Judges are looking to honour selfless Malaysians
14 May 2020 | TheStar

PETALING JAYA: Into its sixth year, Star Golden Hearts Award (SGHA) continues to be passionate in finding and honouring individuals and groups behind creative, sustainable and far-reaching good deeds.

Chief judge Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye hopes to review nominees who have especially shone during the trying times of the movement control order (MCO) by helping others.

“It is an extraordinary, unprecedented year, so I’m looking forward to receiving nominations of committed, selfless Malaysians who go out of their way to help others hard-hit by the MCO.

“I’m looking forward to nominees who are doing things that are innovative and beyond the imagination of others whether in areas of poverty, education or social,” Lee added.

Lee said he was especially touched by the many individuals and groups who have helped Malaysians of all races who have lost their source of income during the MCO.

Yayasan Gamuda head Sharifah Alauyah Wan Othman said for this year, the way to go is to find unimagined and sustained solutions among SGHA winners that can ensure continued progress in communities.

“I hope to see nominations that resonate with our goal in empowering community-building efforts that provide positive impacts on the lives of others through opportunities in education and economic participation.

Star Golden Hearts Award 2020 judges (from left) Lee, Sharifah Alauyah, Dr Adeeba and Syed Azmi.

“Yayasan Gamuda believes that when community projects are in for the lasting betterment of our society, transformative and sustained social impact is possible,” she said.

Star Media Group chief content officer Esther Ng said SGHA was more relevant than ever, especially now, as the nation and the world battles the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Through SGHA, we unearth many talented Malaysians and the incredible things that they do but don’t usually shout about.

“Malaysians are a very special lot, we don’t like to show off but we are full of ideas and through our stories and interactions with people, we see this,” she said.

Ng added that while she would like to see creative nominees who adopt out-of-the-box ideas, at the end of the day, it was impact towards people that mattered the most.

Lee, Sharifah Alauyah and Ng were among the seven esteemed judges for this year’s SGHA.

The others are former Yayasan Kebajikan Negara chief executive officer and environmental advocate Datin Paduka Che Asmah Ibrahim, Universiti Malaya dean of medicine and International AIDS Society president-elect Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, prominent social activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi, as well as child protection consultant and former Social Welfare Department assistant director Vijayakumari Pillai.

Che Asmah hoped to see more diverse nominations, especially for people or groups that have been doing work in underserved or untouched areas and communities.

“I’m also looking for those who do work sustainably, leaving something long-lasting with high impact,” she said.

Che Asmah said while many individuals and groups tend to shine during the Covid-19 pandemic, she was looking for more than just one-off or touch-and-go initiatives.

Dr Adeeba said over the years, the judges had seen many great examples of heroic people and organisations, with the number as well as the quality of nominees improving every year.

“I have no doubt that we will see an even greater turnout of nominees this year judging by what we have witnessed with the Covid-19 response,” she said.

Dr Adeeba hoped to review individuals and organisations who have worked selflessly to improve the lives of others and the society.

She also agreed that with the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an emergence of goodwill and heroes among Malaysians, making the SGHA even more relevant in recognising unsung heroes.

Syed Azmi said: “This time, we are looking for something we can learn from. Everyone is helping out each other as Malaysians are generally very generous.

“But what I’m looking for is the values left behind such as did the nominees leave more knowledge, help create better manners or change the mindset of the communities for the better?”

Syed Azmi also hoped that more corporations and sponsors would hold similar initiatives to the SGHA to create more acknowledgement and appreciation for do-gooders.

“This is the perfect time for the public to write in and nominate impactful people or organisations,” he said.

Vijayakumari also hoped to see nominees who are not only creative, but have also left a far-reaching impact, especially those who reach out to underserved communities.

“I really appreciate those who do good work for the environment and those who reach out to Orang Asli or any communities that need a lot of help,” she said.

She added that while the Covid-19 pandemic may eventually fade out, the good work of the many Malaysians who did wonderful things before and during the pandemic will survive.