GEORGE TOWN, Gulzoda Utkurova, a student from Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies (TSUOS) Uzbekistan,was declared as the International Category champion of the 15th Prime Minister’s Cup Bahasa Melayu International Public Speaking Competition (PABM) final held at Dewan Tunku Syed Putra, Universiti Sains Malaysia, last night.

The 19-year-old defeated two other participants, from her home country and China. Utkurova said she has been learning Bahasa Melayu for the past two years through her teacher in Uzbekistan as well as the internet, YouTube, and translated books.

"This is the first time I participated in a Bahasa Melayu speech competition, and I am very happy and did not expect to win in Malaysia. Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way.

"I love Bahasa Melayu given its clear vocabulary and grammar. Learning the language in Malaysia was surprisingly easy for me. In Uzbekistan, where there are few Malaysians, I enhanced my language skills through extensive use of the internet and translated books," she told reporters after the prize-giving ceremony.

The event was officiated by the Minister of Higher Education Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

Meanwhile, the runner-up in the same category was Sarvinoz Akramova Abdulvohid Qizi, 20, also from Uzbekistan and TSUOS, while the third place went to Sun Zichang (China) from Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU).

The International Category in Malaysia champion title went to Timor-Leste’s Carla Goncalves de Oliveira Sarmento, 33, who is currently studying at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

The chemical engineering PhD student said it took her five years to master Bahasa Melayu, and this was her second time participating in the competition.

"In 2021, I made it to the Top 10. I kept learning Bahasa Melayu to enrich my vocabulary and comprehension, and tonight, I finally emerged as the champion," she added.

Abuelgasim Saadeldin Mansour Mohamed from Sudan, currently enrolled at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), was the runner-up, while Faizal Muhammad from Bangladesh, a student at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), secured third place, in the same category.

Meanwhile, in the Malay World Category, the champion title was secured by the participant from Malaysia, Muhammad Mukhlisul Mubin Julasapiyah from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). The runner-up was also another local participant, Ivanatasha Abdul Majid from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), followed by Abdul Mujib Awang Sh'minan from Brunei, a student of Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) Brunei in third place.

The champion of each category took home a trophy, RM10,000 cash, while the runner-up and third place winners received RM8,000 and RM5,000

Source: BERNAMA News Agency