Sabah businessman bestowed MyHero award, earns ‘adoptive father’ moniker for efforts in aid of Lahad Datu hospital

LAHAD DATU: Every two years, the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry recognises heroes and heroines from various backgrounds who are dedicated to serving others.

This year, the MyHero Award 4.0 honoured the efforts of Tan Cheng Teng, 66, from Sabah, who has been supporting the Lahad Datu Hospital for years by raising funds to enhance its medical equipment and facilities.

The only specialist hospital in the district, located in the Tawau division, it features 268 beds and comprises 12 multidisciplinary units staffed by specialists and more than 100 medical officers.

Tan’s efforts have significantly impacted the community’s access to quality healthcare at the hospital.

His commitment to philanthropy alongside his business endeavours earned him the endearing moniker of the hospital’s “adoptive father”, a fond reference given by its medical officers, staff and patients.

“It has always been important to me to balance my business responsibilities with good deeds. I have always believed in giving back to the community, especially by supporting government hospitals.

“This is not just a duty for me, but something that I am deeply passionate about, as I understand the importance of investing in the well-being of our community.”

Tan said donating to the hospital is also a way for him to use his resources to make a positive impact on the lives of others and create a legacy of compassion and generosity.

While acknowledging the government’s responsibility to equip public healthcare institutions, Tan said there is only so much it could do, so businesses must assist, particularly in supporting medical facilities for rural communities.

“I believe businesses should give back to the communities that support them. We can save many lives by donating to hospitals that are located in rural areas.

“The first thing that came to my mind was what if I led the way instead of waiting for someone else to address the matter? That is how I started to help the hospital.”

Tan said every individual’s life is valuable and no one should suffer from a lack of medical resources, adding that he feels a personal responsibility to contribute to bridging the gap. But his advocacy does not just stop there and extends beyond fundraising.

He actively engages with local organisations and individuals and urges them to contribute by purchasing medical equipment such as dialysis machines, wheelchairs and water filters, or providing financial assistance.

During the pandemic, Tan mobilised resources to support frontline workers, quarantine centres and underprivileged families.

Beyond his charitable work, Tan embodies inclusivity and compassion regardless of social status, race, faith or background and extends help to all who are in need.

He has become a beacon of hope for many, ensuring that individuals with disabilities are cared for, needy families receive essential support and those facing adversity find relief in his generosity.

Tan’s altruism has strengthened social cohesion and fostered racial harmony within the community, particularly among youths.

Through his actions, he has epitomised the spirit of voluntarism and teamwork, embodying the essence of the Malaysian identity that is rooted in unity and cooperation.

“By volunteering and donating to noble causes, especially hospitals, we can have well-maintained healthcare institutions that are properly equipped for public access.”