Malaysian MP pays it forward by footing student's varsity fee

Malaysian MP pays it forward by footing student's varsity fee
Ray of hope: Shannen Lovenia Kamal Abdullah receiving the cash aid from Kota Melaka MP, Khoo Poay Tiong, after a Ramadan gathering at Shah Beach Resort in Melaka.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

SPM high-achiever Shannen Lovenia Kamal Abdullah, who found it hard to pay for her enrolment fee into a local university, got a helping hand from a man who went through the same thing three decades earlier.

The 17-year-old got an offer to pursue a foundation programme at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), but her fisherman father was unable to raise RM655 (S$215) to pay the entrance fee.

Her plight was highlighted to Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong, who came to her aid after hearing Shannen's plight.

Khoo said his father couldn't afford to pay for his entrance fee when he got an offer to pursue tertiary education in the late 1980s.

“I came from poor family background, and if not for a Good Samaritan then, I might have ended up working without doing my tertiary education.

"I know how Shannen felt, because I went through the same thing upon completing my secondary education," he said.

Khoo handed over RM1,000 to the student and promised to look into her education needs, until she completed her studies.

Shannen, who scored 10 A's in her 2018 SPM examination, said she was happy to be able to pursue her studies.

"I am happy with the help provided to me, and I thank everyone who came forward to help me, including the Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie)," she said.

Khoo treated the student from the Portuguese Settlement here to a sumptuous "buka puasa" (opening fast) meal at Shah Beach Resort in Tanjung Kling here on Tuesday (May 14) night.

Shah Beach Resort's general manager Dennis Stanford, who arranged a special Ramadan buffet for Shannen and six of her family members, said he pushed forward a booking by a corporate company to host them.

"We didn't mind moving the date of the earlier booking to Friday (May 17), as long as this precious charity event was held in time to enable Shannen to enrol for her studies," said Stanford.

Save the Portuguese Community (SPCAC) action committee chairman Martin Theseira was also present during the "buka puasa" event.

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