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University of Southampton Malaysia

Four from University of Southampton Malaysia Campus named 2017 Khazanah Watan Scholars

Published: 28 February 2017
2017 Khazanah Watan Scholars
Clockwise from right: Nelson, Afiq, Ben and Kean Wee are this year's Khazanah Watan Scholars

One Engineering Foundation Year, two Year 1 Mechanical Engineering and one Year 2 Mechanical Engineering students received the Khazanah Watan Scholarship, one of the most prestigious and competitive scholarship grants in Malaysia.


For most people, being chosen a recipient of the country’s most highly recognised academic scholarship would be a shout-it-at-the-top-of-my-lungs moment. When Lee Kean Wee, a Year 2 Mechanical Engineering Student, discovered that he was among the four students selected, he could not believe what he heard. After going through a battery of tests and flying down to Kuala Lumpur for a series of interviews, he did not imagine he would secure this scholarship.

‘’When they (scholarship organisers) called me, I was actually at the Student Village kitchen busy cooking. When I heard the good news I forgot what I was supposed to be doing and the last thing I knew I was running around, screaming and feeling so happy,’’ reckons Kean Wee.

The Khazanah Watan scholarship provides exceptional young Malaysians the opportunity to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate study in any field at a leading institution such as the University of Southampton.

Dr Suhaila Mohd Sanip, the university’s Director of Research and Engineering Foundation Year programme is delighted to hear the good news. She said, ‘’Khazanah Watan is the most prestigious scholarship in Malaysia and University of Southampton Malaysia Campus is very proud to be associated with Khazanah. I am proud to say that most of our students embody the requirement of a Khazanah scholar where they have academic excellence as well as having the characteristics of future leaders. Therefore the partnership with Yayasan Khazanah will enable top students to pursue a Master’s degree in engineering from a Top 100 university through a global education.’’

The Khazanah Watan scholarship pays for four to five years of study at the University of Southampton wherein the first two to three years of the MEng degree is spent at the Malaysia Campus whilst the final two years will be spent at the Highfield Campus in Southampton, UK.

For Wo Yew Ben, an Engineering Foundation Year student, success did not happen so easily. ‘’Actually, this is the second time I applied,’’ he admits. ‘’The first time was for my A levels but I did not pass the scholarship. So when I found out that there’s another opportunity for me, I took the chance again.’’

In hindsight, Yew Ben believes he would not have it any other way, ‘’Every part of the scholarship application process was like a rollercoaster because every task was challenging and fun at the same time. The assessments and tasks given shaped me even to become a better person.’’

The gift of seeing the upside of down was also something innate in Nelson Ng Jia Jun, a Year 1 MEng Aeronautics and Astronautics student. He was among the bursary scholars whose JPA scholarship got suspended yet despite of it he still subscribes to the idea that when a door is closed there will be another window open for you.

‘’I had an unconditional offer to study at one of the top 10 universities in the world however due to the suspension of the JPA scholarship that did not materialise, I decided to do the next best thing - join the University of Southampton Malaysia Campus and luckily, I got the Khazanah Watan scholarship!’’

To study overseas was a far-fetched idea for Syed Muhammad Afiq bin Syed Yussof who was already in his first month taking up mechanical engineering at University Malaya.

‘’I saw the ad online and I thought to myself this could be my one and only chance to gain an overseas degree whilst having the best of both worlds – I could spend and build friendships in the Malaysia Campus before transferring to the UK. I figured that I might as well take this chance,’’ Afiq is now a Year 1 Mechanical Engineering student with Southampton.

Nurturing dreams, enabling future leaders

Since his high school years, Kean Wee has been motivated to learn more about sustainable energy. ‘’There are lots of opportunities in sustainable energy and related markets for those with the right skills and knowledge levels.’’

This September, Kean Wee will be transferring to the UK Campus to complete his MEng programme. He plans to take up biodiesel or solar energy as an optional module. Kean Wee is an active member of the University of Southampton Students’ Association Malaysia.

Potable and ample supply of water is what interests Afiq at the moment. He has been involved in several projects inspired by Bill Gate’s Omni Processor and hopes that this technology will be made easily available in rural areas.

‘’Many people living in rural areas have no choice but treat their drinking water on their own such as boiling which sadly is not sufficient enough, further advancements in water filtering systems should be taken into account in order to avoid unwanted diseases from spreading due to consumption of untreated water supply.” With that being said, Afiq would like to focus on solutions that improve the lives of many.

Meanwhile, Nelson and Ben believe that business acumen is the missing tool in most engineer’s toolbox. After graduation, Ben plans to enrol in business school. ‘’Having knowledge in business also helps with your career advancement as well as protect your career during a weak economy,’’ reflects Ben.

‘’I think, as future engineers we are doing ourselves a huge disservice if we choose to ignore such important matter,’’ Ben adds.

‘’I understand that education can get expensive but knowledge can still be free,’’ says Nelson who also runs an online fashion business called 97 Bros. ‘I believe that education can be expensive but knowledge can always be free,’’ says Nelson who is part of an online fashion business called 97 Bros. ‘’I realize that, in this millennium year, finding a job which you are passionate about isn’t easy. And I want to create job opportunities by following my passion which is starting business. For those who want to follow this path then it is absolutely necessary to understand how business works.’’ 


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