For this issue, Ipoh Echo met the hardworking and dedicated lad, Muhammad Hussein Bin Abdullah who was selected as one of the representatives from Malaysia for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) under the US Mission to ASEAN.
Raised by a single mother, Hussein had to work at the tender age of 13 as a part-time waiter to help his mom raise his siblings after his father passed away. He was soon offered to further his studies towards matriculation in Penang but returned back after only two days. His decision raised some eyebrows but Hussein had his own reasons.
“I remember the days when I didn’t even have money to pay for stationary at school. My mother has worked extremely hard to raise us and it seemed selfish to leave her alone. She has been a great mother to me and the least I can do is to be a good son to her,” he admitted.
Hussein then went for Form 6 while working part time. Despite all the obstacles he was determined to excel in his studies and eventually to break the chain of poverty for his family. His hard work paid off when he was offered a scholarship for a four-year Bachelor of Economics in Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) degree.
Hussein took full advantage and expanded his experiential learning while completing his degree. This included participating in competitions, conferences, writing journal articles and even representing his university for international seminars and programmes.
“Aside from my family, I had great support from my fellow lecturers and friends. Professor Shatar Shabran who was the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs in UPM, Dr Zuraina, Dr Kenny Teoh, Dr Suriati, Dr Abdul Rahim, Dr Zaiton and a few other dedicated academicians in UPM are among those who helped shape me to what I have become today,” added Hussein.
Soon after he completed his degree, Hussein founded a food supply business with his family: Habibi Food Supply and Catering. Hussein applied what he had learnt and managed the business while his mother and sister took care of the operations. Their business aimed to provide safer, hygienic and healthier food for people.
“While running the business, I felt that it was my responsibility to give back to the community. Hence I started my own seminar called the ‘Habibi Education Seminar’, to share information about institutions in Malaysia, choices of courses, scholarships and more,” said Hussein who plans to conduct the seminar in at least ten rural schools in Ipoh and hopes to help at least 5000 students.
In recognition of his achievement in entrepreneurship, academia and education, Hussein was then selected as one of the Malaysian Delegates for YSEALI. Although he has achieved so much, there are still so many things left for him to get.
Ipoh Echo is privileged to tell the story of Hussein, the hardworking boy from Kampung Tawas. We wish the very best for you and good luck!