by Lim Kit Siang - Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong
in Petaling Jaya
on Tuesday, 14 January 1997

Call on Government to award full scholarship to Sufiah Farooq, 12, who is entering Oxford University to read mathematics

Malaysians of all races are proud of the scholastic achievements of Sufiah Farooq, 12, who will be entering Oxford University in September to read mathematics.

The Government should award full scholarship to Sufiah Farooq as she has brought great credit not only to herself and her family, but also to the country. Awarding Sufiah full scholarship would be an indicaiton of the country’s appreciation, recognition and encouragement of excellence and intellectual prowess and our seriousness in wanting to achieve Vision 2020 of Malaysia become a world-class developed nation.

In the early nineties, Malaysia had also produced a precocious child, Chiang Ti Ming, who entered the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) for a B.Sc. with Honours at the age of 13 and enrolled for the doctorate studies in Particle Physics at Cornell University at the age of 15.

I would like to reiterate my call in 1992 to the Government to establish a Special Scholarship Fund, which could be named the Yang di Pertuan Agong Scholarship Foundation for Precocious Students to provide full and free educational support for all ‘precocious’ children like Sufiah Farooq and Chiang Ti Ming.

Furthermore, the Education Ministry should set up a special task force to consider how the Malaysian government could help other precocious children like Sufiah Farooq and how the education system could be made flexible enough where they could get educated under the national education system, as getting admitted into the local universities at a much younger age as at 12 or 13, which is not possible under the very rigid present education system.