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Press Releases

Merdeka Award honours 7 outstanding individuals at 2018 award presentation ceremony

3 September 2018, Kuala Lumpur – Seven distinguished individuals were honoured with the prestigious 2018 Merdeka Award for their inspiring achievements and outstanding contributions to the nation and the people of Malaysia.
His Royal Highness Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, the Sultan of Perak Darul Ridzuan and the Royal Patron of the Merdeka Award Trust, presented the Merdeka Award to the seven recipients at the Award announcement and presentation ceremony today.
His Royal Highness Sultan Nazrin was accompanied by Datuk Ahmad Nizam Salleh, Chairman of PETRONAS; and Founding Members of the Merdeka Award, Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, President & Group CEO of PETRONAS; Mr Edward E Graham, President of ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Malaysia Inc and Chairman of the ExxonMobil Subsidiaries in Malaysia; and Datuk Iain Lo, Chairman of Shell Malaysia.
Attended by people from various sectors and industries, the event celebrated and recognised the recipients’ significant achievements and contributions to local and global communities, in their respective fields.
In his speech, Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee said that it has been 11 years since the Merdeka Award was first established in 2007 by PETRONAS, ExxonMobil and Shell. “As we progressed on this journey of nationhood, many individuals and organisations have played their part to give form and meaning to our independence, in their own unique ways.
“Some have added immensely to the store of human understanding and scientific knowledge, some have pursued their passions and gave voice and expression to the Malaysian identity, some have led social causes that have uplifted the lives of many, and some have left lasting legacies that continue to deliver dividends to the society at large. These are ordinary people, who have gone above and beyond to perform extraordinary feats. And the Merdeka Award is a fitting salute to their achievements”, he said.
The Merdeka Award is Malaysia’s most prestigious award for excellence, conferred to outstanding individuals and organisations that embody the “Spirit of Merdeka” in their pursuit of excellence.
Each year, the nomination and selection process is administered by the Merdeka Award Board of Trustees and 22 members from six (6) committees. It involves a rigorous and stringent appraisal process that reflects the high standard of the Merdeka Award.

The recipients of the 2018 Merdeka Award by categories are:

  • Education and Community: HASSAN ABDUL MUTHALIB
For outstanding contribution as the pioneer and earliest influence in the local animation world through his folktale-inspired works and his leadership role in developing educational framework on artistic importance of animation in the country.
  • Environment: Engr GURMIT SINGH K S
For outstanding contribution through his activism, advocacy works and leadership role in the promotion of sustainable environment and combatting climate change in Malaysia.
  • Health, Science and Technology: PROFESSOR DR MOHD HAIR BEJO (Joint Recipient)
For outstanding contribution and his instrumental role in advancing efforts towards sustainable food production through the development and commercialisation of chicken disease vaccines in treating Gumboro disease that benefits the poultry industry in Malaysia and internationally.  

  • Health, Science and Technology: DATO' DR GAN EE KIANG (Joint Recipient)
For outstanding contribution in his pioneering work in developing a successful, exemplary commercial model for R&D for Malaysia’s universities, and through his extensive work and leadership role in the fields for clinical pharmacology, pharmaceutical sciences and drug-related research in the country.
  • Outstanding Scholastic Achievement: EMERITUS PROFESSOR TAN SRI DATUK DR KHOO KAY KIM (Joint Recipient)
For outstanding contribution to the scholarly research, development of reinterpretation of Malaysian history and lifetime dedication in history education in the country that has shaped the post-independence study of history in modern Malaysia.

  • Outstanding Scholastic Achievement: DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR DR RAJAH RASIAH (Joint Recipient)
For outstanding contribution in his scholarly research and development of theoretical macroeconomic framework in the promotion of sustainable development, by pioneering the conceptualisation, measurement and application of innovation theory and the framing of innovation policy for developing countries. 
  • Outstanding Contribution to the People of Malaysia: ANDREW JAMES EAVIS
For outstanding contribution in his pioneering work in the areas of geomorphology and cave survey through the Mulu Cave Projects with the Royal Geographical Society Expedition, and the discovery of the Sarawak Chamber, leading to extended research on rainforest habitats and ecosystem, and establishing international collaborations for scientific and nature expeditions.

With today’s announcement a total of 51 individuals, and two organisations have received the Merdeka Award. Each award category confers a Merdeka Award Trophy, Certificate of Recognition, and cash award.



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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