KOTA KINABALU: The Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Sabah Alumni Association will be holding a charity dinner at the Magellan Sutera Resort Grand Ballroom at 7pm on April 2.
Themed ‘Celebrating Your Success by Helping the Others to Succeed’, the event is organized to raise educational funds to aid underprivileged students, particularly those from the rural areas who require financial aid.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, who is also the president of the UiTM Sabah Alumni Association, said the association hoped to raise between RM30,000 to RM100,000 from the event.
He said the financial assistance was targeted at good students whose National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) was suspended for not meeting the academic requirement.
He said the assistance was rendered to students whose parents could not afford to pay for their education.
Masidi said some students, despite scoring good results, had to drop out from university and return to their village to help out their parents due to economic pressure.
“These are the things that we want to avoid.
“We do not wish to see students who have to drop out because their parents are too poor to pay (for tuition fee). We will pay for them,” he said in a press conference here yesterday.
Furthermore, Masidi said the recipients were not obliged to repay the financial assistance upon graduation.
The reason is some students, especially those from rural villages, are reluctant to receive any financial assistance like PTPTN, because they are afraid of not being able to pay back.
Masidi, who came from a poor family, said he had to work part time to support himself during his studies at UiTM.
“I was the best bumiputera student in the State. I wanted to do law, so I went to UiTM. Although life was difficult, I persevered.
“After going through life myself in a very tough way, I feel that this (financial assistance) is something I can contribute to make sure less people go through the way that I have gone through.”
The bi-annual charity dinner will be officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman in his capacity as patron of the association.
Musa will also launch the Foundation for Kinabalu Excellence that assists the alumni association in implementing welfare programmes for UiTM Sabah students.
The foundation was approved by the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) as a non-profit organization on March 9 this year.
Among the objectives of the foundation are to receive and administer funds for education, scientific and charitable purposes, assist students of UiTM Sabah in their academic, welfare and other activities, as well as help UiTM Sabah in providing a conducive living and learning environment to its staff and students.
Masidi said the foundation was awaiting the outcome for its application for tax exemption status so that companies which made a contribution to the foundation would enjoy tax exemption incentive.
UiTM has produced over 700,000 graduates in Malaysia, including more than 40,000 in Sabah.
The current committee of UiTM Sabah Alumni Association was formed in 1997 and formally registered in 2001. The association held its first activity which was a fund-raising event in 2002.
To date, more than 2,000 UiTM students, mostly from the rural areas, have benefitted from the financial assistance.
The funds collected will be kept in a trust account for qualified students, which is administered jointly by UiTM Sabah Alumni Association and the management.
To ensure the educational funds are not abused, the alumni association issues cheques directly to UiTM to assist the students.
Masidi assured that the educational funds were also fully audited to prevent any misuse.
Meanwhile, UiTM Sabah Rector Datuk Dr Hj Abdul Kadir Hj Rosline said less than 10 per cent of students at the university had their PTPTN loan suspended at any one time.
With a student population of around 5,000 at UiTM Sabah, Abdul Kadir said quite a number of students was in need of the financial aid to continue their education.
“What the alumni has been contributing to the plight of these students is significant and enormous.
“We give them the money without asking it back to take away the fear of repayment and build their confidence,” he said.
The organizers encourage graduates of Yayasan Sabah – Institut Teknology Mara (YS-ITM), Institut Teknology Mara (ITM) and UiTM Sabah from all over Malaysia and Brunei to be part of the occasion.
Guests will also be treated to an evening of entertainment by various artistes.
Several graduates from the 1970s and 1980s from around Malaysia and Brunei have made a majority of the table bookings in hopes of creating a reunion during the charity dinner this April.
Tables are priced at RM1,000, RM1,500, RM3,000 and RM5,000.
Individual tickets can also be purchased at RM100, RM150, RM300 and RM500 each. The deadline for reservations is noon on March 28 and is subject to availability.
Masidi said the organizers tried to sell the tickets only to bumiputera companies to build a culture among bumiputeras that it was their responsibility to help bumiputera students.
He said the organizer learned of such approach from the Chinese as many Chinese companies would donate or sponsor whenever there was a fund-raising activity within the community.
“It is time for bumiputeras to have this attitude.
“We sell to bumiputera companies whom we feel can sponsor to stress that we should not reply too much on other people.”
For further information and table reservations, please contact Samsudin Mohd Amin at 019-8410777, Sazali Md Salleh 013-8510369, Awang Darus Amdan S M 011-25202998, Simin Rosmini 088-326482 or Francesca Lydia Chipli 088-232121.
Also present at the press conference were UiTM Sabah Alumni Association vice president Azhar Hj Matussin, treasurer Mat Salleh Hj Hashim and secretary Awang Amdan SM Darus.