Hi, Leanne Ooi and Dr. Chuah, thank you for doing this interview. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your respective companies?
Leanne Ooi: Passionate about improving the lives of others; recognises education is the way out of poverty. A nature lover and wants to see a greener, brighter and sustainable future. Sees Rentwise as a catalyst for this. It is not profits alone. Rentwise’s sustainability will depend on how well we are able to help create a sustainable road map for the development and use of IT products.
Dr Chuah: Spritzer, since its inception in 1989 has always believed that the community deserves to have the highest, quality, healthy drinking water for their daily hydration needs because we care for their health and wellbeing. With this vision in mind, Spritzer invested in a huge landbank of 330 acres (266 football fields) of pristine surrounding natural tropical rainforest, far away from any pollution to protect the quality, safety of its aquifer (water source).
From the water source to the bottle, Spritzer water is untouched by human hands. Spritzer is probably the only private natural mineral water company in the world with such a vast landbank to ensure the consumers receive the top quality water they deserve.
Recently, Rentwise has embarked on another DLEP initiative in partnership with Spritzer. Share with us how this collaboration came to be and what both organisations have accomplished thus far?
Leanne Ooi: As the world forges towards Industrial Revolution 4.0, ICT education is pivotal and must begin from young hence well-functioning ICT equipment such as a Personal Computer (PC) is a critical enabler. Unfortunately, most Malaysian public schools’ ICT equipment are in pressing need to be furnished or replaced, and this fact is proven from the many requests we have received from public schools since our CSR initiatives began in 2009. No doubt this gap has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also led to the CSR collaboration with like-minded corporates such as Spritzer. This maiden partnership marks the beginning of a meaningful and high impact socio-eco journey together.
Dr Chuah: Spritzer is working very closely with Rentwise to ensure that many corporations may take the cue and also collaborate with Rentwise to see more students benefit from this very important scheme.
How can we help to reduce the digital divide present in Malaysia?
Leanne Ooi: Re-purpose technology. Adopt what Spritzer has done. They needed no convincing. As soon as they realised what could be achieved they gave us their full support and even decided to allow us to use the funds we could obtain through monetizing their PCs to provide more PCs back to the school they want to support. This is mind-set we need to build and have in corporate Malaysia.
The public and private sector need to come together and with this collaboration, a lot of the digital divide challenges (lack of devices) can be mitigated.
Dr Chuah: I hope that everybody who read this, can also be a important conduit to pass the word around and get yourself engage in networking with your colleagues or friends or companies to let them know that their old laptops can be put to good use without polluting the environment as e-waste which is becoming a major problem today.
Tell us more about the Digital Learning Empowerment Programme (DLEP). What does the organisation do and what DLEP seeks to accomplish?
Leanne Ooi: Please see the below slides:
What is digital divide, causes and types of digital divide and how is it impacting the education sector?
Leanne Ooi: Please see the below slides:
With COVID-19 and the recent MCO, how does Rentwise plan to ramp up its efforts to ensure students do not get left behind amid the pandemic?
Leanne Ooi: we are calling on our corporate clients and educating them on the need and benefits to repurposing their technology. The great part is they are rewarded for it too as we monetise their retired machines. With more corporations coming on board on the DLEP, many, many more students/schools will benefit.
What do you think our government can do better to help bridge the digital divide?
Leanne Ooi: think out of the box; look at what other countries have done and be open to listen to different solutions and most importantly look at sustainable solutions – not quick fixes.
What inspired Spritzer to take on this initiative with Rentwise?
Dr Chuah: Rentwise’s values in helping the marginalised and less fortunate through leveraging on their technology very much aligned with Spritzer aspirations. We want to play our part in bringing solutions and breakthroughs to the children’s education.
What are Spritzer’s plans in the next 5 years in terms of CSR efforts?
Dr Chuah: To keep enhancing environmental-friendly corporate policies like reducing the usage of papers, replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs and etc. Meanwhile also will collaborate with NGOs and academics to conduct a professional series of conservation education programmes for students/employees/local communities and it aims to connect people to habitat protection through conservation and education project or innovation on recycling ideas (or green idea on a redesign, remanufactured or other items – recyclate can become clothes, building materials, etc.)
We will continue the environmental clean-up programme and even to organize more “clean-up” trips and educate the public/local community on the benefits of recycling and increase the awareness of change behaviour to ensure we are making the world a better place to live in.
Tree-planting programmes also will continue to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Art & Craft Class for the underprivileged people/disabled person – Under this program, they could gradually learn a trade of their own and create an income. It is not uncommon to see talented people with disabilities flourishing with their creativity and art skills. The public would also appreciate these artworks more, knowing that they are supporting a company’s benevolent cause, which helps to drive up the company’s recognition and public image as well.
What are other ways in which Spritzer is looking to positively impact the education sector in Malaysia?
Dr Chuah: Spritzer’s chairman, Dato’ Lim Kok Cheong is very passionate about assisting the private independent schools to excel. He has been spearheading in raising funds yearly to help these schools improve their facilities, and recruiting talented teachers and coaches.
We want to thank you again, Leanne Ooi and Dr. Chuah, for doing this interview. For our readers who might be interested to learn more about the initiative, where can they contact you?
Leanne Ooi: Write to us/call us – all contact details are on our website – www.rentwise.com.