Rising from humble beginnings Siti Kamariah Ahmad Subki showed how a deep sense of responsibility as a daughter and love could create a powerful will to succeed in life.
Siti Kamariah, who grew up at a low-cost flat at Section 16 Shah Alam, used to help her mother sell nasi lemak and curry puffs and had to wake up as early four in the morning since she was nine years old. She would make curry puffs from scratch within two hours before heading to school at 7.30am.
A KYSER from the class of 1997, she is now the Chief Executive Officer at Selangor Women Empowerment Institute (IWB) as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF). Prior to serving these roles, she is a charted accountant who had a career in PwC, Khazanah and the United Nations.
In a Facebook post, Siti Kamariah describes how she had to sell nasi lemak in the housing and factory areas. Her experience helping her mother taught her the importance of organisation, in preparing well before the start of business. She would ensure that all the tongs, plastic bags are ready, had to carry heavy groceries and count “super fast”.
Despite having to work, she did not neglect her studies and would do her homework and revisions at the stall.
These were my superpowers. I truly believed it.Siti Kamariah
Siti Kamariah learnt the value of money and responsibility towards her parents at an early age. At seven years old, she won a prize of stationery and books for achieving straight A’s in an examination. She felt pleased as it had lightened the burden of her father who worked at a factory, as that saved RM11 from his hard-earned money.
Soon, all of the siblings entered every contest possible attempting to win prizes, so that their parents would not have to work as hard as they usually do. As a result, these “small” wins would allow their father to come home a little earlier.
Siti Kamariah was later awarded the Yayasan Saad Scholarship and pursued a fully sponsored education in Kolej Yayasan Saad in 1996.
Her humble beginnings and education experience form part of a transformative journey that sealed her future as an impactful individual in the corporate world and the larger community.