SOON Shang Yeh, 18, was stunned when he received an e-mail informing him he had won a government scholarship via 1Malaysia Develop-ment Bhd (1MDB).
“I dismissed it as junk mail because I did not apply for any scholarship or loan from the Government,” he said.
He only believed the good news after Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong’s secretary called his parents to inform them a few days later.
It is a double joy for the Soon family as Shang Yeh’s twin brother, Shang Jyi, also received the same scholarship.
Both graduated from Malacca’s Pay Fong High School and were among the 50 Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) top scorers from 60 Chinese independent schools. The UEC is equivalent to STPM.
Each recipient got RM15,000 a year, for three consecutive years and the award comes without any bond.
The twins will be studying at Singapore Nanyang University, Singapore. Shang Yeh is taking up finance while Shang Jyi studies economics and mathematics.
1MDB chairman Tan Sri Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin said: “Today’s special occasion is dedicated to the hard work and determination of the students whom we are here to honour. As parents, you should be proud of them.”
He described the awards as a small contribution from the company and he hoped it would increase educational opportunities for students who excelled in their UEC.
Che Lodin said improving the country’s education system was more than just providing financial and infrastructure support.
“It is about the development of our human resources.
“It is also about creating opportunities to enable our students to thrive and excel in an increasingly competitive and global economy,” he said.
The selection of the recipients, based on merit, was done by 1MDB in partnership with Dong Zong (United Chinese School Committees’ Association), Jiao Zong (United Chi-nese School Teachers Association) and MCA’s Huaren Education Foundation.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, who presented the awards, advised the recipients to study hard and return home to serve the nation.
Dr Wee, also the MCA Youth chief, said the party would continue to strive for better and more educational opportunities and financial aid for students.
Both associations have been conducting the UEC examination since 1975 and this is the first time UEC top scorers received a scholarship from the Government.
Lam Xin Yee, 19, who graduated from Foon Yew High School in Johor, said she was very happy and proud to be chosen for the award.
“It is a recognition from the Government of our achievement, something that has not happened before,” she said.
Fan Sow Mei, 50, said she was proud of her son Tan Wei Kai for being one of the recipients and thankful to the Government for the award.
Wei Kai, also a Foon Yew High School graduate, is studying architecture at University of Liverpool, UK.
A 50-year-old housewife, Yong Yoke May described the award as a very good gesture from the Government.
Her son Cheng Shao Chuang, a graduate from Chong Hwa Independent School, Kuala Lumpur, is studying electronic engineering at the National University of Singapore.