From left: Muhammad Fikri Izzat Mahmud, Herrent Elven Suching, Nursyura Nafisa Merikan, Esther Saka showing their PESP award certificates. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: The opportunity to land a scholarship especially from Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) is not easy to come by.

Herrent Elven Suching is among the 149 deserving Sarawakian students who received Petronas scholarships presented by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg during the 2019 Petronas Education Sponsorship and Human Capital Development ceremony at Hilton Hotel here, on Friday.

The 17-year-old from Mukah was awarded Petronas Education Sponsorship Programme (PESP) to pursue undergraduate studies in Electrical and Electronic programme at Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) in Bandar Seri Iskandar, Perak.

Herrent, who is of Melanau and Iban descent, is the youngest of six siblings. He has always wanted to be an engineer and to contribute to the country’s development.

“My parents earn their income by farming. Although two of my brothers are currently working, the rest of my siblings are still studying. Thus, I understand that if I am going to pursue my studies, it will only increase my parents’ burden.

“Coming from a poor family, this sponsorship means a lot to me. I am grateful to be given this opportunity and it will definitely ease my parents’ burden and worries about the cost of my education,” he said.

Muhammad Fikri Izzat Mahmud from Bintulu was also awarded the same sponsorship to study Electrical and Electronic at UTP. To this, he expressed his gratitude to Petronas and his parents.

“Both of my parents are teachers and I am the youngest of four siblings. Because of my parents’ background and being under their strict care, I have been trained to focus on my education since young.

“As I grow up, I finally understood that their strict supervision is for my own benefit as they protect me from negative surroundings. I don’t always get the permission to go hang out with my friends but this doesn’t mean I cannot develop social skills at learning institutions,” he said.

Fikri also mentioned that coming from an industrial city, it was common for him to see the operators wearing yellow shirts working for MLNG (Malaysian Liquified Natural Gas).

“Thus, they motivated me to study so that I could be like them,” he continued.

Meanwhile, Nursyura Nafisa Merikan of Melanau and Malay descent from Sibu was awarded the PESP to pursue undergraduate studies in Applied Chemistry at a recognised higher learning institution in the United States of America.

As it was always her dream to be a chemist, Nursyura is forever grateful for the scholarship from Petronas.

“My parents are not rich and I am the third child from four siblings. I have witnessed for myself how my parents had to work hard in order to afford my two elder brothers’ tertiary education. So, I am very happy to be able to receive this scholarship,” she stated.

On the other hand, 16-year-old Esther Saka was awarded a scholarship under the Budi-Petronas programme to study at Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) Junior Science College (MRSM) in Kuching.

Esther, who hails from Bintulu, said she has been studying in Kuching for four years. She has always tried her best to study hard so that she could help to improve her family’s living standards.

“What inspires me the most is my mother who will always call me to make sure that I am doing well here,” said the third child from five siblings.

“I hope I will continue this momentum and succeed in the future. After getting this Petronas scholarship, who knows I may be able to land a place in the medical or engineering field,” she added.

From left: Muhammad Fikri Izzat Mahmud, Herrent Elven Suching, Nursyura Nafisa Merikan, Esther Saka showing their PESP award certificates. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni