KUALA LUMPUR: 1Malaysia Development Bhd has awarded grants totalling RM750,000 to poor Indian students for their studies in local universities.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak presented RM15,000 each to 50 students who excelled in SPM and STPM.
“Poverty is no hindrance if the mind and spirit are strong enough to achieve success,” said Najib, who is the chairman of the 1MDB board of advisers, after presenting the grants in conjunction with the Sri Murugan Centre (SMC) event at SMK Vivekananda, Brickfields yesterday.
The SMC, a non-government organisation that provides tutorial and guidance to children from poor households over the last 28 years, handpicked the most deserving students from 423 applications.
At the event, the SMC also honoured single father Ganeshalingam.
Ganeshalingam, 58, is a father of four high achievers. His oldest daughter is now a doctor.
Najib lauded Ganeshalingam’s commitment to ensure his daughters succeed in school.
“Poverty of spirit and mind is the worst kind of poverty,” he said.
Najib also praised SMC director Datuk Dr M. Thambirajah for helping guide Indian students from poor households until they graduate.
“SMC is a shining example of a volunteer body that has provided sterling service to the Indian community,” he said.
Najib said he would work with SMC for the benefit of the Indians.
He also called on children from poor households not to fear what their future might be.
“Wherever you are, wherever you come from, you are not alone. We (the Government) are here for you,” he said.
Najib also called on all Malaysians to work together to build a new Malaysia.
“This is our home. This is the country we live for, a country that we will all die for.
“Together we must work to make this country stronger and more prosperous,” he said.
To tap Malaysia’s potential to the maximum, he said equitable opportunity must be given to the best talent from every community especially those from poor families.
He also said that he was touched by a Tamil song called Acam Acam Ilai (I Have No Fear) which was performed at the event.
“The lyrics say that ‘I have no fear, no trace of hidden grudges, our time has come, times have changed, hope has arrived for a better future,” he said.
Najib said the song was meaningful as it emphasised the need to shed the culture of fear to brave the challenges of the future.
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