YSD’s first Environment scholar to pursue research in Orangutan conservation

YSD awards RM16.7 million in scholarships and bursaries to 356 deserving Malaysian students. 

Scholars at the Yayasan Sime Darby Scholarship Award 2017. Also present are (middle front row, from left) Yayasan Sime Darby Chief Executive Officer Puan Hajjah Yatela Zainal Abidin, Sime Darby Motors Division Corporate Affairs Director Datuk Aishah Ahmad, Yayasan Sime Darby Governing Council Members Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin and Datin Paduka Zaitoon Dato’ Othman as well as Yayasan Peneraju Chief Executive Officer Raja Azura Raja Mahayuddin.

Kuala Lumpur, 17 August 2017 – Primate conservation research hopeful Afiqah Mizan, 24, has made it her life’s goal to improve the relationship between humans and Mother Nature, by striving to protect the welfare of endangered animals.

A biotechnology degree holder from the Rutgers University, United States of America (USA), Afiqah spent a summer conducting field research at the Tuanan Orangutan Conservation Centre in Kalimantan, under the Rutgers’ School of Environmental Science summer scholarship programme. She has also served as a research volunteer at three research centres in the USA and frequently volunteers to help maintain animal welfare at zoos.

“I envision a world, which the relationship between humans and Mother Nature is optimum at its best. I would love to be a part of a movement that helps change the mindset on ‘owning the Earth’ to ‘harmoniously being a part of the ecosystem’ in this society,” she said.

“Not only in Malaysia, I believe it is globally achievable with everyone’s cooperation and support,” she added.

Afiqah is Yayasan Sime Darby's (YSD)'s only recipient of the Environment Scholarship, awarded to a local researcher to study the impact of a reforested habitat on Orangutan populations in Malaysia.

YSD Governing Council Member Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin said YSD is one of the few foundations that offer diverse scholarships to wide sections of the society, covering underprivileged and differently-abled students.

YSD also offers scholarships to deserving, accomplished students under YSD’s core pillars –Environment, Community & Health, Sports and Arts & Culture, he added.

“For example, we are offering a scholarship to Afiqah under YSD's project to reforest and rehabilitate Orangutan habitats in Northern Ulu Segama Forest Reserve (now known as Bukit Piton Forest Reserve).

“She will conduct research on the stress response of Orangutans to seasonal fruit scarcity at the reforested habitat in the Bukit Piton Forest Reserve and work with renowned local as well as international researchers.

“I hope that her research will further contribute to YSD’s efforts in rehabilitating degraded forest areas and Orangutan habitats,” he said.

The Environment scholarship is just one of the many scholarships and bursaries awarded by YSD to deserving students to pursue tertiary education at both local and international academic institutions.

This year, YSD is offering RM16.7 million in scholarships and bursaries to 356 deserving Malaysian students, out of which 65% is targeted towards 295 underprivileged students.

Another 29 students with outstanding academic achievement will be awarded with excellence scholarships worth RM4.5 million (27% of the scholarship commitment) to pursue pre-university and undergraduate studies at top universities in Malaysia, United Kingdom and China.

YSD is also awarding RM1.3 million worth of scholarships to 32 vocationally inclined students (8% of the scholarship commitment) to pursue diplomas in nursing, physiotherapy and laboratory medical technology at Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare College.

This year, YSD’s collaboration with Yayasan Peneraju through the Peneraju Tunas Potensi - YSD Bursary Programme - will kick off with YSD awarding bursaries worth more than RM5.5 million to 119 underprivileged Bumiputera students. 

The programme includes a bridging programme where students will have the opportunity to brush up their communication skills in the English language and develop other soft skills.
Among the recipients of the Peneraju Tunas Potensi – YSD Bursary Programme is Branden Earnest Bin Azman, 21. Hailing from the Lundayeh minority group in Sabah, Branden went through the harrowing experience of losing his parents when he was a child.

His grandfather, who worked as a paddy farmer, brought up Branden until he passed away in May 2017. Branden is currently being supported by his brother, a palm oil estate worker.
Branden was accepted to continue his tertiary education at University Malaysia Sabah’s (UMS)’s School of International Tropical Forestry in 2016.

Another talented but underprivileged student, Wong Kie Ming, 23, from Sarawak, received the Sudirman Scholarship from YSD.

YSD, in collaboration with The Actors Studio, offered the scholarship to commemorate 25 years since the passing of Malaysian entertainment icon, Dato’ Sudirman Hj. Arshad.
Wong is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance, with a focus on opera singing, at University Malaya (UM) and hopes to further his studies by obtaining a Master’s Degree in the same field.

YSD is also awarding five scholarships worth more than RM520,000 to five researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) to pursue their Master’s Degrees and PhDs in research areas that promote sustainable palm oil, renewable energy and sustainable agricultural practices. 

The scholarships are awarded under the YSD-UPM Collaborative Postgraduate Scholarship Programme, whereby 30 research scholarships worth RM3 million will be awarded to UPM postgraduate students over the next five years to pursue research that could have a potential long-term impact on palm oil and agricultural industries worldwide.

Under the Education pillar, YSD has to date awarded scholarships worth over RM260 million to 3,573 students both in and outside Malaysia.

This includes support amounting to more than RM27 million towards research and public advocacy on education development as well as initiatives which aim to reduce gaps in access to quality education between urban and rural societies, and improve access to basic education for the marginalised.

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Last Updated:
18 Aug 2017
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