Dato' Victor Yeoh Seok Kian, the Managing Director of YTL Corporation Berhad and an alumnus of Heriot-Watt University, presented 53 deserving Heriot-Watt University Malaysia students with the Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay Global Scholarship awards, which was launched earlier this year, at the university's campus recently.
Dato' Yeoh was joined by his wife, Datin Lim Lee Lee, and daughter, Yeoh Pei Teeng, at the event. Also in attendance were YTL Foundation staff members, the principals of Hin Hua High School, Klang, and Methodist College Kuala Lumpur, as well as the proud parents of the scholarship recipients.
The £1 million (RM5.5 million) was gifted by Dato' Yeoh earlier this year in honour of his father, the late Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dato' Seri Yeoh Tiong Lay (18th December 1929 – 18th October 2017), a renowned Malaysian businessman and noble philanthropist. Tan Sri Dato' Seri Yeoh completed his high school education at Hin Hua High School in Klang. Although he was not able to pursue higher education, he worked tirelessly, with determined focus and unwavering perseverance, to form the YTL Corporation in 1955. In recognition of his hard work and achievements, Tan Sri Dato' Seri Yeoh received many accolades and titles including an honorary doctorate in Engineering from Heriot-Watt University in 1988.
“Education is one of my greatest passions. Education moulds minds, inspires achievements and, ultimately, builds nations. This was instilled in me by my late father, who emphatically believed in the value of education and worked diligently to ensure that his children and grandchildren would have this opportunity. Growing up with a role model who was a fervent philanthropist and regularly committed to and supported education programmes, I myself, wanted to honour this tradition and help widen access for Malaysian students. The Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay Global Scholarship was thus launched in tribute to my father's extraordinary life and success, and honours his belief in the importance of education and how it transforms lives,” declared Dato' Yeoh, who was conferred an honorary doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 2017 for his immense contributions in the field of construction and his staunch support of educational development.
The scholarship will provide Malaysian students with wider access to quality higher education by contributing to the cost of tuition fees for their undergraduate studies at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, subsequently creating opportunities for them to make a positive impact in the world. Fifteen students will also be selected to spend a year at the Heriot-Watt Edinburgh campus.
The scholarship recipients expressed their gratitude at being able to pursue their dreams. “Getting the scholarship means that I am able to obtain an education that will help me move up in life,” commented Kishen Manirajan, an Actuarial Science student.
His course mate and fellow scholarship recipient, Ph'ng Jia Xin concurred. “The scholarship means a lot to me and my family; it really helps my family by reducing our financial burden,” she added.
Her father, Ph'ng Chee Keong, added, “I used to work in China, and my daughter lived there with me as well, and she studied there for 13 years. After returning to Malaysia, the challenge I faced was that her English was average, and her Malay was poor. Therefore I had to think of her future. I am relieved, excited and proud that she was able to receive this scholarship.”
R. Ragunathan, the proud father of Tetisya Ragunathan who received a scholarship to pursue Psychology, echoed Mr. Ph'ng's sentiments. “I am very happy that YTL and Heriot-Watt gave us this scholarship – very grateful to both organisations. It solved most of our problems and made her education affordable.”
Sharifah Bakar, the proud parent of Muhammad Zaki, another scholarship recipient, echoed the wish for a brighter future for her son. “I hope that Muhammad Zaki will pass with flying colours and achieve the goals that he has always dreamt of,” she said.
The donation extends to another 21 more scholarships to be awarded to those who sign up for Heriot-Watt University Malaysia's January 2020 intake. Working together, Heriot-Watt University and the YTL Foundation aim to impact lives by empowering students to be catalysts of change.