By: Patrick Beech
A 23-year-old Ipoh lass created history as the first Orang Asli to graduate with first-class honours from the prestigious University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom.
Susherrie Suki received a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning and Real Estate from UCL’s Bartlett School of Planning.
“I am honoured to be the first Orang Asli from the Semai tribe to step foot inside UCL and the first to graduate with a first-class honours degree.
“I am incredibly grateful for all the wishes from everyone in Malaysia. I hope this could be an inspirational story for my community and I am confident there will be more success stories in the near future,” she said in a post on her LinkedIn account.
The Orang Asli Students Association (PMOA) said Sherrie’s parents are both Orang Asli from the Semai tribe in Kampung Orang Asli Chinggung in Behrang Ulu, Tanjung Malim, and Kampung Orang Asli Ulu Geruntum in Gopeng, Perak.
“She has now received an offer to further her studies to the Master’s level in Urban Design and City Planning at the same university,” the association said.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz also congratulated Susherrie in a tweet.
“Congratulations to Susherrie Suki who is the first Orang Asli graduate from Peninsular Malaysia to be awarded a first-class degree from University College London (UCL),” he wrote.
In 2016, Susherrie scored 10 As in her SPM examination, before being accepted to further her education at the Seremban Mara College.
“I like to express my gratitude to my family and friends for their incredible support throughout my studies and life,” she said.
She added that there was nothing more intimidating than living alone in a foreign country without knowing a single soul.
She is fluent in English, Mandarin and Bahasa Melayu, and is very active in various activities both in and off-campus.
She is a member of the Perak Orang Asli Association and PMOA, besides serving as the publicity bureau chief of the Bartlett Urban Planning Society in her university and a member of the United Kingdom’s Royal Town Planning Institute.