Press Releases

Press Releases


03 DECEMBER 2018
Kuala Lumpur, 3 December 2018 – The Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment 2018, today announced the selection of three outstanding research proposals that will allow the Grant recipients to enrich their learning and research experience.

The three recipients for 2018 are Dr Lee Tian Khoon, 32, Dr Ong Wee Jun, 29 and Aishah Ismail, 29.

The Grant would allow them to pursue a short-term attachment of up to three months to participate in collaborative projects or programmes at internationally-recognised host institutions, corporations, agencies and organisations of their choice.

Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and Royal Patron of the Merdeka Award Trust, His Majesty Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, presented the Grant certificates to the recipients at an announcement ceremony here today.

Undertaking a Post-Doctoral at Fuel Cell Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Dr Lee said: “The goal of my research is to further increase the economic value of rubber. The success of this study will open a whole new market for rubber industries as well as widen the application of rubber as renewable resources.”

Another recipient, Dr Ong is currently an Assistant Professor at the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering, Xiamen University, Malaysia Campus. His research focuses on the solar energy conversion and energy storage to address energy security and environmental issues.

“My research will develop a renewable energy device for large-scale application which sets the stage for a shift from a chemical industry powered by fossil fuels to one powered by the sun,” he said.

He added that the success of this research will lead to Malaysia’s movement toward the use of green technology, by employing next-generation nanomaterials to attain sustainable development and contribute to a high-income economy.

Meanwhile, Aishah’s research focuses on the application of Deep Learning approach in identifying the stroke biomarker.  She hopes to detect the biomarker, through examining the eyes, for an early sign of stroke which will allow for early prevention measures and treatment. 

“Stroke is a key cause of major adult disability and the third largest cause of death in Malaysia. Stroke diagnosis should be done within the first three hours of its onset. Long-hour scanning assessment delays treatment and reduces the patient’s chance of recovery,” she added.
n his speech, PETRONAS President and Group CEO and Founding Member of the Merdeka Award Trust, Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said: “The Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment aims to encourage and cultivate the potential of young talents, and provide inspiration to broaden their expertise, drive greater creativity and purpose.”

“Each year we continue to identify young individuals who have demonstrated a pioneering spirit with their novel ideas and proposals that are relevant in meeting the modern day challenges and needs of the nation and the world,” Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee added.

The Grant was launched in 2012 as a signature programme of the Merdeka Award. To date, a total of 14 young Malaysians have received the Grant, with 11 of them having completed their international attachments.

For more information on the Merdeka Award and its activities, please log on to the following sites:


The Merdeka Award was established by PETRONAS, ExxonMobil and Shell on 27 August 2007, to recognise and reward excellent individuals and organisations whose works and achievements have not only contributed to the nation’s growth but have also inspired greatness in the people of Malaysia 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 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.

Through the Merdeka Award’s other initiatives like the Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment and the Merdeka Meeting, 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.




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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