rahimah Yusof

29. Dato’ Ooi Sang Kuang
Chairman, OCBC Singapore

30. Mr Puan Chan Cheong
Group MD, Green Packet Berhad

31. Dato’ Seri Robert Tan Chung Meng
Group CEO, IGB Berhad

32. Tan Sri Sheriff Kassim
Ex-Sec-Gen MOF, Ex-MD Khazanah & Chairman, Scientex Berhad

33. Dato’ Tan Eng Kee
CEO, Greatech Technology Berhad

34. Mr Tan Teong Khin (TK Tan)
MD, Clarion Malaysia

35. Dr William Fung Kwok Lun
Deputy Chairman, Fung Group, Hong Kong

36. Dato’ Seri Wong Siew Hai
President, Malaysia Semiconductor Industry Association

37. Prof Dr Woo Wing Thye
Distinguished Professor of Economics, UC Davis & Research Prof, Sunway University

38. Dato’ Yeap Beow Chong
CEO, N-2 Jeansmaker

39. Mr Yeap Leong Chin
Director, Heng Lee Group & Yeap Chor Ee Trustee

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