KUALA TERENGGANU: There was a mix of excitement, pride and gratitude as Datuk Raiha Azni Abd Rahman spoke of how lucky she was to have been sponsored by Petronas to study in the United States over 30 years ago.
“It was always hard to get a Petronas scholarship! There were not many ladies (applying) back then, and not many were from Terengganu either,” she recalled.
It was deja vu for Raiha, now the company’s senior vice-president (group human resource management), when 54 SPM school-leavers from Terengganu were awarded scholarships under the Petronas Education Sponsorship Programme (PESP) on Sunday.
They were among 353 selected from a total of over 7,000 applicants nationwide.
A total of RM134mil was allocated for the sponsorship programme.
Petronas chairman Tan Sri Sidek Hassan, who was present at the event held at Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas at Batu Rakit here, said the sponsorship was proof of the company’s continued commitment to the field of education.
“Since 1975, Petronas has helped realise the dreams of more than 36,000 students who were sponsored to further their studies at Universiti Teknologi Petronas and other prestigious universities abroad,” he said.
Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman, who presented the awards, thanked Petronas for its consistent corporate social responsibility contributions.
He said education in the state had flourished due to the company’s commitment and involvement.
Ahmad Razif also thanked Petronas for adopting five trust schools in the Marang district at a cost of RM20mil over five years.
SMK Wakaf Tapai, SMK Pengkalan Berangan, SK Wakaf Tapai, SK Pengkalan Berangan and SK Jurong are additions to the company’s existing five trust schools in Kijal.
The trust school programme by Petronas is a tie-up between Yayasan Amir and the Education Ministry.
Raiha said despite many top students in the country coming from Terengganu, there was still a gap in English Language proficiency, adding that this prompted Petronas to take part in the Transforming English in Terengganu (Trenglish) programme two years ago.
As an added boost, Petronas sponsored RM150,000 worth of The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) pullout for the Trenglish programme.
Star Media Group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai received the mock cheque at the event.
Raiha said the programme with Star-NiE was progressing.
“Give it a year or two, we will see changes in students’ ability to speak in English,” she added.