Prime Minister Presents Merdeka Award To Five Eminent Malaysians

07 FEBRUARY 2014
For Fostering a Culture of Excellence and Contribution to the Nation
The Merdeka Award Trust honoured five eminent Malaysians for their achievements and contributions in their respective fields to the nation and people of Malaysia, awarding them the Merdeka Award, the Nation’s premier award for excellence, at a presentation event held at the Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS in Kuala Lumpur yesterday evening.
This is the sixth year that the Founding Members of the Merdeka Award – PETRONAS, ExxonMobil and Shell - have honoured a group of recipients, following the establishment of the Merdeka Award in 2007, and its first group of recipients in 2008.
The Merdeka Award was presented to the recipients by the Patron of the Merdeka Award, Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, and the Chairman of the Merdeka Award Board of Trustees, His Royal Highness Raja Dr Nazrin Shah Ibni Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah, the Regent of Perak Darul Ridzuan. The Founding Members of the Merdeka Award were represented by Tan Sri Dato’ Shamsul Azhar Abbas, President and Group CEO, PETRONAS; Mr Iain Lo, Chairman, Shell Malaysia; and Puan Fatimah Merican, Business Services Director, ExxonMobil Subsidiaries in Malaysia.

The five recipients for 2013 are:
  1. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Utama Arshad Ayub, Joint Recipient of the 2013 Merdeka Award in the Education and Community Category is for his outstanding contribution in shaping Malaysia’s education landscape through the development of professional education, education reforms and innovation that have resulted in education becoming more accessible to Malaysians.
  1. Raja Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Utama Muhammad Alias Raja Muhammad Ali, Joint Recipient of the 2013 Merdeka Award in the Education and Community Category is for his outstanding contribution to rural development and rural reform through organising successful land settlement projects (FELDA) for the many landless, rural population in Malaysia.
  1. Dr Lim Boo Liat, 2013 Merdeka Award recipient in the Environment Category is for his outstanding contribution to the conservation of Malaysia’s biological diversity through the study, understanding and control of vector-borne diseases and the relationship between diseases and the environment; and for advocating the protection of our natural heritage.
  1. Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Yahya Awang, 2013 Merdeka Award recipient in the Health, Science & Technology Category is for his outstanding contribution to pioneering the development of clinical research and cardiac surgery in Malaysia and for his instrumental role in the establishment of the National Heart Institute (IJN).
  1. Emeritus Professor Dato’ Dr Lam Sai Kit, 2013 Merdeka Award recipient in the Outstanding Scholastic Achievement category is for his outstanding contribution to scholarly research and development in medical virology and emerging infectious diseases including dengue.


There was no award in 2013 in the category of Outstanding Contribution to the People of Malaysia, the only category open to non-Malaysians.
In his speech, the Prime Minister said that the Merdeka Award recipients are distinguished not only by their contribution to the country, but also by their professional and personal excellence. The five 2013 Merdeka Award recipients boast a combined legacy that has benefitted generations of Malaysians, past and present. Their achievements, in education, rural reform, conservation, healthcare and medical research, have made significant contribution to the nation.


The Chairman of the Merdeka Award in his speech highlighted that the remarkable and extraordinary work undertaken by the Award recipients truly exemplify the Spirit of Merdeka, the very essence in pursuing excellence through foresight, determination, courage and perseverance. In congratulating the recipients, Raja Nazrin expressed his hope that the lifelong work of these recipients will continue to inspire and spur Malaysians in their enduring quest for excellence.

The presentation event included acceptance speeches by each of the recipients and performances by the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (MYPO), under the leadership of conductor Ahmad Muriz Che Rose. The MPYO was accompanied by young Malaysian vocalists Suki, Stacy, Alinda and Hazama, apart from Leslie Eli on sape, Mohammad Radzi Rosli on sitar, Nor LeyZam Ali on gambus and Lim Chee Wei on erhu.
Over 500 people attended the presentation ceremony including eminent Malaysians from the corporate, academic, industry, government and non-governmental sectors.
The ceremony marks the completion of the rigorous annual Merdeka Award nomination and selection process both in Malaysia and internationally, of outstanding Malaysians and non-Malaysians who have contributed to the nation, in each of the categories. The process, which began in January each year focuses on achievements and not personalities. In evaluating the achievements, members of the Nomination and Selection committees looked for originality, significant and sustained achievements for their contribution to Malaysia.
Since its establishment in 2007, 22 individuals and two organisations have received the Merdeka Award. Each recipient receives the Merdeka Award Trophy, the Merdeka Award Work of Art, a Certificate of Recognition and a cash award of RM500,000.


Dr Edison Lee Tian Khoon
Dr Edison headed to Sweden’s Uppsala University, where he joined the Department of Chemistry, Ångström Laboratory, as part of his attachment stint. He is currently carrying out active research in polymer electrolyte and nanomaterials for Lithium-ion batteries. Read more about him here:
Innovating the Energy Ecosystem
Chrishen R. Gomez
Having attended the prestigious Ivy League Brown University as part of his attachment programme, 27-year-old Chrishen is now with the Wildlife Research and Conservation Unit at Oxford University. Chrishen is busy developing a genetic-based research project on the Sunda Clouded Leopard. Read more about him here: Conserving Our Forests & Future
Dr Zetty
Dr Zetty is currently working on anti-cancer compounds found in Malaysian seaweed and has continued to pursue her original project proposal of microalgae vaccine carriers for fish. A working solution has been patented by Dr Zetty and will be deployed within the coming year.
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