‘Don’t worry if you don’t score’

Grocer speaks of overcoming hardship, transforming life with hard work

GEORGE TOWN: Alienated and looked down on by others for not doing well in his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), an entrepreneur recalled how he turned his life around by working extra hard in his career.

The 34-year-old, who only wished to be known as Ahmad, said he went through the school of hard knocks and learnt along the way.

“When I got my results in 2008, my teacher father was disappointed with me.

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“As the eldest son, I was supposed to do well and set a good example for my younger siblings,” he said.

After SPM, Ahmad picked up a gardener’s job.

He later moved on to become a hotel waiter, but deep in his heart, he wanted to venture into the business line.

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He started selling telephone SIM cards and organic fertiliser before opening a grocery store in Alor Setar a few years later.

“I failed many times but I didn’t give up. I worked day and night to achieve my goal,” he said.

The father of two, who now owns three grocery outlets, advised those who did not do well in their examinations not to be ashamed of themselves.

“If you did not get into university or were not offered the courses of your choice, you must not be disappointed because there are always other options in life.

“You may retake the exams or proceed to do what you are passionate about,” he added.

Sharul Nizam Sulaiman, 18, who scored 5As and 4Bs in the SPM, was disappointed when he failed to get a university placement.

“I wished to do statistics or history at Universiti Teknologi Mara and Universiti Sains Malaysia.

“But sadly, I did not get either one, although I scored As in both mathematics and history.

“I even failed to get my third option, which is mass communication,” he said, adding that he would appeal and hoped he would get an offer.

Otherwise, he may further his studies at a polytechnic or private college or continue with Form Six.

Malaysia Semiconductor Industry Association president Datuk Seri Wong Siew Hai has recommended that SPM holders further their studies in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programmes.

“There is a programme called the Academy In Industry, in which the participants – apart from studying in the classrooms, need to spend 15 months on skills training at participating factories.

“If they meet the necessary requirements after that, they will be offered a job as a manufacturing technician.

“Those who failed will be given training for another six months.

“Students get paid and are guaranteed jobs while employers can reduce their dependency on foreign workers. It’s a win-win situation,” he added.

Under the programme, students will receive the level-one Malaysian Skills Certificate.

Last month, Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli said 10 companies would be involved in the government’s pilot project.

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