Six receive prestigious Merdeka Awards for outstanding contributions to the nation

Six receive prestigious Merdeka Awards for outstanding contributions to the nation

The six exceptional Malaysians were recognised in the fields of education, environment, health, academia, and community outreach

EARLIER today, in conjunction with the 15th anniversary of the Merdeka Award Trust, six recipients were conferred the prestigious 2022 Merdeka Award for fostering a culture of excellence, and for their contributions to Malaysia.

The awards announcement and presentation ceremony were held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, and were attended by Perak ruler Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, who is also Royal Patron and Chairman of the Merdeka Award Trust, and his wife Raja Permaisuri of Perak Tuanku Zara Salim.

Petronas President and Group Chief Executive Officer and Merdeka Award Board of Trustee, Datuk Tengku Muhammad Taufik, said: “The Merdeka Award recognises and rewards those who embody the spirit and heart of ‘Merdeka’ – individuals and organisations who epitomise perseverance, emerging with an enduring purpose to improve the prosperity and progress of our people, as well as the well-being of society at large.”

Those award recipients and what they are being recognised for are:

Education and Community: Teach For Malaysia

Chan Soon Seng, Chief Executive Officer representing Teach For Malaysia. – Pic courtesy of The Merdeka Award

For their outstanding contribution in delivering high-quality education in government schools, especially in rural and underprivileged communities, fueled with a belief that a child’s education and future should not be determined by his or her circumstances in life.

“When we think about the spirit of Merdeka, I believe that it calls on each and every one of us to have the agency to shape the future that we want to be true for Malaysia. So receiving the Merdeka Award means so much to us, because at Teach For Malaysia, we want to see a Malaysia where all children are leaders of their own learning, their future, and the future of our nation.”

Environment: Global Environment Centre (GEC)

Faizal Parish representing Global Environment Centre. – Pic courtesy of The Merdeka Award
For their outstanding contribution in mangrove, peat swamp forest, river and coastal management, climate change programmes and forging community engagement as well as partnerships that help to conserve and protect the environment and natural resources in Malaysia.​

“We need the environment for clean water to drink, clear air to breathe and natural resources to sustain us as well as all other life on earth, and Mother Nature needs us all too – everyone of us here in this ballroom and beyond, to better respect her and be good stewards of her planet.”

Outstanding Scholastic Achievement: Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Siti Zuraina binti Abdul Majid, FASc

Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Siti Zuraina binti Abdul Majid, FASc. – Pic courtesy of The Merdeka Award

For her outstanding contribution as a historian and in being the first ever Malaysian archaeologist as well as driving the efforts for Lenggong Valley to be recognised as a Unesco World Heritage site.​

“This award is also a recognition of Archaeology in Malaysia, a discipline that has grown in the last few decades. It is my hope and my wish that archaeology in Malaysia will continue to maintain excellence through meticulous excavations grounded in archaeological ethics.”

Health, Science and Technology: Datuk Professor Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman

Datuk Professor Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman. – Pic courtesy of The Merdeka Award

For being the driving force behind mitigating the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and structuring policies and responses that led to the prevention, treatment and reduction of HIV/AIDS cases.

“I am deeply humbled by this recognition and want to firstly offer a tribute to all healthcare professionals in Malaysia who in the last two and a half years have worked tirelessly to overcome the horrors of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I would also like to dedicate this award to my colleagues at UM and the Malaysian AIDS Council and Foundation and colleagues at the International AIDS Society for without their dedication, hardwork and support I would not be able to do half the things I do, and for which I end up receiving the accolades – when really it would all not have been possible without all of them.”

Outstanding Contribution to the People of Malaysia: Datuk Dr Annabel Teh Gallop

Academic preservationist Datuk Dr Annabel Teh Gallop. – Pic courtesy of The Merdeka Award

For her outstanding contribution in scholarly research, curation, archiving and preservation of ancient Malay letters and manuscripts, Malay seals and documents which led to the understanding of Malay language as the language of trade and diplomacy throughout the Malay Archipelago, and the illumination of the rich heritage of the Malay world.

“I believe passionately that it is through these written sources, which stand witness to the great moments and developments in Malaysian history, and its interactions with the wider world, that people – all Malaysians – can reach a better understanding of all the waves of influences that came together to create this wonderful country.”

Anugerah Harapan Merdeka: Samuel Isaiah

Samuel Isaiah, who has committed to elevating the standard of education ofr the Orang Asli. – Pic courtesy of The Merdeka Award
This is a new category, just introduced for this year, recognising the efforts of Malaysians who are 40 years old and below, or organisations which have been incepted for less than 10 years, that have contributed to Malaysian society.

Samuel is being recognised for his outstanding contribution as well as commitment in improving and uplifting the standard of education among the Orang Asli children, and in coaching teachers to elevate the overall quality of education for all.

“Today in my work at Pemimpin, we coach and support over 200 schools hoping to bridge the (poverty) gap and to give all our children a chance to fulfil their potential. We are currently working with every Orang Asli school in the state of Perak, hoping to provide better access to quality education for these children.”


The laureates were selected following an extensive search within Malaysia and internationally, with more than 300 highly regarded individuals and organisations evaluated based on their distinction and the sustainable impact in their body of work.

After today’s announcement, a total of 57 individuals, and six organisations have received the Merdeka Award since 2008. Each Merdeka Award category recipient is conferred with a Merdeka Award Trophy, Certificate of Recognition and cash reward, while the Anugerah Harapan Merdeka recipient receives a Certificate of Recognition and cash reward.

Datuk Tengku Muhammad Taufik added: “To all 63 Merdeka Award recipients – including those we celebrate today – as well as those who have supported and collaborated with and stood by them in their endeavours, let us continue the good work and continue to make meaningful and beneficial change in the world.”

source – The Vibes

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