PETALING JAYA - A farmer's son from a small village in Sitiawan, businessman Tan Sri Barry Goh has come a long way since he took his first step into Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) College in 1987.
Apart from the affordable tuition fees, which allowed him to equip himself with an Advanced Diploma in Electronic Engineering, Goh also met his wife in college.
"My parents were farmers who made a minimal profit from selling chilli, tapioca and yam to middlemen.
"I was frustrated and felt they could earn more if they sold the produce directly to buyers," said Goh, adding that it sparked his interest in business and at the age of 13, he began selling the produce at farmers markets.
The affordable fees offered by TAR College, he said, was a great help as his parents could not afford the steep tuition fees of private colleges.
At college, Goh shared his parents' financial burden by giving tuition to school students in the area.
Upon graduating, Goh worked for four years before resigning to start his own business.
"I started working from home, making a profit from selling electronic components," he said.
Today, Goh runs his own design and property development company, MCT Group.
"TAR College provides quality affordable education. It has helped upgrade the lives of many others from poor families and they have become professionals today," he said during an interview recently.
More than 160,000 students have graduated from the college over the last four decades.
TAR College, which opened its doors to its first 320 students for its pre-university studies course in February 1969, now has an enrolment of 24,000 students.
It offers more than 130 programmes, including finance and accounting, business and management, engineering and built environment, mass communications and creative arts and counselling and psychology.
Besides the main campus in Kuala Lumpur, which recently underwent an expansion to include a cyber centre and a new administrative building, the college also has branches in Penang, Perak, Johor, Pahang and Sabah.
Goh's relationship with the college did not end after the three-year course, as he is currently president of the TARCian Alumni Association.
The best part about the syllabus at TAR College, he said, was the "practical and applicable knowledge" that students gained.