SINGAPORE - Growing up in a three-room flat in Bedok North, life was not always easy for Mr Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir, as finances were tight for his parents.
But his parents - a housewife and a taxi driver - did all they could to give back despite their own circumstances.
For one, they provided home-cooked food to mosques, which is what has inspired Mr Faizal, 40, to always do the same even as he now serves as a Deputy Chief Prosecutor and Senior State Counsel at the Attorney-General's Chambers.
Mr Faizal received the Berita Harian Anugerah Jauhari 2020, or Achiever of the Year award, from Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam on Wednesday (Nov 18) for his outstanding achievements in the legal profession, as well as for his contributions to community causes.
He was appointed a Senior Counsel earlier this year, and is the first Malay-Muslim one to be given the title.
The BH award is just the latest accolade that Mr Faizal has received. In 2015, he won the President's Award for Youth and he was also inducted as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2016.
In the three years since then, he was named as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World- a list compiled by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan.
Despite his many achievements, Mr Faizal cuts a humble figure, and credits his success to the contributions of others, in addition to hard work.
"My journey and the story of my professional career isn't mine alone. It is the story of love, hard work, support, mentorship and guidance by so many around me, both personally and professionally," said Mr Faizal.
He currently funds scholarship programmes at his alma mater, Bedok View Secondary School and Tampines Junior College, where he supports the studies of needy students who show promise and have performed well academically.
He has also contributed to community self-help group Mendaki since 2005, by being involved in its Young Mendaki Club, which provides Malay-Muslim secondary school students opportunities to hone their social and leadership skills, as well as structured workshops that help them develop into well-rounded individuals.
Berita Harian editor Mohd Saat Abdul Rahman said: "Coming from a humble background, his achievements make him an excellent role model - not only to the Malay-Muslim community but also to all Singaporeans."
The Malay-language newspaper's annual award, which started in 1998, is presented annually to outstanding Malay-Muslim individuals for their achievements in various fields.
The award was last given to Imam Syed Hassan Mohamed Al-Attas, the head of Ba'alwie Mosque in Lewis Road, in recognition of his contributions to interfaith work. President Halimah Yacob and master potter Iskandar Jalil are among past recipients of the award, now in its 22nd year.
On Wednesday, Berita Harian also gave out the award for its Young Achiever of the Year to national team footballer 21-year-old Mr Ikhsan Fandi, who is currently playing for Norwegian First Division club Jerv.
Speaking at a press conference after the awards presentation, his father, local football legend Fandi Ahmad, thanked the organisers for the award and said that his son did not expect to receive it.
"He was surprised because he did not know about this award at all. We as footballers never thought of achieving any award - we just play, we work hard and we play for our team as well as our country," he said.