Inspiring debate at the Merdeka Award Roundtables

19 AUGUST 2011, BY The Star
The Merdeka Award Roundtables presents a series of inspiring discussion on issues of interest to the nation.
THE Merdeka Award would be holding a series of TV talk shows, called the Merdeka Award Roundtables, in an effort to inspire debate and discussion on key issues of interest to Malaysians.
The first of these Roundtables, hosted in partnership with broadcaster Astro, will be aired tomorrow on Astro Awani (Ch 501) at 8.30pm, and will centre on the topic “The Spirit Of Merdeka: Nurturing A Nation Of Visionaries”.
Announcing the inaugural broadcast recently, Mohammad Medan Abdullah, Secretary to the Board of Trustees of the Merdeka Award, said: “The Merdeka Award is Malaysia’s foremost award to recognise outstanding contribution to the people of Malaysia. It is therefore apt that we not just present the award annually to deserving recipients, but also create opportunities that will inspire Malaysians to think about how they too can play a role in the development of our country.
“A Roundtable such as this, which brings together leading figures from Malaysia’s corporate, academic and social spheres, is the ideal platform for us to discuss issues which are critical to the future of this nation. We hope to hold a series of similar Roundtables through the course of the year, with each event featuring a topic for discussion that is current and timely, and that resonates with Malaysians, especially the post-Merdeka generation, who are the future of Malaysia,” Mohammad Medan said in a press release.
As such, the distillation, discussion and debate of the topic through the Merdeka Award Roundtables brings to life the spirit of the Merdeka Award – the liberation of mind and spirit, and the pursuit of excellence.
“It is about raising human potential for Malaysia’s progress and development. Viewers can certainly expect an honest, animated and in-depth discussion on thought-provoking topics amongst a panel of opinion leaders who are visionaries in their own right,” said Mohammad Medan.
The Merdeka Award Roundtables will feature a panel of respected thought leaders from different arenas and industries in the country, who will provide interesting insights and views on the topic.
Hosted by TV and radio personality Norina Yahya, the first Merdeka Award Roundtables will feature writer and social commentator Dina Zaman, Merdeka Award recipient and Professor at Department of Physics University of Malaya Harith Ahmad; member of the Merdeka Award Board of Trustees and historian Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Datuk Dr Khoo Kay Kim; secretary to the Merdeka Award Board of Trustees Mohammad Medan and managing director of global management consulting firm the HAY Group Tharuma Rajah.
Commenting on the partnership, Henry Tan, COO of Astro said: “Astro aspires to enrich lives of Malaysians with the best of international, regional and local content, including intelligent debate and discourse on issues affecting all Malaysians to the far reaches of the country via the Merdeka Award Roundtables. We are pleased to support the Merdeka Award Roundtables, as it complements the Astro Awani philosphy – of providing in-depth analysis and balanced coverage of news and current affairs.
“In celebration of Malaysia’s 54th Independence Day celebrations, Astro customers will be able to enjoy more than 50 new premieres emphasising the best of 1Malaysia through the ‘Negaraku, The Best Of 1Malaysia’ campaign, showcasing titles such as In Person: Unsung Heroes on Astro Awani, Arena Sukan: DYMM Sultan Azlan and Marina Chin on Astro Arena (Ch 801),” he added.
The one-hour Merdeka Award Roundtables will be broadcast tomorrow on Astro Awani at 8.30pm, with repeats scheduled for Aug 21, 22, 27 and Sept 15.
The Merdeka Award recipients for 2011 will be announced on Aug 22 by the Merdeka Award Board of Trustees, represented by the Chairman of the Board and President of Petronas Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas. Award presentations will be held on Oct 10.
About the Merdeka Award
The award was established by its founders, namely Petronas, ExxonMobil and Shell on Aug 27, 2007, to recognise those 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 which 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: Education and Community, Environment, Health, Science and Technology, Outstanding Scholastic Achievement and Outstanding Contribution to the People of Malaysia.
The award categories reflect focus areas that are regarded as instrumental to the overall growth and development of a nation. One award will be give for each of the five categories stated.
In the event that in a given year, two individuals and/or organisations 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.


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