Sunday 6 December 2020

Recognised By My Alma Mater

I enrolled into the Bachelor of Business (Accounting) degree programme from the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT) in 1984. When I graduated in 1986 the institution was re-named as Curtin University of Technology. Presently, it is known as just Curtin University.

When I completed the Sijil Pengajian Malaysia examination in December 1982, I was told to prepare myself for a placement for the matriculation programme in Australia. I was then offered to go to Kelvin Groove Evening Class in Brisbane. At that time my auntie was studying in WAIT for her accounting degree. I was told by her father that the accounting programme is one of the most practical in Australia.

That started a last minute effort to transfer me from Brisbane to Perth. I was told that I was accepted by Canning College at Bently which was neighbouring WAIT. However, as my ticket was already issued by MARA, I had to pay for the ticket from Sydney to Perth. The Malaysian Consul from Perth, Hussein Ahmad, flew to Sydney to accompany me to Perth.

There were around 40 Malaysian students studying at Canning College. During Fridays we would be performing our Jumaat prayers at WAIT as there were quite a number of Muslim students, predominantly from Malaysia. Hence, I was acquainted very early with WAIT, the institution which I was aiming for to obtain my accounting degree.

We had to sit for the Western Australian Tertiary Examination to be eligible to continue our education at the tertiary level. Before our results we released, we applied to various universities in Western Australia and Eastern states to ensure we secure our preferred programmes. I did not even apply for the accounting programme at prestigious University of Western Australia as I was so convinced about WAIT.

When my results were out, I got a number of offers including from WAIT, the University of New South Wales and Monarch University. However, as I was determined to do the accounting programme at WAIT, WAIT was my choice.

I never regretted that choice as I was introduced to accountancy in a very pragmatic manner. During the first year, we were introduced to the practical part of accounting including preparing various financial reports. As we progressed to the second and third year, we were then introduced to the theoretical part of accounting. Perhaps during that stage we were matured enough to digest the concepts and principles which remain relevant until today.

There were around 10 Malaysian-sponsored students in my batch which did the same course. Only two of us, me and another colleague sponsored by TNB who managed to pass in 3 years. I was so thankful to Allah for his blessings.

Since I left Curtin in 1986, I have not been back to Perth and did not contact the university at all. When I was the Executive Chairman of the Audit Oversight Board, a representative from the university came to see me and we discussed possible ways for me to be involved with its alumni activities. Last year my name was shortlisted to be the Malaysian Alumni of the year. 

Last week Curtin University published an article about my responsibilities at Tabung Haji. It was a well researched article about the role of the Pilgrim Fund in assisting Malaysian Muslims to fulfil their Firth Pillar of Islam, the Hajj. I shared how the education which I had at Curtin and my stay in Western Australia assisted me in building my character and career. I hope the article will inspire many more Malaysians to find their sweat spot in contributing towards nation building.

The article can be downloaded here.

Saturday 2 May 2020

Family Covid-19 Strategy

Many people look forward to the resumption of "normal" life come Monday. There are also people who are concern whether going back to normal would cause more infection of Covid-19.

The debate about "life vs livelihood" under the present circumstances is not limited to Malaysia only. It is a legitimate question, which one should take precedent or can we have both?

Realistically, the Covid-19 pandemic would be around for a while. While staying at home for the past 6 weeks had helped in breaking the chain of infection, many had also lost their income and livelihood shattered. We have no choice but to walk on the tightrope. We need to live with Covid-19 for a while.

Hence, each of us has to take responsibility to take care of ourself, our family and the society. This is where each family has to agree of its own Covid-19 strategy. What to do at home, when using public transport, when shopping and when coming back home? Need to work on the stock of face mask and hand sanitiser as we can't assume they will be provided. What about family activities such as during festivities? 

I trust by taking responsibility, we would be able to deal with both challenges, life and livelihood.