Bachok, Kelantan, 24 June, 2009 – The British American Tobacco Malaysia Foundation (BATM Foundation) and the National Tobacco Board (NTB) today reinforced their support towards the tobacco growing industry by awarding 165 students of their community with financial assistance via the jointly sponsored Higher Education Starter Kit (HESK) programme.
The aid comes as a welcomed relief by the tobacco growers and curers’ community given the current economic times as the fund goes a long way in helping varsity students cover the preliminary costs of commencing their studies in college or university. The start up costs involved in entering an institution of higher education can sometimes be a burden, more so for the tobacco farmers and curers’ community whose crops were recently devastated by flash floods. Hence, the HESK will provide a much needed helping hand as their children take their first step into tertiary education.
Tuan Haji Baruddin Ismail, Deputy Director-General, National Tobacco Board, who was present to officiate the annual event, commented on the significance of ensuring that such programmes were maintained to provide more opportunities for the children of the tobacco growing community to aspire towards their ambitions.
Tuan Haji Baruddin Ismail added, “Malaysia's business growth is impacted by a shortage of skilled workers, with 42 percent of businesses reporting it as a major constraint. In pursuit of addressing this issue, educating the future generation certainly comes into play in a big way.”
Initiated in 2002, the HESK is available to students of the tobacco growing community who have been accepted into colleges and universities. Students pursuing degree courses receive RM700, whereas students pursuing diploma courses receive RM500.
Ramli Haji Thamby Hashim, Head of Leaf, BAT Malaysia added, “We want to ensure that these students are able to start their varsity life with the confidence of having enough money for preliminary costs such as books, clothing and transportation. We are pleased to collaborate with the NTB for the seventh year running to help the tobacco farming community. “
To-date, the BATM Foundation and NTB have awarded more than RM870,000 to 1,800 recipients since its inception. The programme was developed by BATM Foundation to heed the call of supporting the children of tobacco farmers and curers who qualified for higher education. The NTB joined the BATM Foundation in equal partnership in 2003 and since then, the HESK programme has been an annual joint effort.
About British American Tobacco Malaysia Foundation
The British American Tobacco Malaysia Foundation was established in 1983 to formalise the Company’s active involvement in providing assistance to deserving Malaysians pursuing higher education.
Over the years, more than 2,000 students have benefited from the British American Tobacco Malaysia Foundation’s various education aid programmes which include scholarships for university degrees, college diplomas and certificates for technical studies and Higher Education Starter Kits for students from the tobacco farming community. The various British American Tobacco Malaysia Foundation programmes represent an investment of well over RM14 million.
The National Tobacco Board is the government agency of the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities, tasked to develop and promote an efficient and viable tobacco industry and contribute to national socio-economic development. The National Tobacco Board is responsible for the development of crop integration to increase the income of tobacco smallholders in achieving the objectives of Tobacco Industry Restructure Plan (TIRP).
For more information contact:
Mr. Chin Tuck Weng, Corporate Affairs Manager, British American Tobacco Malaysia at 03-7491 7318
Ms. Annabel Ng, Corporate Communications Manager, British American Tobacco Malaysia at 03-7491 7281
Ms. Norhasniza Bt Ibrahim, Public Relations Officer, National Tobacco Board at 09-7651182