Scholarship is a great form of financial aid and can change people’s lives by giving them the chance to pursue quality education locally or overseas.
With the Gamuda scholarship, 23-year-old Lewis Lee is now able to pursue a Civil Engineering degree without having to burden his family financially.
When he was eight, Johor-born Lee moved to a small town in Sabah following his parents’ separation, where his mother raised him and his two sisters singlehandedly by selling keropok, cosmetics and secondhand clothes.
Seeing how hard she worked to give the best to her children, Lee was determined to not let her down.
“Being the only son, I felt responsible for my mum and sisters, which is why I helped my mum with her business after school. I studied hard and did well in SPM,” he said, adding that he decided to take a Diploma in Civil Engineering since he loves Maths and Physics.
After that, he worked with a local construction company in Kota Kinabalu for two years, but realised that he would not be able to look after his family let alone start one with the meagre income he was earning.
He decided then to continue with a degree and is very happy to receive the scholarship.
“I have always wondered what it would be like to work with Gamuda after hearing about its project in Kota Kinabalu, the Bukit Bantayan Residences, during my internship,” he said.
With the opportunity to work with Gamuda upon graduation and given its track record and reputation, Lee is confident that he will one day find success as an engineer.
He is currently staying with his paternal grandmother back in Johor, working nine hours daily at a local dim sum restaurant to save some money until his course begins.
For Lalithaa Hari Kerishnan, the Gamuda scholarship is a big blessing as it helps to lift the financial burden off her family and bring her closer to becoming an interior architect.
Since she could not find a public university that offers Interior Architecture, she had to enrol in a private university.
“My father is retired so my mother is the sole breadwinner. I teach bharatanatyam (an Indian classical dance) and yoga to help support my family in a small way,” said the 23-year-old from Banting, Selangor.
With the scholarship, Lalithaa can finally study what she has always wanted to, without having to worry about her tuition fees.
“I used to visit a friend who lives in Kota Kemuning (Selangor) and I thoroughly enjoyed the ambience it provided. What I didn’t realise then was, Gamuda was the developer behind this sprawling township.
“By being an interior architect, I want to be able to influence the lifestyle and environment we live in, and leave a creative legacy behind. This is my golden opportunity to prove my talent,” she enthused.
Inna Famira Mohamad Fauzi Gan, 20, could not be happier with the scholarship. The Kedah-born young lass has grand plans when she joins Gamuda after graduating, thanks to the scholarship that will help ease her tertiary education expenses.
Currently in her second year in Civil Engineering, she wants to learn as much as possible so that she can contribute to the company. “I am particularly keen on the property development business and my hope is to put my design and technical skills to good use in Gamuda,” she said.
Since 13, Inna has been helping at her parents’ restaurants in Kulim and Bukit Mertajam. Shuttling between Kedah and Penang, she would take orders and clean tables while doubling as a cashier, and today still helps them during her semester break.
Pick of the crop
Lee, Lalithaa and Inna Famira were among 34 recipients of the Gamuda Scholarship Award 2018 who were shortlisted from over 1,800 applicants.
The Gamuda Scholarship, an initiative under Yayasan Gamuda, serves as a talent-building programme that sponsors deserving students to pursue their undergraduate studies.
Since 1996, more than 340 scholarships valued at RM40mil have been awarded to students. This year, RM3.1mil worth of scholarships were given out.
Apart from excellent academic results, a good command of English and leadership qualities, students will also be assessed on their critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as business acumen via business simulations, workshops and interviews.
This year, priority was given to students enrolling in local universities, as it is in line with the Gamuda’s nation-building initiative. Engineering-related programmes are still the main focus, but Gamuda has increased the coverage for non-engineering courses to further add value to the business.
Diversity and inclusivity are key aspects to Gamuda’s growth, and so the inclusion of scholars from Sabah and Sarawak plays an integral part in bringing progress and further development to these states.
The Gamuda Scholarship Award 2018 presentation ceremony was held at Menara Gamuda in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Gamuda Bhd chairman Datuk Mohammed Hussein, who presented the award to 34 scholars, said the Group viewed the scholarship as its way of building the country’s future talent pool towards nation building.
“Every time we embark on a project, we strive to ensure that it not only generates good financial returns for our shareholders, but will also contribute to the country’s growth and progress,” he said.
Mohammed said that the Group has gone through several economic downturns that required it to respond and to evolve.
“We have been able to survive those difficult periods and build a strong reputation for coming up with new business opportunities and innovative ways of providing engineering and construction solutions. This has been the key to our resilience as a company.
“Our country is now going through a similar period of change. We have to respond to these changes, so that we can not only survive but continue to prosper. We may have to take a step back sometimes, but evolve and adapt we must, so that we can continue to provide business and job opportunities for our fellow Malaysians.
“For this we need a ready pool of talent that have the skills, and more importantly, who can apply and adapt their skills to respond to changes and move up the value chain,” he said.
Mohammed said that to move up the value chain with innovative solutions required a change in the way things are usually done.
“This is where our young scholars come in with their ideas and new ways of doing things. They are the country’s and our future pool of talent and we see them as active contributors to Gamuda’s Talent Building, Nation Building proposition,” he added.