Indonesian tycoon donates $1m, pledges another $1m to fund scholarships at SMU

SINGAPORE - Indonesian tycoon and chairman of the Mayapada Group, Dr Tahir, announced on Monday that he would set up a $1 million scholarship to help lower-income Singaporeans studying at the Singapore Management University (SMU).

This is on top of a $1 million donation that the 62-year-old banker, who goes by a single name, has made to SMU to set up a scholarship for Indonesian students. The Tahir Indonesian Scholarship will be awarded to one undergraduate each year, and is valid for four years.

"Education can represent the building up of a nation. I always have high appreciation for the Singapore government because I graduated from Singapore, from Nanyang University," Dr Tahir said at a ceremony to sign an agreement for the Tahir Indonesian scholarship with SMU president Professor Arnoud De Meyer.

"This million is for Indonesians, but I don't want to be so selfish and so narrow. So I'd like to give another million to SMU for the Singapore students," Dr Tahir told reporters after the ceremony.

First year accountancy student Ratna Sari Dessy, 20, found out last week that she would be the first recipient of the Tahir Indonesian Scholarship.

"I feel really surprised, happy and blessed," said the Jurong Junior College graduate. "All along my mother has been supporting me, since my father passed away when I was 10."