University gets $2m donation for law scholarship

Mr Tan Hsuan Heng, Madam Irene Tan Liang Kheng's nephew and executor of her estate, said he hopes recipients of the scholarship award will continue to uphold her generous spirit.
Mr Tan Hsuan Heng, Madam Irene Tan Liang Kheng's nephew and executor of her estate, said he hopes recipients of the scholarship award will continue to uphold her generous spirit.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

A new scholarship for students passionate about criminal and family law was set up yesterday, thanks to a $2million donation to the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) School of Law.

The Irene Tan Liang Kheng Scholarship Award, which is bond-free and valued at $50,000, will be given to one or two SUSS School of Law students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and Juris Doctor (JD) programmes each year, starting from next year.

The money was donated by the estate of Madam Irene Tan Liang Kheng, who died in 2016 at age 73.

Madam Tan was the widow of Mr Ong Tiong Tat, a close friend of the late Mr Koh Choon Joo, a lawyer and philanthropist who had bequeathed much of his wealth to various educational institutions. Mr Ong was the executor of Mr Koh's estate.

Applicants of the award should be Singapore citizens with a monthly household per capita income of no more than $4,300, or with other evidence of financial difficulties. Other eligibility criteria include good academic results, participation in social or community work and a likelihood of practising family or criminal law.

Speaking at the donation ceremony at SUSS yesterday, Mr Tan Hsuan Heng, Madam Tan's nephew and executor of her estate, said he hopes recipients will continue to uphold her generous spirit.

He said: "It is my desire that when they graduate, they will pay forward the kindness they received so that they can in turn create a culture of gratefulness, kindness and charity, to cultivate a society that cares for others."

The $2 million donation came from the proceeds of the sale of the bungalow that was bequeathed by Mr Koh to Mr Ong, who subsequently bequeathed it to Mdm Tan.

  • $50k

    The value of the bond-free Irene Tan Liang Kheng Scholarship Award. It will be given to one or two SUSS School of Law students each year, starting from next year.

SUSS president Cheong Hee Kiat said the School of Law, which received its first batch of students in January last year, was set up with a specific purpose to tune students towards the practice of family and criminal law.

"It is not about the head only, it is about the heart - an orientation towards practice that will help families in trouble and criminals needing advocates for the due process of justice to be administered," he added.


Correction note: An earlier version of this story said the $2m donation came from the proceeds of the sale of a bungalow belonging to Mr Ong and Madam Tan, which they had inherited from Mr Koh. That is incorrect. We are sorry for the error. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2018, with the headline 'University gets $2m donation for law scholarship'. Print Edition | Subscribe