B40 student finds hope through Sulung programme


KOTA KINABALU: It was a dream come true for Nursyazliana Bulkia when she was offered a place at Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

The 19-year-old graduated from Labuan Matriculation College in accounting with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.92, but almost had to give up her dream to continue her studies due to financial constraints.

Nursyazliana found new hope through the Higher Education Ministry's Siswa Sulung Keluarga Malaysia (Sulung) programme.

She was among 10 students from low-income families offered places at UMS. She will pursue a Bachelors of Accounting with Honours degree in for four years.

"I'm so happy with the offer. To be honest, I almost give up on further studies due to financial problems. I didn't want to trouble my family, but Alhamdulillah, I received an offer from UMS.

"The offer letter was personally delivered by UMS vice chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Kasim Mansor and other officials at my home in Putatan.

"Kasim also presented cash assistance of RM1,000 and a basket of food to facilitate initial arrangements for studying at UMS.

"I accepted the offer because I didn't want to miss the opportunity to continue my studies. It is my dream to get a degree and become an accountant," she told the New Straits Times when met after the student pledge ceremony at the UMS Chancellor Hall here today.

Nursyazliana, whose parents are factory workers, believed that knowledge and education could change the fate of those in the B40 category, especially in improving their socio-economic level.

"I want my parents and my siblings to be proud of me. They are my motivation. I want to become a successful student. I hope to achieve Dean's List Award every semester.

"It is no easy task to excel academically but this is my commitment. I don't need to worry about money while studying. All I need to do is to focus on my studies and change the fate of my family," said the fourth of five siblings.

The Sulung programme was the brainchild of caretaker Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad to help the first person in a family from the B40 group attend university.

The programme will enable outstanding B40 students the opportunity to further their studies despite facing financial constraints as well as provide motivation for family members and the local community.

Selected students not only get a special entry route to public universities but are also offered scholarships, monthly allowances, hostels and mentoring until they get a job.

The programme involves eight public universities including UMS and each university will take about 10 students in the first year of this programme's implementation.

A total of 76 students from the B40 group in the country have been selected to pursue their studies at public universities through the programme.



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