|Syed Mokhtar Albukhary Named National "Tokoh Maal Hijrah"
PUTRAJAYA, Jan 10 (Bernama) -- Prominent corporate figure and philanthropist Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary was today named National "Tokoh Maal Hijrah 1429H" at the national-level Maal Hijrah celebration at the International Convention Centre here.
Syed Mokhtar, who is the chairman of Yayasan Albukhary, received a trophy, medal and RM80,000 which were handed over to him by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin.
Also present at the ceremony were Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Met by reporters afterwards, Syed Mokhtar, 57, said his upbringing by his mother, Sharifah Rokiah Syed Mohamed Rahmat, was the driving force behind his success.
"When I was young, my mother also taught me to share what I had with the needy and less fortunate, and it has since been a personal responsibility to me," he said.
After two decades of doing charity work and making personal contributions to worthy causes, Syed Mokhtar set up Yayasan Albukhary in 1996, which carries out community welfare programmes and until last year, had donated RM1 billion to charity.
Asked what he would do with the RM80,000 which he had just received, he said he would give it to his mother "because due to her care and guidance, I am able to savour the success and good fortune from God".
"When I asked Pak Lah (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) what to do with the money, he also told me to give it to my mother."
Syed Mokhtar, whose foray into business began by trading in meat and had gone through the ups and downs in business, believes that knowledge and religion were important in achieving true success.
He revealed that he was unable to continue his studies due to financial constraints at the time, but with the wealth acquired later in life, wanted others to have that opportunity which he did not have.
Through his foundation (Yayasan Albukhary), poor students are given free tuition to improve their academic performance.
The nationwide Albukhary Tuition Programme introduced in 2001, benefits more than 20,000 students each year at 500 tuition centres, while those who excel in the national examinations are given scholarships to further their studies.
The foundation also gives aid to Muslims in other countries who live in poverty like in Pakistan, Uganda, South Africa and Lebanon. To date, about 300 students from 40 Muslim countries have been given scholarships to study in Malaysia.
Besides the setting up of the Albukhary International University, Syed Mokhtar also established the Albukhary Medical Centre with a dialysis unit, at the Albukhary Complex in Alor Star.
The foundation had also helped build 20 mosques, contributed to the cost of renovating the National Mosque, besides building the Islamic Art Museum in Kuala Lumpur and sponsoring poor pilgrims for the Haj.
About 3,000 people attended the Maal Hijrah celebration with the theme, "Creating Outstanding Muslim Community".