Brilliant student’s family grateful for Agong’s praise

Muhammad Afiq earned a first-class honours degree from the University of Essex. (Facebook pic)

KOTA BHARU: The family of Muhammad Afiq Ismail, 23, have expressed their gratitude to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, for his praise of Afiq’s achievement in securing first-class honours at the University of Essex.

Muhammad Afiq’s mother, Norma Abdullah, 52, who lives in Batu Mengkebang, Kuala Krai, said her family did not expect that the story of her youngest son which had made its rounds on social media to receive special attention from the King.

“My husband (Ismail Abas, 56) and other family members were touched and proud to know that the story of Muhammad Afiq has received praise from the King through the news.

“It is a very meaningful compliment to our family especially because of the sacrifices by Muhammad Afiq for us to attend the graduation, as I am a housewife and my husband is self-employed,” she said.

Yesterday, the King congratulated Muhammad Afiq on his outstanding results and expressed his admiration of Muhammad Afiq’s devotion to his parents.

Muhammad Afiq was reported to have taken part-time work of up to 20 hours a week while obtaining a first-class honours degree in accounting and finance.

Norma said her son was awarded a government scholarship to study in the UK.

“Muhammad Afiq is a hard-working son who always helped his father on the farm in his free time. He also enjoys playing futsal with his friends,” she added.

Although he was in the UK, Muhammad Afiq would often call her to ask for permission to go visiting and also enquired if she had any problem while he was away.

“When Muhammad Afiq was home, I always kept him company while he studied even though I was not good at teaching. He learned like any other students.

She said her son lived in the school hostel while attending secondary school at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama Wataniah Machang, and only went to extra classes held by the school.

“Muhammad Afiq is used to working odd jobs, that’s why he has no problem to work as a cleaner (in the UK) as long as the earning is halal (permissible),” she said.