MENTAKAB, November 5 : Some 500 pupils from three schools in Mentakab were given free eye checks last Friday as part of the East Coast Economic Region’s (ECER) empower Crystal Eye Campaign.

empower Crystal Eye, which aims to promote the importance of eye care among primary school students in ECER, was held in collaboration with the Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital. The campaign involved students enrolled under ECER’s empower Temerloh Academic Skills Training Programme.

Officiated by the State Legislative Assembly Member for Mentakab, YB Dato’ Chuah Boon Seong, the participating schools for empower Crystal Eye Campaign were SK Bandar Mentakab, SJK (C) Mentakab and SJK (T) Mentakab.

ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John said the empower Crystal Eye Campaign in Mentakab is an extension of a similar campaign introduced by ECERDC in Raub earlier this year.

“The empower Crystal Eye campaign takes our empower programme a step further by detecting vision problems among the students and helping to correct them at an early age,” Dato’ Issace said.

“This will be a crucial factor in assisting the students to excel in their studies, as poor eyesight could adversely affect their learning process if it remains undetected,” he added.

The ’empower’ programme is part of ECERDC’s social development initiative in ECER which runs parallel with Malaysia’s New Economic Model and aspires to create a high-income society among all Malaysians.

Consisting of Academic Skills Training for students sitting for Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), as well as Skills & Entrepreneurship Training for youths and adults, empower is currently being implemented in eight districts within ECER, namely Bentong, Temerloh, Lipis, Raub and Cameron Highlands in Pahang; Jeli and Bachok in Kelantan; and Kemaman in Terengganu.

Since 2010 to date, empower has already benefitted 10,300 participants, comprising 6,000 students and 4,300 adults who are now achieving better academic performance and enjoying higher additional income.

Early this year, 16 students from the empower Temerloh programme were announced as among the top scorers for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2011 examination.

In less than a year after enrolling in the ECER’s empower programme, Fazlinawati is now earning an additional income of more than RM1,500 per month and has fulfilled her dreams of owning a bakery.

The students were from SMK Mentakab, SMK Lanchang and SMK Seberang Temerloh who scored more than 5A’s in last year’s SPM. Three of them scored 10A’s in the examination, while another four scored 9A’s.