KUALA LUMPUR: Three Malaysian individuals and a couple are among 48 people named "Heroes of Philanthropy" by Forbes Asia.
The list, compiled annually by Forbes with the aim of calling attention to notable people and causes throughout the region, featured Datuk Vijay Eswaran, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, Koon Yew Yin and a couple, Hijjas Kasturi and Angela Hijjas, among 44 Asians and four Australians.
Eswaran, the executive chairman and co-founder of the QI Group of Companies, was selected for his extensive contributions amounting to millions of dollars to various causes around the globe, including public health initiatives, education and cultural programmes.
He set up RYTHM Foundation in 2005 as the corporate social responsibility arm of the group.
In February this year, another Malaysian on the Forbes Asia list, Berjaya Corporation Bhd founder Tan, pledged to donate at least half of his wealth to charity.
This follows his decision to join "The Giving Pledge" that was initiated by Bill Gates, his wife Melinda and Warren Buffett.
To kickstart his plans, Tan said he would donate RM20 million this year to various charities and added: "I will also channel to the Better Malaysia Foundation to honour my country. Eventually, I would like to give away half of my wealth and I hope it will inspire more wealthy Malaysians to donate money to charity."
Renowned architect Hijjas Kasturi, 74, and Angela Hijjas, 61, have sponsored and hosted more than 100 artists, writers and performers since starting a residency programme in 1994 in their traditional Malay home in a tropical garden outside Kuala Lumpur.
The programme is partly funded by profits from a boutique hotel in George Town, Penang, that they converted from a cluster of prewar shophouses. The restoration helped revive a derelict area and serves as a studio for artists.
Koon Yew Yin, 78, co-founder of IJM Corp, donates roughly US$300,000 (RM900,000) a year to various causes.
He also funds scholarships for needy students and has given to 80 students at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman. He had said previously that he learned the value of education in escaping poverty while growing up in a family of 12.
The Malaysians are listed among other well-known Asians who include actors Jackie Chan from Hong Kong and Vivek Oberoi from India, as well as Japanese architect Tadao Ando. The list annually features philanthropists who have not been highlighted by Forbes Asia before.