Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) was founded in 1982, but this year is special as YSD is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its operations team. The momentous occasion, themed “A Decade of Meaningful Impact”, was marked by the release of YSD’s annual report that highlights its efforts in enhancing lives and fostering sustainable values, showcasing the various impact it has achieved in the last decade through numerous initiatives across its five pillars — Education, Environment, Community & Health, Sports as well as Arts & Culture. Over the last ten years, the foundation has expanded its wings from offering scholarships to outstanding and deserving individuals, to funding impactful conservation and preservation efforts, as well as outreach and development programmes.
YSD Chairman Y.A.M. Tunku Tan Sri Imran Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Ja’afar said, “These significant achievements would not have been possible without the support and generous contributions from the Sime Darby companies which are Sime Darby Berhad, Sime Darby Plantation Berhad and Sime Darby Property Berhad. These donations have enabled us to undertake various Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects in hopes that our beneficiaries will be able to live richer lives and continue to reap long-term benefits. Embodying our tagline ‘Your Foundation for the Future’, we hope to continue aiding those in need and become a catalyst to change the world for the better, one cause at a time.”
Celebrating a decade of meaningful impact through its five pillars
Under the Education pillar, YSD has made great strides in making a difference in the lives of youth. Since its inception in 1982, the foundation has awarded 4,460 scholarships worth RM289.9 million to outstanding and deserving students within and outside of Malaysia, via three education sponsorship categories; Excellence, Skill Enrichment, and Underprivileged.
For almost 40 years, YSD has produced talented individuals who have now become industry leaders such as Professor Datin Paduka Dr Soo Teo Hwang, a 1998 YSD scholarship recipient who graduated from the University of Cambridge and has been awarded an honorary Order of the British Empire (OBE). She is the Chief Scientific Officer of Cancer Research Malaysia (CRM), a YSD beneficiary that has been conducting life-saving research and leading the fight in controlling cancer in Asia. In more recent years, YSD has also extended bursaries to differently-abled individuals, as well as to B40 tertiary and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) students, in a bid to provide equal education opportunities and produce a more diverse group of young talents for the country’s future workforce.
To further reduce inequalities through education, the foundation also aims to provide marginalised children and youth with access to important education. This includes the children and teenagers of Yayasan Chow Kit, children living with autism at IDEAS Autism Centre, and underprivileged students under the Pra-Pendidikan Tinggi programme with Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM).
Preserving and conserving Malaysia’s rich landscapes
Under its Environment pillar, YSD has supported conservation activities for 10 endangered, threatened and vulnerable animal species, collaborating with more than 30 project partners over the last decade. Beyond that, the foundation planted over 1.5 million trees all over Malaysia with various partners, resulting in successful reforestation across the Peninsular and important Orangutan habitat in Sabah which helps to increase the biodiversity value within the forest and oil palm landscapes, towards creating vital wildlife corridors and habitats for Malaysian wildlife. YSD is also dedicated to rehabilitating critical riparian areas such as those at the Kinabatangan river as well as peat forest areas such as the Raja Musa forest reserve.
Apart from improving contributing to state action plans and industry best practices through our support for homegrown researchers, YSD’s environment conservation initiatives also create income sources, capacity-building and livelihood opportunities for the local communities surrounding the project sites — building a sense of ownership towards the sustainability of the projects. On top of that, YSD is committed to empowering communities towards adopting sustainable lifestyle practices, focusing on support for call-to-action initiatives and awareness campaigns organised by effective partners.
Safeguarding health and community
Under the Community & Health pillar, the foundation has made significant strides in further improving the lives of the underprivileged over the past decade through flagship programmes such as the YSD Huluran Kasih, Disaster Relief and Sinar Harapan as well as long-term initiatives with CRM, Universiti of Malaya Medical Centre, National Diabetes Institute, Women’s Aid Organisation, HOSPIS Malaysia, Yayasan Orang Kurang Upaya Kelantan, Malaysian AIDS Foundation and Malaysian AIDS Council. These endeavours aim towards improving the well-being and quality of life of marginalised groups including vulnerable women, the differently-abled, at-risk children and babies, senior citizens, the urban poor and rural communities. Through these partnerships, YSD has also supported medical research, outreach and advocacy, and mobilisation of frontliners, as well as medication for underprivileged patients. These long-term partnerships and a strong community network have made it possible for YSD to reach out and assist vulnerable groups via various humanitarian work with partners on the ground, including during recent COVID-19 emergency response initiatives.
Championing local athletes and their performance on the global stage
On the Sports front, YSD has evolved from focusing on supporting a few sports projects to supporting various grassroots sports development programmes which are tailored to provide more opportunities to young aspiring Malaysian athletes. One of the foundation’s most impactful initiatives is funding competition exposure, training and education for Malaysian cyclist Azizulhasni Awang who bagged Malaysia’s first bronze medal at the Rio Olympics Games 2016. Aiming to identify more outstanding women and girls to provide them with opportunities into the state and national talents pools, YSD is also championing the efforts in female talent development in sports, particularly in track cycling, football, rugby, and cricket.
Celebrating local arts and culture while preserving Malaysia’s heritage
Under the Arts & Culture pillar, the foundation is committed to championing the arts scene in Malaysia, focusing on Malaysia’s local heritage. YSD has provided access to arts to over 1.3 million audience members via various festivals such as the biennial Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival (YSDAF), the largest free-for-all inclusive arts festival in Malaysia in partnership with Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC). Other than that, the foundation has been working with ASK Dance Company as an incubator for local dance talents and to preserve traditional dances, providing capacity-building for emerging artistes partnering with the Five Arts Centre, and a proud funder of The Royal Press in Malacca, a polyglot letterpress living museum.
Most recently, through a tripartite partnership with British Council Malaysia and the University of Malaya (UM), the foundation had launched the Hubs for Good programme and online platform to enhance the positive role that creative hubs play as catalysts in transforming communities and cities in Malaysia. YSD’s efforts in the arts sector have also been recognised with the two national awards received namely The Distinguished Patron of the Arts award in 2012 and the “Anugerah Tokoh Seni Korporat” at the Royal Gala Awards 2014.
The YSD Annual Report 2020 themed “A Decade of Meaningful Impact” also describes how YSD ensures that its five pillars, their strategies and the projects supported are aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals charted by the United Nations, towards helping to achieve the global goals by 2030. The foundation also celebrated its 10th anniversary by posting various heartfelt messages from long term beneficiaries across its social media platforms for a month.
“It has been more than a decade since I joined YSD as one of its core team members. There were just a handful of us back then. We were brought in to expand the five newly launched pillars of YSD, and to become the foundation that the YSD Council envisioned us to be. We stayed strong as a team and I am proud to report that our determination to make an impact in society has never faltered. Now, a decade later, we are a dedicated team of 30 today, ready to face any challenges ahead while maintaining our vision of leading and making a sustainable impact, and making a difference in the lives of others,” said YSD Chief Executive Officer Dr Hjh Yatela Zainal Abidin.