Vincent Tan pledges RM600m to foundation

(Bernama) – Berjaya Group founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan today pledged to transfer RM600 million worth of shares in two of his companies to the Better Malaysia Foundation which he set up for charitable causes.

 This would be done this year via RM400 million worth of shares in U-Mobile Telecommunication Berhad that would be listed and RM200 million in the form of Irredeemable Convertible Unsecured Loans (Iculs) of Berjaya Corporation Berhad, he announced at the Berjaya Founder’s Day celebration at Berjaya Times Square here. 

During the inaugural Berjaya Founder’s Day celebration last year, the billionaire had pledged to donate half of his wealth to charity during his lifetime.  

 When he turned 60 two days ago, Tan announced he had relinqushed his position as chairman of the group after earlier giving up the CEO post to his eldest son, Datuk Robin Tan.  

 “It is by no means an easy decision to make as Berjaya has been a part of my life. As I turned 60, I had to reset my priorities to seek rewards other than financial so I could devote more time for other causes,” he said.  

The Better Malaysia Foundation, formerly known as VTCY Foundation, carries out activities in various fields to make Malaysia a better place for all to live. VTCY stands for Tan’s full name, Vincent Tan Chee Yioun.  

 Turning to his son, he said: “He is capable and I am confident he can take Berjaya to a higher level while I remain as adviser to the group. He is my eldest son and has measured up although not every eldest son measures up”. 

  On his role as adviser,  he quoted former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that he wants to be like a British adviser, “which means you must take the advice”.  

 Tracing his childhood, Tan said he managed to study up to Form 5 only because his family could not afford to see him through to university. But he attributed his first big break in life to his proficiency in the English language.  

 ” If I had not been able to speak English, do you think MacDonald (the American fast food chain) would have given me the franchise,” he said. Tan said he would give full support to any efforts to provide English proficiency to young Malaysians as he believed this would greatly enhance their employment opportunities.    

The Better Malaysia Foundation would allocate RM10 million over the nex tfive years to build English language learning centres, he said.    

Tan, who recently bought the English football club Cardiff City, said he had always been very proud to be Malaysian and it was for this reason that the country’s name appears on the team’s jerseys. 

 ” Whatever people say, Malaysia is a great country and I am very proud to be Malaysian. That’s why I tell my Malay friends: ” Ini tanah tumpah darah ku” (this is my country).  

 Tan will leave for London tomorrow in time for Sunday’s League Cup final at the Wembley Stadium where Cardiff City play English Premier League Liverpool.  

 “God willing, we will win,” he said with a broad smile. At today’s celebration, Tan also handed over donations worth RM11.6 million to 61 charitable bodies.    Also present was Sultan Hajah Kalsom of Pahang.