Conversations with Dato’ Freida Pilus




When motivationMY started on Twitter over a year ago, Dato’ Freida Pilus would be one of the few to answer our Question of the Day, sharing her thoughts especially if the question was related to the education system.

She even recommended it to our blog’s columnist Sheryl Ho Su Lynn, who nominated Dato’ Freida as part of our year-end Most Inspiring Malaysian campaign.

“She has come so many boundaries to get to where she is now. Honestly, I feel like she’s the Steve Jobs of Malaysia’s education system,” Sheryl wrote on our blog.

You could say, she runs an empire, which does not need much introduction. Dato’ Freida is the founder and mentor of the Cempaka group of schools: Cempaka Cheras, Cempaka Damansara Heights, Cempaka International School (Cheras), Cempaka Ladies International Ladies College, A-Levels at Cempaka International School and Labuan International School.

In this interview, Dato’ Freida reveals the humble beginnings of her school, which she started with her husband almost 30 years ago. She had to multitask and even had to clean the school and drive the schoolchildren to/from school. Now she tells her staff, “Don’t tell me you can’t do it because I did everything back then.”

Today, she has been credited to be a pioneer in Malaysia’s private education but she said getting a loan to start her school three decades ago was difficult because “Private Education” was not part of the option in the form.

Dato’ Freida has proven that “Nothing is Impossible” in line with the school’s philosophy.