PM Lee lauds growing success of Malays in various fields

Their achievements inspire and reflect general progress of the community, he says

Bank of Singapore chief executive Bahren Shaari receiving the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year award from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
The BH Achiever of the Year is Bank of Singapore chief executive Bahren Shaari (right), 56, while the Young Achiever of the Year is Mr Muhamad Ridhwan Ahmad, 30, Singapore's first professional boxing world champion. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Year by year, more and more Malays are building successful careers, becoming leaders in their chosen fields and acting as role models to inspire the next generation, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

Their success reflects the general progress of the Malay community, he added in a speech at the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year award ceremony at One Farrer Hotel.

The Prime Minister cited how the proportion of Malays going on to post-secondary education has doubled since 1995 to more than 90 per cent. The proportion of Malays working as professionals, managers, executives and technicians has also risen to around a third.

The BH Achiever of the Year award, now in its 20th edition, shows that Singapore's system works, said PM Lee. "That no matter what someone's personal background is, they will have opportunities to be well educated and develop their career.

"With grit and determination, each one of us can achieve our fullest potential," he said, adding that the recipients of this year's awards both have this grit.

The BH Achiever of the Year is Bank of Singapore chief executive Bahren Shaari, 56, while the Young Achiever of the Year is Mr Muhamad Ridhwan Ahmad, 30, Singapore's first professional boxing world champion. The awards celebrate outstanding contributions made by Malay/Muslims.

"They put their minds to the tasks before them, be it a career in banking or boxing," PM Lee said, noting that Mr Shaari rose to the top of his profession by working his way up from a junior private banker, while Mr Ridhwan worked many odd jobs, from waiter to deliveryman, in pursuit of his dream.

"They put in the hours and the effort, made their mistakes and took their hits, but picked themselves up each time because they knew one day they would get it right."

PM Lee added that the awards reflect the ethos of Singapore society: to identify and develop talent, celebrate those who have done well and encourage them to, in turn, give back to society.

"It also celebrates the family and friends who have helped them along the way, because few can be successful solely by dint of their individual efforts," he said.

Singapore must always maintain a social climate that encourages excellence and success, "rather than one of cutting down tall poppies", PM Lee added.

BH has been doing just that for over 60 years, by sharing positive stories that inspire its readers to strive for higher peaks and serve the community, he said.

In his speech, BH editor Mohd Saat Abdul Rahman said the panel of judges considered several can-didates for the award this year before settling on Mr Shaari and Mr Ridhwan.

"All are role models not only to the community, but also to all Singaporeans," he added.

"Their achievements are testament to their hard work and dedication, and reflect the significant progress of the community."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2018, with the headline PM Lee lauds growing success of Malays in various fields. Subscribe