6 hon­oured with Merdeka Awards

> Out­stand­ing in­di­vid­u­als recog­nised for con­tri­bu­tions to coun­try


KUALA LUMPUR: Six in­di­vid­u­als were recog­nised for their con­tri­bu­tions to the coun­try when they were ac­corded the Merdeka Award yes­ter­day by the Sul­tan of Perak, Sul­tan Nazrin Muiz­zud­din Shah.

For­mer Bank Is­lam Malaysia manag­ing direc­tor Datuk Dr Ab­dul Halim Is­mail re­ceived the award un­der the Ed­u­ca­tion and Com­mu­nity cat­e­gory for his role in estab­lish­ing the first Is­lamic Bank in Malaysia, which led to the de­vel­op­ment and growth of the Is­lamic bank­ing, in­sur­ance and fi­nance sec­tors na­tion­ally and in the re­gion.

He had left the aca­demic field to ap­ply his skills and knowl­edge in a more prag­matic and ac­tion­able ca­reer, which put him on the path to be­com­ing one of the lead­ing Is­lamic bankers.

“Un­til as re­cently as the 1990s, Mus­lims were fac­ing a dilemma in the con­ven­tional or West­ern way of bank­ing. This dilemma arose be­cause in Is­lamic laws, charg­ing in­ter­est is for­bid­den. This caused Mus­lims to stay away from con­ven­tional bank­ing in­sti­tutes.”

The es­tab­lish­ment of Is­lamic banks and Taka­ful In­sur­ance earned the trust of Mus­lims, he added.

Un­der the En­vi­ron­ment cat­e­gory, for­mer chair­man of the Sabah Tourism Board Datuk Seri Dr Tengku Zainal Adlin Tengku Ma­hamood was awarded for his con­tri­bu­tion to wildlife and for­est con­ser­va­tion in Malaysia and the re­gion.

He ini­ti­ated the con­ser­va­tion of the Danum Val­ley and Maliau Basin in Sabah by the Sabah Foun­da­tion, and even has a species of the Raf­fle­sia flower named af­ter him, the Raf­fle­sia tengku-adlinii.

Tengku Zainal’s ef­forts through field­work, ed­u­ca­tion, ad­vo­cacy, pol­icy and in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion saw him fea­tured in Forbes Global as “The Sabah Eco War­rior”.

Un­der the Health, Science and Tech­nol­ogy cat­e­gory, pro­fes­sor of Molec­u­lar Par­a­sitol­ogy at the Malaria Re­search Cen­tre in Univer­siti Malaysia Sarawak, Prof Dr Bal­bir Singh Mo­han Singh, and direc­tor of the Jes­sel­ton Med­i­cal Cen­tre In­fec­tious and Trop­i­cal Dis­eases De­part­ment in Kota Kinabalu, Dr Ti­mothy Wil­liam, were jointly given the award for their con­tri­bu­tions to the pi­o­neer­ing work and dis­cov­ery of a new strain of malaria, Plas­mod­ium knowlesi.

The dis­cov­ery of this po­ten­tially fa­tal zoonotic dis­ease has changed the way it is man­aged glob­ally.

Chair­man of the Na­tional Pro­fes­sors Coun­cil (Univer­sity of Malaya Chap­ter), Prof Dr Masjuki Hasan, was ac­corded the Out­stand­ing Scholas­tic Achieve­ment award for his re­search in en­gi­neer­ing and en­ergy science, and his role in the re­search and de­vel­op­ment of bio­fuel and other sources of ef­fi­cient en­ergy and au­to­mo­tive en­gines.

In the Out­stand­ing Con­tri­bu­tion to the Peo­ple of Malaysia cat­e­gory for for­eign in­di­vid­u­als or or­gan­i­sa­tions for their work in Malaysia, for­mer Tun Hus­sein Onn Chair of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies at the In­sti­tute of Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, Prof Dr An­thony Crothers Mil­ner, was awarded for his work in re­search and ed­u­ca­tion in Malaysian his­tory and his role in fos­ter­ing in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tions.

Also present at the event were the Raja Per­maisuri of Perak Tuanku Zara Salim, Petronas chair­man Tan Sri Sidek Has­san, as well as its pres­i­dent and group chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Wan Zulk­i­flee Wan Arif­fin.

Since the es­tab­lish­ment of the Merdeka Award on Aug 27, 2007 by Petronas, ExxonMo­bil and Shell, 44 re­cip­i­ents and two or­gan­i­sa­tions have re­ceived the hon­ours.

Each cat­e­gory con­fers a Merdeka Award Tro­phy, Merdeka Award Work of Art, a certificate and a cash prize of RM500,000.

Kechara Soup Kitchen staff and vol­un­teers pre­sent­ing sundry goods to fam­i­lies.


Sul­tan Nazrin (fifth from right) and Wan Zulk­i­fli (fourth from right) with the award re­cip­i­ents last night at the Petronas Phil­har­monic Hall in Kuala Lumpur.

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