About a month ago I was contacted by Nurul Syahirah via facebook message.

I do not know why she chose to message me, but now that I have verified her story, I feel compelled to help.

As readers may or may not know, I am a believer in helping the poor and I am also a strong advocate of education as one of the ways to break the cycle of poverty.

This was Nurul’s first message:

Nurul Syahirah

“Assalamualaikum wbt dr. Saya mohon maaf jika saya menganggu.

Saya Nurul Syahirah daripada Langkawi. Saya nak mohon pendapat dr, untuk melanjutkan pengajian di universiti awam.


Saya merupakan lepasan SPM 2011, dengan 8A 1B, seterusnya belajar dalam Foundation in Medical Studies di AUCMS. Saya belajar di Segi university selama 2 tahun sebelum saya berhenti kerana pinjaman pelajaran saya tidak diluluskan, dan keluarga saya bukan dari orang senang.

Letter of withdrawal from SEGi medical course

Sekarang, saya sudah hadiri temuduga SPA, namun ditolak atas sebab overqualified. Saya juga hadir temuduga diploma jururawat USM baru baru ini.

Saya amat alukan pendapat dr, yang saya akhiri dengan ucapan terima kasih.

Yang benar, Nurul Syahirah”.

At first, I thought it was very unfortunate but I also thought that with such good results, surely she must have been offered some course in a higher education institution somewhere. I turned out to be right. Unfortunately, it was not a course of her choice, which is medicine.

My first reaction was to assess whether this person was truly, genuinely interested in medicine, or it is just a choice made on false perceptions of stable job, regular income etc.

Mazlyn Mustapha

Pada pendapat saya, belajar jurusan yg diminati

5/20, 8:19pm

Nurul Syahirah

SPA ni suruhanjaya perkhidmatan awam. Saya mohon untuk latihan pra perubatan untuk medical assistant dan 3 jawatan yang lain seperti juru x ray, jururawat dan makmal, tapi tidak berjaya”.

After a brief chat, I did decide that her interest in medicine is genuine, but another crucial factor I need to know is, what about suitability? Some people are very passionate about a career in medicine but they just don’t have what it takes to succeed.

Thankfully, by complete accident, I was introduced to a current lecturer in SEGi university school of medicine. According to this person, she was a very good student and the Dean herself had took up the case, personally meeting with MARA to try and obtain financing on her behalf, unfortunately though, they did not succeed.

Nurul Syahirah

Mara saya x lulus..

5/20, 8:40pm

Mazlyn Mustapha

Ok Sambung esok

5/20, 8:40pm

Nurul Syahirah

3 kali appeal x dapat”

So I have ascertained that this person is indeed very passionate about medicine and is a good medical student.

The other important issue is financing.

I also found out, like many other cases, there were other issues that complicated the matter, but it is not necessary to share the details here. I have helped refer on to relevant parties so that the matter can be looked into.

The main issue at the moment is getting financing to further her studies. I think it is very unfair for a good student from a poor background not able to get financing for higher education, as this will be one of the keys that may unlock her and her family from the cycle of poverty.

Nurul Syahirah

Yes.. i know its hard for me to study medicine, but if any degree which available for me in Ipta, i will accept”.

The sad thing is, she has come to accept that it will be hard to get into medicine without proper financing as medicine in the private universities is quite an expensive course.

She has begun to accept and even applied to other courses, sadly, to no avail.

  • Nurul Syahirah

    Salam dr.. i dont get usm for diploma of nursing. T.T

    6/6, 5:41pm

    Mazlyn Mustapha


    So what is your next plan

    6/6, 5:42pm

    Nurul Syahirah

    Im stucked, to be honest.. my parents..i dont know

    6/6, 5:42pm

    Mazlyn Mustapha

    Your parents want you to further studies or not

    6/6, 5:43pm

    Nurul Syahirah

    They want me to get SPA or Usm.. so that, they dont have to pay anything..

    Now, i dont get both.

    UM i dont get for diploma..

    Saya cuba minta KKM pembantu perawat kesihatan. Tak dapat langsung.

    Appeal for usm done”.

    If there are any parties out there that can help by

    -giving advice on the next best plan of action

    -advice on options of providing financing

    -give contacts that can assist

    would be greatly appreciated.