Melaka Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tan Sri Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam conferring the award on Datuk Wira Vinod Sekhar. - Courtesy picture

OUTSPOKEN visionary, community development advocate and ardent supporter of the National Press Club, Datuk Wira Dr Vinod Sekhar has been bestowed another feather to his cap.
He was recently conferred the Darjah Cemerlang Seri Melaka, which carries the title ‘Datuk Wira’ by Melaka Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tan Sri Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam.
Datuk Wira Vinod is the chairman and chief executive of the Petra Group, a diversified conglomerate dealing not only in green sustainable technologies, infrastructure & development and media, but various other endeavours too, including the Vinod Sekhar Foundation.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating effects, the foundation has been providing assistance in many forms. In collaboration with various NGOs and volunteers, it has reached out to marginalised communities delivering food and provisions.
The foundation has also supplied a range of personal protective equipment to local hospitals and other frontline workers.
Datuk Wira Vinod has also embarked on developing a programme to provide economic assistance to small-and-medium enterprises and petty traders to help them during this dire economic climate.
He believes this effort to “keep SMEs alive” through this period has a much bigger and far-reaching effect on the nation’s economy, as SMEs make up the backbone of the Malaysian economy.
The best way to ensure a healthy economy is to limit the number of SMEs closing down.
The foundation has earmarked RM15 million for this initiative dubbed the Sekhar Economic Initiative.
Datuk Wira Vinod is a great advocate for what he calls “Social Capitalism,” where business interests and societal concerns work hand in hand.
He believes that all businessmen must involve themselves in their own society’s positive development.
He has played a pivotal role for the development of various communities in Malaysia as well as abroad. He received the Keys to the City of Armenia in Colombia for his help after the devastating landslides that killed thousands.
He also made a significant contribution to the NPC’s Journalist Welfare Fund, which made it possible for the Club to extend assistance to a good number of journalists in need, including those laid off employment.
Besides the recently conferred honorary award, the entrepreneur is the Southeast Asia Chairman for the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council. He is also the Honorary Consul General to Malaysia, Singapore & Thailand for St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Last year, he was honoured by being invited to be a Trustee of the Windsor Benefit Trust – the first non UK citizen or resident to be invited.
Through PETRA Diversified Systems & Technologies Sdn. Bhd., one of the PETRA Group subsidiaries, he is donating a mobile hospital worth around RM6million to the Ministry of Health. This is to help government doctors to have a better reach in rural areas where people find it a challenge to get to medical facilities.

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