Source: NST Online (July 22, 2007)
New Sunday Times, Focus: His parents were illiterate and he grew up in poverty. But this young engineer pressed on to become the best that he could be. Now he is helping others to do well, writes DAVID YEOW.
“NO one can go back in time to make a new beginning but you can start from now to create your own happy ending. Everybody has the ability to succeed provided they have a ‘can do’ spirit.”
In fact “wise cracking” is Muhtar’s gift. The oldest of four children, Muhtar said that since young he had developed an uncanny ability to recognise simple truths in life and apply them.
He was so good at leading himself that he scored his way past his UPSR, PMR and SPM, gearing himself with honest hard work and personal pep talks alone.
“I also helped my dad sell fruits at the same time,” he said.
It did not take long for others to see the maturity and ability in him. Muhtar was given a scholarship by Yayasan Sarawak to study Mechatronics Engineering at International Islamic University Malaysia. He was also made Student Council’s President for a term.
Muhtar soon realised that his natural affinity for wisdom and ability to take care of himself should not be kept just to himself.
“After all that I’ve been through, whenever I see young people I feel like I want to share my life story with them. I want to tell them that having a positive attitude makes the difference, not your surrounding or your background.”
So in 2005, Muhtar founded a society in his hometown, Miri, called Task Force Kecemerlangan.
Through Task Force Kecemerlangan, Muhtar reaches out to 2,500 youth every year.
He challenges them to have a positive attitude, a ‘can do’ spirit and to always obey God.
“All of us need to contribute something to society. This is my way of working for the betterment of my society.”
Muhtar Suhaili is the fourth nominee for the 2007 AYA Dream Malaysia Most Outstanding Youth of the Year Award. The award, a project by youth development organisation Asian Youth Ambassadors, seeks to recognise ordinary youth with extraordinary spirit, irregardless of race or creed.
[Muhtar says: Corrections – I was given a scholarship by Yayasan Sarawak for my Matriculation, while for my Mechatronics Degree I was sponsored by Yayasan Felda. Task Force Kecemerlangan was founded in January 2006].
Wallahu a’la wa a’lam.