Designing future-forward solutions

(From left) Lew, EdSpace co-founder Andrew Yong, Sim and Syed Norulzaman launching the Young Nation Builders Challenge.

MAH Sing Foundation has launched its inaugural Young Nation Builders Challenge (YNBC) programme with the aim to cultivate the next generation of nation builders.

Through this programme, secondary school students will be guided to identify problems in public spaces affecting their communities and craft solutions using the Design Thinking framework and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) approach in a competition. 

Participants are required to innovate and reinvent spaces based on five design challenges – accessibility, natural disasters, cultural and heritage protection, environmental conservation and transportation connectivity.

Speaking at the launch event at Selangor Information Technology and E-commerce Council (Sitec) in Shah Alam, Mah Sing Foundation chairman Datuk Indera Syed Norulzaman Syed Kamarulzman said the YNBC programme was also the foundation’s flagship social innovation programme.

“We strongly believe that investment in a better tomorrow can be achieved when every child is provided with the opportunity to thrive and fulfil their potential.

“The YNBC programme is not just about fun learning but it is designed according to what the current market wants.

“Through this, we hope students will get a gist of what it is like when they join the workforce and also to get them exposed beyond their comfort zones.

“Additionally, knowledge-sharing among accompanying teachers will be able to improve their learning,” he said.

Durrani Umairah (right) with schoolmates (from left) Sofea Dayana Mohd Fairuz, Nur Adryana Khairul Anuar and Nur Fariza Athirah Rosli from SMK Seksyen 19 at the bootcamp.
Durrani Umairah (right) with schoolmates (from left) Sofea Dayana Mohd Fairuz, Nur Adryana Khairul Anuar and Nur Fariza Athirah Rosli from SMK Seksyen 19 at the bootcamp.

The YNBC programme is sponsored by Mah Sing Foundation and organised by EdSpace Projects Sdn Bhd. Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim officiated at the event.

The competition comprises four phases. The first phase, which took place early this year, was for students to form their teams and submit their ideas and applications.

The second phase is a bootcamp, which will be followed by developing prototypes to garner public votes in the third phase. The competition will culminate in a grand finale where the top three teams will vie for the championship title.

The launch event also marked the first day of the four-day bootcamp which was held at the same venue.

The bootcamp saw the participation of 50 students grouped into 10 teams. 

Led by Mah Sing’s chief design officer Kevin Lew, the students attended a series of workshops designed to equip them with

real-life skills to help them build their prototypes.

Durrani Umairah Zulkafi, 14, from SMK Seksyen 19 in Shah Alam, said her team hoped to innovate a special needs vehicle for the disabled community.

“For instance, blind people cannot drive. This gave us the idea of inventing transportation that can help them travel from one place to another.

“This is our first time participating in such a competition and we hope to help the community while gaining valuable experience,” she said.

Going towards environmental conservation is Lai Jian Seng and his team, who will be inventing a water collection system to harvest rainwater.

“At times, Selangor faces water crises and we could save water while recycling rainwater to improve the situation,” said the 16-year-old student from SMJK Yoke Kuan, Sekinchan.

Also taking up the environmental conservation theme is 16-year-old Tan Wei Hao and his team from SMJK Yoke Kuan.

“We are coming up with a waste segregation bin which will reward people in the form of food vouchers when they insert rubbish into it. 

“On top of that, we hope that this bin will encourage recycling among society,” said Tan.

After the bootcamp, the teams will return to their schools to execute and document their projects while they garner public votes using social media throughout April and May.

The top three teams voted by the public will then pitch their design to a panel of judges at the grand finale in June. More than RM12,000 cash prizes are to be won.

For updates and to vote, visit and

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