Seven six years old Gurmit Singh KS, the environmentalist said to be famous for his take-it-to-the-streets activism, has received yet another recognition for his contribution to the environment.
Gurmit is one of the seven recipients of the 2018 Merdeka Award. He was recognised for his contribution in the field of environment.
Historian and academician Prof Emeritus Dr Khoo Kay Kim and University Malaya economist Prof Dr Rajah Rasiah received the award for outstanding scholastic achievement.
The others were ‘Father of Malaysia’s Animation’ Hassan Abd Muthalib (education and community category); Universiti Putra Malaysia Dean of Veterinary Medicine Faculty, Professor Dr Mohd Hair Bejo, and pharmacologist Datuk Dr Gan Ee Kiang (health, science and technology category); and British cave explorer Andrew James Eavis (outstanding contribution to the people of Malaysia category).
Established by the oil and gas giants in Malaysia, Petronas, ExxonMobil and Shell in 2007, the Merdeka Award recognises and rewards Malaysians and non-Malaysians who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to the country and its people.
To date, 49 individuals, including this year’s recipients, as well as two organisations, have been conferred the prestigious award.
In 2017, Prof Dr Balbir Singh was one of the award recipients. Dr Balbir from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and Dr Timothy William were jointly awarded the award under the Health, Science and Technology category for their incredible contribution to the discovery and pioneering work on a new course of human malaria, plasmodium knowlesi.
Born in 1942 to Punjabi parents in Japanese-occupied Malaya, Gurmit founded two pioneering NGOs — Environmental Protection Society, Malaysia (EPSM) and Centre for Environment, Technology and Development, Malaysia (CETDEM).
Despite his tumultuous relationship with the authorities, he was conferred the Langkawi Environmental Award in 1993, according to the publishier’s note of his book, Memoirs of a Malaysian Eco-Activist, released in 2017.