Our Scholar Stories – Tanes, 2020 Tunku Scholar

18 Mar 2021 | Article

Ever since my elder siblings had gone off to work, the role of being a caregiver for my parents had fallen onto me. While most of my friends my age enjoyed their teenage years, I was mostly following my parents to hospital visits, ensuring that they take their medication and taking on household chores.

A turning point in my life was when my mother was suspected to have cancer and the decision on whether she should proceed with the diagnosis and treatment was left in my hands. With no access to the internet or other resources, the only person I could refer to was my biology teacher who was kind enough to explain the disease to me and advised me on what I should do next to support my mother’s health. It was that particular moment which made me realise the importance of having full access to health information.

previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow

I never wanted to become a doctor when I was young. However, that experience of caring for my mother during her battle against a lung disease as well as my father for his existing health condition changed me. I began to develop an interest and a conviction in the field of medicine. Still, I experienced many barriers to get to medical school and achieve my dreams. I found myself in a serious financial crisis when I had to pay for my own university tuition fees and living expenses. There were even instances when my mother would suggest that we lease our house or that we should borrow money from my relatives.

With a fear of having to abandon my medical school dreams, I applied for many scholarships and was awarded the Tunku Abdul Rahman Scholarship. This scholarship has allowed me to pursue my dreams to bridge the health access gap by ensuring provision of health-related services for underserved and economically disadvantaged communities. In ensuring that access to healthcare reaches every nook and corner of Malaysia, I am keen to kickstart a Malaysian doctors without borders initiative which would be key to achieving health equity for all Malaysians.




The Tunku Abdul Rahman Scholarship is looking to empower students like Tanesvaran to fulfil their dreams and ambitions. The benefits of the scholarship and the 2 year leadership programme will provide Scholars with a solid foundation to lead themselves and their communities. Apply to be a Tunku Scholar today!


Disclaimer: YTAR believes in empowering the voices of our Tunku Scholars and preserving the dignity of our Scholars. All stories are co-written with our Scholars and published with their consent.


Written by:

Tanesvaran A/L Balakrishnen is a 2020 Tunku Scholar who is studying to be a doctor at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). He is the first in his family to go to university and will soon be the first doctor in his family.


Dengan semangat Tunku, kami menumpukan perhatian kepada potensi pemimpin Malaysia masa depan, tanpa mengira bangsa atau kepercayaan.