Retired businessman makes second $500,000 donation in two years to ST School Pocket Money Fund

Retired businessman Mr Loh Kiong Poot (left) giving the mock cheque to Mr Warren Fernandez,  chairman of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund at The Straits Times newsroom on May 17, 2019.
Retired businessman Mr Loh Kiong Poot (left) giving the mock cheque to Mr Warren Fernandez, chairman of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund at The Straits Times newsroom on May 17, 2019.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - Mr Loh Kiong Poot, who decided to give back to help those in need after he retired, donated another $500,000 to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) on Friday (May 17).

The 75-year-old retired businessman made his first donation, also of $500,000, to the fund in August last year.

He now hopes to make this a yearly affair, he told The Straits Times.

Mr Loh presented a cheque for $500,000 to Mr Warren Fernandez, the fund's chairman, at the SPH News Centre.

"We are very grateful to him for being so generous. He's amazing; so down-to-earth, and willing to share what he has with others.

"It's also great that he recognises what the fund is doing to help young children, and it encourages the team to keep doing the work that they do to benefit the kids," said Mr Fernandez, editor-in-chief of the Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media Group and editor of The Straits Times.

Mr Loh has also donated to charities and orphanages in Thailand and Vietnam. He has also willed a large portion of his assets to medical institutions such as Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution and Singapore Thong Chai Medical Institution.

He remembers how he himself had to struggle to make ends meet when he was young.

 
 

He told The Straits Times that his parents divorced when he was a boy. When he was 14, he quit school and ran away from home.

He took on odd jobs to support himself until he joined the police force at 19.

Later, after he got married and had three young children growing up in a small two-room flat, he decided to go into business to give them a better life. His business did well and he was able to retire about 30 years ago.

Said Mr Loh: "Now I have the money, and it is time to give back. I myself don't spend very much, and I live very simply."

Since 1991, he has been giving to charities and supporting the less fortunate.

STSPMF started in 2000, providing pocket money to children from low-income families whose per capita gross monthly household income does not exceed $625.

Since then, the fund has helped more than 170,000 cases of children and youths in need and disbursed a total of $68 million.

Funds raised go towards school pocket money disbursements and support of the social and educational development of these beneficiaries.