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Prime Minister of Malaysia Presents The Merdeka Award To Three Outstanding Malaysians

For excellence and lasting contributions to the people of Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Monday, October 10, 2011:

Today, three eminent Malaysians were presented the Merdeka Award, the nation’s highest award for excellence, by its Patron, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak.  This is the fourth year that the Merdeka Award recipients have been honoured, following the establishment of the Merdeka Award in 2007, and its first group of recipients in 2008.

The recipients of the 2011 Merdeka Award are Dato’ Dr Kenneth Yeang, in the Environment Category, for outstanding contribution to the development of design methods for the ecological design and planning of the built environment; and two joint recipients in the category of Outstanding Scholastic Achievement -- Professor Dato’ Dr Goh Khean Lee, for outstanding contribution in elevating the study and practice of gastroenterology and hepatology in Malaysia to global standards, and to Professor Dr Mak Joon Wah, for outstanding fundamental and applied research in parasitology and parasitic diseases, public health and pathology.  Each was conferred the Merdeka Award for their outstanding and lasting contributions to the nation and the people of Malaysia in their respective fields.

In making the award, the Merdeka Award would also like to reiterate that the continued success and reputation of the Merdeka Award, to a large extent, is determined by the selection of the achievements and standing of the recipients each year.

Therefore, members of the Board of Trustees, Selection Committee and Nomination Committees play a crucial role in building and sustaining the reputation of this Award, which is created to be independent, objective and fair.

Equally important, the nomination and selection process focuses on achievements and not personalities. While the Award recipients should be able to bring prestige and credibility to the Award, the accomplishments of the Award recipients are given more prominence.  

The selection of the Merdeka Award laureates for 2011 commenced when members of the five Nomination Committees begin identifying, deliberating, short-listing and recommending deserving candidates in the five categories of Education & Community; Health, Science & Technology; Environment; Outstanding Scholastic Achievement and Outstanding Contribution to the People of Malaysia. The latter is the only category open to non-Malaysians.

In evaluating the achievements, members of the Nomination and Selection committees looked for original, significant and sustained contribution to Malaysia and the people of Malaysia.

Following the submission from the various Nomination Committees, the Selection Committee deliberated the merits of the candidates and recommended a final list to the Board of Trustees, who is responsible for the final selection of the Award recipients.

The nomination and selection process is structured in such a way to ensure that the integrity of the selection of recipients is not compromised with each committee working confidentially and independently of the other committees.

In doing so, they are guided by the founding ideals and statutes of the Merdeka Award in ensuring that every aspect of the candidate’s achievements, as well as the impact of their work on the nation and its people is examined carefully.   This is imperative to ensure that the noble purpose and integrity of the Merdeka Award is safeguarded and that the Award is only presented to those individuals and organisations whose achievements are truly remarkable.

Their work culminates one year of hard work in the search for excellence, and it is hoped that the search will continue to inspire and help Malaysians to compete in today’s ever-changing and challenging world. 

Above and beyond the accolade and the substantial prize money that comes with it, it is also our hope that the Merdeka Award will earn its recipients a place in history as individuals and organisations, which have truly gone beyond the call of duty. They have, in the course of their work, demonstrated the true Spirit of Merdeka – the liberation of mind and spirit and the pursuit of excellence.

The Board of Trustees also believe that it is imperative that each year the recipients of the Merdeka Award set a benchmark for the selection of future recipients so that all the laureates will serve as role models for Malaysians in general and the younger generation in particular.

For 2011, there was no award conferred in the categories of Education & Community; Health, Science & Technology; and Outstanding Contribution to the People of Malaysia. 

Merdeka Award Grant

In conjunction with the 2011 Merdeka Award Presentation ceremony, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak also announced the establishment of the Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment, a newly instituted programme by the Merdeka Award.

The Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment is designed to make it possible for qualified Malaysians, between the ages 22 -35 to engage in short-term collaborative projects/programmes at a selected, internationally-recognised host institution. Ultimately it is to help the recipient build on his or her expertise by undergoing a learning experience in an institution or organisation of international repute, and improving upon their body of work and achievements. 

More details on the Merdeka Award Grant, and information on eligibility and application will be made available soon through the media.  Briefings will also be held at public and private institutions of higher learning to encourage participation.

On-going Merdeka Award Initiatives

In the past year, the Merdeka Award has continued to work hard to create greater public awareness of the Merdeka Award and to gradually build its presence as an integral part of the fabric of Malaysian life, ever-conscious of the Merdeka Award’s founding ideals as a means of honouring the legacy and indomitable spirit of the nation’s founding fathers, whose lives and deeds exemplified determination, selflessness and sincerity in leading this nation to self determination.

In line with the Merdeka Award’s aim of inspiring Malaysians, especially the younger generation, to excel in their respective fields of endeavour, the Merdeka Award initiated a television talk show called the Merdeka Award Roundtables in partnership with satellite network ASTRO.  The talk shows are organised to discuss topics of national interest, in line with the Award’s objective of inspiring Malaysians to achieve excellence not just locally but also globally.

The show allows for different views to be shared on the given topic in an atmosphere of constructive and open discussion and debate. 

The Roundtables will be held periodically throughout the course of the year, each featuring a topic for discussion that is current and relevant and one that resonates with Malaysians, especially the post-Merdeka generation.

Other activities include employee engagement activities with the employees of the three founding partners – PETRONAS, ExxonMobil and Shell – as well as on-going educational and publicity efforts through mainstream and online media.

Issued by:
THE MERDEKA AWARD SECRETARIAT
October 10, 2011

For further information, please contact:

Merdeka Award Secretariat
Tini Syed Sultan | Rabithah Zakaria | 03 2331 4543

AllAboutBrands Communications:
Sue D’Cruz | 019 321 3607 | suedcruz@gmail.com
Marina Abdullah | 012 206 3670 | marinaann2000@yahoo.com
Jeninder Gill | 012 233 0124 | jenny@sambalab.com

 

ABOUT THE 2011 MERDEKA AWARD RECIPIENTS

Dato’ Dr Kenneth Yeang
2011 Merdeka Award – Environment

Dato’ Dr Kenneth Yeang is recipient of the 2011 Merdeka Award in the Environment Category, for his outstanding contribution to the development of design methods for the ecological design and planning of the built environment, very much ahead of the times.

For more than three decades, Dr Yeang has pioneered the application of ecological principles to passive, low energy, tall buildings, known as bioclimatic skyscrapers.

His sustainable design initiatives strive for the ultimate ecological objective of integrating design systems seamlessly and gently within the natural environment.

Dr Yeang’s expertise and work has resulted in international recognition. In 2008 he was hailed as one of the 50 people who “will save the planet” by the UK Guardian newspaper’s weekend magazine.

Dr Yeang’s landmark buildings include the Spire Edge Tower in Gugaon, Delhi, India; the National Library in Singapore; and the DiGi Technical Operation Centre and several buildings for Mesiniaga in Malaysia.

As a researcher, Dr Yeang has authored several books that have become benchmark publications on ecological design for architects, academics and students of architecture. He also communicates his ideas and work on eco-design to architectural students through lectures and teaching workshops at universities in over 30 countries.

Dr Yeang has received numerous international awards including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the Singapore National Parks Skyrise Greenery Award.

Professor Dr Mak Joon Wah
2011 Merdeka Award – Joint Recipient, Outstanding Scholastic Achievement

Professor Dr Mak Joon Wah is one of two recipients of the 2011 Merdeka Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement for outstanding fundamental and applied research in parasitology and parasitic diseases, public health and pathology.

Professor Mak has contributed immensely to the basic and applied knowledge of tropical diseases as evidenced in the 337 publications he has authored or co-authored. He has played an influential role in the development of tropical medicine in the country through leadership positions in various professional bodies.

He is recognised as a global expert in filariasis and malaria by the World Health Organisation (WHO) having been appointed as a consultant on at least 17 different occasions.

Professor Mak is currently Dean of the Postgraduate Studies Department at the International Medical University and also a Fellow of the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia.

Professor Dato’ Dr Goh Khean Lee
2011 Merdeka Award – Joint Recipient, Outstanding Scholastic Achievement

Professor Dato’ Dr Goh Khean Lee is one of two recipients of the 2011 Merdeka Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement for his outstanding contribution in elevating the study and practice of gastroenterology and hepatology in Malaysia to global standards.

Professor Dato’ Dr Goh is a Clinical Specialist in Internal Medicine at the University of Malaya, and a prolific writer and researcher. To-date he has published 191 peer reviewed full papers in international journals, 7 book chapters and 200 published abstracts.

He is also one of the few academicians in the medical field to have obtained a doctoral degree; his thesis on “Helicobacter pylori in Malaysia” is considered seminal work and has been widely cited throughout the world.

ABOUT THE MERDEKA AWARD

The Merdeka Award was established by its Founders, namely PETRONAS, ExxonMobil and Shell on 27 August 2007, to recognise and reward Malaysians and non-Malaysians who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to the nation and the people of Malaysia in their respective fields. 

The choice of name, Merdeka Award, reflects the Founding Members’ aim to commemorate the true spirit of independence, which transcends the conventional definition of national sovereignty. It explores the liberation of the mind and spirit – factors that foster the realisation of human potential and the pursuit of excellence.

Each year, the annual Merdeka Award is conferred on individuals and/or organisations whose excellent work and achievements have made an outstanding impact on the nation and its people in the following categories, namely Education and Community; Environment; Health, Science and Technology; Outstanding Scholastic Achievement; and Outstanding Contribution to the People of Malaysia.

The selection of Merdeka Award recipients is made through a stringent and rigorous process, conducted first by the Merdeka Award’s five Nomination Committees, and then by the Selection Committee.  The final recipients are selected by the Merdeka Award Board of Trustees.

In 2011, the Merdeka Award welcomed 22 new committee members, made up of eminent individuals from Malaysia and abroad, each bringing with them a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise to allow them to nominate and select outstanding individuals and organisations who have laboured tirelessly, with great sincerity and conviction, thereby demonstrating the true Spirit of Merdeka.

The Award categories reflect focus areas that are regarded as instrumental to the overall growth and development of a nation. One Award will be made for each of the five categories above. In the event that in a given year, two individuals and/or organizations are deemed to be equally deserving of recognition, the Award will be shared. The Merdeka Award Recipient will be awarded with a certificate, a trophy and prize money of RM500,000.

To date, a total of 14 individuals and 2 organisations have received the Merdeka Award since it was established in 2007.

Through this and the Merdeka Award’s other initiatives like the recently launched Merdeka Award Roundtable, the Merdeka Award aims to promote thought leadership and innovation, foster a culture of excellence and encourage a world view, thereby enhancing Malaysia’s standing as a dynamic, competitive 21st century Global Player in all key sectors from science and technology to the arts.

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