2017 Kuala Lumpur – University of Malaya awarded a rare “PhD Fast Track Offer” to an exceptional graduate, Tham Kuen Wei who was the president and founder of the National Union of Real Estate Students of Malaya (NURES) in 2014. He was instrumental in gathering Varsity graduates to unite and push for property management reforms, creating a greater awareness on regulation of property management in Malaysia. On top of that remarkable achievement by a young graduate, Tham receives the Royal Education Award from the Rulers Conference of Malaya which goes to the top student from the University of Malaya (UM) being the latest accolade earned by the high achiever.
Tham was selected based on his illustrious academic and intellectual accomplishments on both the national and international fronts. Tham is notable for helping Malaysia’s fight against impending real estate bubble in 2015 and 2016.
The youngest of three children from a family of accountants, Tham’s parents and two sisters are all in that profession; additionally, his father, Stanley, is a feng shui consultant as well. Tham, however, chose to study Estate Management in UM. From the start, Tham’s road to success had been smooth. He received his early schooling from St Michael’s Institution and the Pahang Matriculation College. During that time, he achieved straight As for his UPSR, PMR, SPM and Matriculation exams. In 2011, Tham was a recipient of the Kings’ Scout Award conferred by then-Perak Crown Prince. In UM, Tham represented his varsity in many international events.
He was a member of the first team from a Malaysian university to win the Pacific Rim Real Estate Society’s (PRRES) 2015 International Case Competition in Christchurch, New Zealand. Previously, he was named Best Presenter at the 4th Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) & Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (RISM) International Conference for Undergraduates, and also represented Malaysia in such international English debating tournaments as the United Asian Debating Championships in Manila and the Australasian Debating Competition. Previously, he was named Best Presenter at the 4th Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) & Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (RISM) International Conference for Undergraduates, and also represented Malaysia in such international English debating tournaments as the United Asian Debating Championships in Manila and the Australasian Debating Competition.
Being well-versed in global issues, Tham was chosen to represent Malaysia in the Biennial ASEAN Youth Leaders’ Summit in 2014. Then last year, he triumphed at the Deloitte National Risk Intelligence Challenge Trophy.
Not only was Tham an excellent academic performer, he was also heavily involved in cocurricular activities. While an undergraduate, he was on the Dean’s List for four terms.
Said Tham: “All undergraduates should fully utilise their time on campus by taking part in activities that help their academic as well as character development, mix with people from all backgrounds so as to learn from each other, and engage more in social and welfare-based activities.”
This he demonstrated in his involvement in organising the first UM-FAB Post Disaster Reconstruction Mission to rebuild homes for flood victims in Kelantan, volunteered by rallying students to read for the visually-challenged community in UM, set up a carpooling system to reduce car congestion on campus, was involved in projects to improve faculty amenities for students, and emceed various events.
He was also the student representative in the UM Student’s Council for the 2014/2015 session, was president of the National Union of Real Estate Students in 2013, president of the Real Estate Student Society of UM in 2015, and vice-director of the UM-Assumption University Real Estate Integrated Project to Thailand in 2015.
In recognition of his active participation and leadership excellence, the University awarded Tham its Anugerah Kecemerlangan Akademik Tuanku Bahiyah and Anugerah Pemimpin Gemilang Siswa in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
To cap it off, he received the 2016 Royal Education Award for his excellent leadership skills, co-curricular participation and academic prowess.
Tham was also awarded a research fund from Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia’s largest sovereign wealth fund to conduct research into Real Estate Finance at the height of 2015-2016 real estate bubble in Malaysia, looking into non-performing property loans and macroeconomic factors in Malaysia. His early publications included “Macroeconomic Determinants of Non-performing Property Loans in Malaysia and its Paradoxical Effect” and “Factors Influencing the Malaysian House Price Index”.