GEORGE TOWN - A blind student came out tops in his Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) diploma in Business Studies class and wants to pursue his studies in Australia.
Razlan Ibrahim Mukhtar, 21, has until July 13 to come up with RM262,000 (S$93530) so that he can enrol for a two-year degree programme in Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship at University of South Australia.
But the son of a contract worker can ill-afford the fees and expenses needed for him to pursue his studies Down Under.
Razlan, who is a well-rounded student and is highly determined, wants to be the second person from St Nicholas Home Penang in the last 50 years to further his tertiary education in Australia.
"University of South Australia has offered me a place and I would very much like to go.
"I will set up my own business when I return with my degree and I will help empower the visually impaired community and provide employment for many," he told a press conference organised by the home here to plead for financial aid.
"I am in need of the funds as my father is a contractual worker installing air-con piping who earns about RM2,000 a month while my mother is a housewife from Sabah," he said.
St Nicholas Home executive director Daniel Soon said RM250,000 of the funds would cover Razlan's tuition fees, flights, and living expenses.
"He will also need a refreshable braille display machine which costs about RM12,000," he said.
"We have helped him apply for scholarships from Astro, Maxis, Maybank and Great Eastern but have received no reply yet except from Maxis which has called him for an interview," Soon said.
Razlan, the eldest of four boys lost his eyesight at the age of 10, but had persevered academically scoring a CGPA of 3.86 in his diploma in Business Studies recently.
His visual handicap also did not stop him from being active and excelling in extra-curricular activities.
He represented Perlis in 2012 and Perak in 2015 in the 'Goal Ball' national-level competitions for Paralympics and had participated in elocution and debating events, as well as in poetry composition and recitation contests.
During his secondary school years in SMPK Setapak, the second largest secondary school for the blind in the country, he was the president of the Language Club, the school library's assistant head prefect, peer counselling programme secretary, and Scouts treasurer.
Soon said if Razlan could not start his course in July, he would try again for the February intake.
Razlan's plight has also grabbed Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey's attention.
"It is very rare to see a visually impaired individual perform so well. Razlan has the determination to strive for his goals.
"I urge members of the public to help in this worthy cause," she said.
Those who wish to contribute to the Razlan Study Fund can bank-in the money to Hong Leong Bank account no: 37000002252 and e-mail the payment advice with the note Razlan Study Fund to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a cheque to St Nicholas' Home, Penang (write Razlan Study Fund behind cheque).
For details, call Khoo at 04-2290800.