KUALA TERENGGANU: For grasscutter Kamarul Zaman Mohd Saud, a two-hour journey from his home in Kerteh to Kuala Terengganu is a “luxury trip” which his family can only afford to do so once or twice a year.
But the father-of-six, who earns just RM1,000 a month, made a special trip to the state capital on Sunday as his sons Mohd Amirul Iskandar, 13, and Mohd Haiqal Azreen, 11, were recipients of the ExxonMobil student excellence awards.
“It is very hard for me to leave work as my income depends on each job that I take. I would only travel to Kuala Terengganu once or twice a year for important tasks.
“But this is a proud moment for me as a father as both of my sons are rewarded for doing well in school,” said the 42-year-old, who is from Kampung Darat Kolam in Kerteh, after the awards ceremony.
With him was his beaming wife Wan Zalia Wan Mohamed, 35, who held their youngest child Nur Amisha Humaira, two.
“I have always stressed to my children the importance of education. I do not have a good education myself and now I have a low-paying job.
“I always tell my children they must study hard so they can have a better future and avoid living in hardship like how we do now.”
He imposes a strict study routine for his children although he allows them to play and take up sports – provided they have completed their homework.
Besides Mohd Amirul, Kamarul Zaman’s 14-year-old daughter also scored straight A’s in their UPSR examinations.
Mohd Haiqal, now a Year Five student in SK Seri Gelugor, is also excelling in his studies.
“I want to become a pilot when I grow up. Hopefully, I can help my family live more comfortably,” said Mohd Haiqal, who is a school prefect.
The two were among 264 students from Terengganu who received the awards.
Mohd Amirul and Mohd Haiqal received RM700 and RM600, res-pectively, from ExxonMobil, which has been sponsoring the scholastic awards programme in the state since 1981 through its education fund.
ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Malaysia Inc vice-president and business services director Fatimah Merican said the company contributed RM184,800 to recipients of the awards this year.
Recipients are primary and secondary students from low-income families.
They were selected based on their academic performance and participation in extracurricular activities.