Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim.
Assalamualaikum warahmatullah hibawarakatuh
Salam Sejahtera and Good Evening.
We are gathered here this evening to recognise six individuals for their commitment and resourcefulness in the pursuit of excellence and for helping to raise the nation’s profile in the international arena.
These individuals have been willing to take risks, learn from failure, act with integrity, nurture their expertise, follow their passion and pursue their dreams through hard work and sacrifice.
2014 MERDEKA AWARD RECIPIENTS
The 2014 Merdeka Award recipients are as follows:
The recipient in the Education and Community category is Dato’ Mohd Nor Khalid, also known as Lat, for his outstanding contribution in promoting Malaysia’s cultural identity through the use of cartoons and in promoting understanding and respect among Malaysia’s diverse ethnic communities.
The recipient in the Environment category is Encik Mohd Khan Momin Khan, for his outstanding contribution to wildlife research and conservation through the setting up of captive breeding centres as well as for pioneering and successfully managing the human-wildlife conflict in affected areas. Encik Mohd Khan Momin Khan recently published a series of books on Malaysia’s Big Five. The books are a tribute to efforts in wildlife conservation in Malaysia and feature indigenous wildlife such as the elephant, tapir, rhinoceros, seladang, and tiger, all of which are threatened or endangered.
In the Health, Science and Technology category the recipient is Datuk Dr Choo Yuen May, for her outstanding contribution in the development of novel, efficient and green processes for the palm-based industry through research and commercialisation of various technologies.
We have two recipients in the Outstanding Scholastic Achievement category. They are:
Professor Dr Abdul Latif Ahmad, for his outstanding contribution to the scholarly research and development of technologies in the areas of polymer science, wastewater treatment and membrane separation technology. Professor Latif received the Outstanding Research Award from the Ministry of Education based on the results of his research which are often cited in high-impact scientific journals.
And Professor Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, for his outstanding contribution to the scholarly research and development of technologies in membrane performance for both gas separation, and water and wastewater treatment. Professor Fauzi was given the Innovator of the Year Award by the Institute of Chemical Engineers, United Kingdom, which recognises innovation and excellence in chemical engineering.
And the recipient in the category of Outstanding Contribution to the People of Malaysia is Dato Sri Gathorne, the Earl of Cranbrook, for his outstanding contribution in pioneering research and conservation of Malaysia’s forest biodiversity and the ecology and biology of Malaysian mammals and birds, and for advocating environmental conservation.
With these recipients, 28 individuals and two (2) organisations have received the Merdeka Award since it was established in 2007.
As we edge closer towards becoming a high-income nation, the need for the younger generation of Malaysians to rise up and take the helm in shaping the nation is becoming increasingly crucial.
The Merdeka Award is supported by signature initiatives, one of which is the Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment, a short-term grant designed to make it possible for qualified young Malaysians between the ages of 22 and 35 to engage in collaborative programmes at selected, globally-recognised host institutions.
The grant, launched in 2012, creates the opportunity for recipients to establish contact and working relationships with other experts in their fields, share knowledge, and upon their return, use these relationships and expertise to build on the body of work in their area of research.
Two grants are offered annually in selected areas – Education and Community, Environment as well as Health, Science and Technology.
In September, the Merdeka Award Trust announced two individuals as recipients of the Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment for 2014.
They are Dr Kamalan Jeevaratnam, who is head of physiology at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland-Perdana University in Malaysia, and Dr Lim Hong Ngee, Senior Lecturer at Universiti Putra Malaysia.
The recipients will have the opportunity to undergo an attachment of up to three months at an internationally-recognised institution of their choice to pursue their research on cardiac cellular therapy using stem cells and nanotechnology-based breast cancer testing scheme, respectively.
Through this, and other signature initiatives like the Merdeka Award Roundtable, a series of TV talk-shows, 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 player in sectors ranging from science and technology to the arts.
Before I conclude, I would like to acknowledge and thank members of the Merdeka Award Board of Trustees – Tan Sri Dato’ Shamsul Azhar Abbas, President & Group CEO of PETRONAS; Mr See Kok Yew, Chairman of the ExxonMobil Subsidiaries in Malaysia; Mr Iain Lo, Chairman of Shell Malaysia; Dato’ Henry Sackville Barlow; and Professor Emeritus Datin Dr Norella Kong, for their counsel and support.
I would also like to thank the 22 members of the Merdeka Award Nomination and Selection committees, all of whom are distinguished industry leaders in their own right.
Thank you and have a pleasant evening.