The Merdeka Award is given on the basis of the merit of achievement of the individual or organisation, without regard to race, creed, gender or ideology. To be considered as a candidate, there are certain eligibility considerations to be fulfilled:
- All Award categories, except for Outstanding Contribution to the People of Malaysia Award category, are open solely to the citizens of Malaysia, whether residing in Malaysia or abroad, and any Malaysian institution or organisation. The Outstanding Contribution to the People of Malaysia Award category is open solely to non-Malaysian citizens and/or non-Malaysian organisations.
- All candidates must be living persons. An exception may be made only when the nominee's death occurs after the final award decision by the Board of Trustees.
- Self-nominations will not be accepted or considered. Only candidates recommended in writing by the Nominators shall be considered for any Award category. All nominations must be accompanied by sufficient supporting documentation to allow for meaningful evaluation.
Upon meeting the eligibility criteria, the candidates are then subjected to a thorough nomination and selection process.
There are 22 individuals appointed by the Board of Trustees to serve as Nominators, populating the various Nomination Committees and the Selection Committee. These individuals are independent of the Founders and the Trustees and are credible, competent and knowledgeable in their various fields – serving to lend their insight and experience into the nomination and selection process.
Selection of Award Recipient
The Board of Trustees shall decide on the Award recipient for each of the Award categories from the list of recommended nominees. Any decision made by the Board of Trustees shall be deemed final.