Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam summed it up succinctly, “It wasn’tpurely a business venture. You have to understand Tan SriJerey Cheah’s passion or education. He got to where he istoday rom the education he received early on in lie. And hewants to give others the opportunity to do same.”Sunway opened its doors in 1987 at a time when Malaysia wasdragging itsel out o a bad recession. The struggling collegeset a target or an intake o 500 students, but only 200 studentsenrolled initially in a small premise at Petaling Jaya State.Sunway College started during a recession when the economywas barely in recovery and it was in the red. “We lost moneyor many years. I knew that i I didn’t support it, it would be abig blow to our credibility. There was no way we could close itdown as we could not play around with people’s education,”remarked Tan Sri Jerey o those old days.The repercussions or emphasizing quality in education wereimmense. Even beore the institution was opened, talks hadcommenced with universities in Australia, the US as wellas the United Kingdom. The ViceChancellor o Curtin University, Pro Vice Chancellor o Leicester Universityas well as the Deputy President oWestern Michigan University came toMalaysia to discuss the possibility otwinning programmes. At rst the oreign universities couldn’t see how twinning couldwork, but nally they were convinced. They checked Sunway’scredibility and the rst twinning programmes were started in1987. The pioneering twinning courses at Sunway paved theway or other private institutions o higher education to starttheir own twinning programmes. As Datuk Razman said “Being rst is good, but it is the qualityo education that Sunway University College provides thatmatters.”In the early days, the main obstacle was educating the publicon benets o enrolling in a twinning programme. Parents wereconcerned that their children would not get the same degreeand they were concerned that it would not be recognised. “The Vice Chancellor o Monash inormed parents o this and TunHussein Onn, Malaysia’s third Prime Minister who was thenChairman o the Board, came out in the press conerence toreinorce this point,” commented Tan Sri Jerey.The next step was getting the programmes accepted by thegeneral public, especially the students.“We talked to the press and inormed them that the studentswill get exactly the same degree as i they had studied ull timein the parent university” said Tan Sri. The painstaking work osetting the ground work paid o and Sunway soon saw morestudents enrolling until it outgrew its premises and moved to itspresent site in Bandar Sunway.The 22 acre campus in the township o Bandar Sunway oeredthe best in academic, sporting and accommodation acilitiescosting RM120 million was opened in 1993 by Malaysia’sormer Prime Minister, YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad.The quality that Tan Sri Jerey Cheah had developed andthe commitment he demonstrated soon led to in 1996, toSunway University College showing a prot. At this juncture,
A Triumph inthe Cause for Education
In the 20th anniversary o Sunway University College, it is air to say thatthe existence and phenomenal growth o this institution can be attributedto one person, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri (Dr) Jerey Cheah. Tan Sri, as he isondly reerred to, was a property man who started out with a tin miningcompany. As a person who was given the chance to attend university,Tan Sri valued education. During his oray into education, some peopleat that time unairly speculated that it must be because he oresaw thebusiness potential o tertiary education, but he proved them wrong.
“Sunway has a strongacademic teamand its partnershipwith Lancaster isprogressing well”
Tan Sri Dato’ Seri (Dr.)Jerey Cheah
04 // BLAZE MAgAZINE 20Th ANNIvERSARY cOMMEMORATIvE ISSuE