LONDON – Khoo Jia Hui, from the Permata Pintar programme’s pioneer batch, who is currently pursuing a doctorate in biochemistry has described the programme as challenging.
Having joined the programme at 15 in 2011 after undergoing various levels of aptitude tests, including summer camps and presenting science projects, it has opened her to new opportunities, she told the Malaysian media here on Sunday.
Khoo, who was from Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina Yoke Pin Melaka, said “lots of commitment was needed in pursuing this programme, and one must have passion in what they are doing.”
As one of the 15 selected students from about a 100 other Permata Pintar students chosen to undergo an accelerated programme from abroad, she described it as an awesome opportunity.
At 17, she was sent to pursue her undergraduate course in microbiology at Wisconsin-Madison University in the United States, and upon completion of her degree, she applied to do her doctorate at the Oxford University near here.
Khoo said the Permata Pintar programme had helped her to move out from her comfort zone as the only child, to venture to new playing fields.
Khoo, who was given an opportunity to represent other Permata Pintar students by giving a speech at a luncheon with the Malaysian prime minister’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, who is also Permata patron here on Sunday, said despite taking on a challenging course, it was also an enjoyable one.
“Students were allowed to focus on their field of interest, and resources were given to allow them to pursue it,” she added.
Meanwhile, Nur Syazana Natasha Hisham who is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Nanotechnology at the University College of London hopes she will be able to pursue her doctorate in nanotechnology specialising in graphene at the Oxford University in September this year.
Hailing from Kuala Lumpur, the former student of Maktab Rendah Sains Mara Langkawi said Permata Pintar which grouped together students with the same level of abilities and capabilities or more, had created a healthy competition for them to excel at a much higher level.
The programme also offered subjects which were not available at ordinary schools, and this made them work harder so that they would be able to perform exceptionally better, she said.
Nur Syazana Natasha who took up Chemistry in her Bachelor’s degree at University California-Davis wants to come back and join the academia after completing her studies.
For Mohamad Danial Mohd Firdaus from Lundu, Sarawak, the Permata Pintar programme has given him the opportunity to pursue his studies in law at the Cardiff University.
He said students should take the opportunity to pursue their studies under the Permata Pintar programme which offered a good platform for them to a higher level.
Rubbishing claims that the programme was only open to a select group, he said it was open to students from all walks of life.
Mohamad Danial, from the 2013 batch – the third batch of the Permata Pintar programme – hopes to become a practising lawyer or researcher in law upon graduation. – BERNAMA