Five Deserving Malaysians Receive Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment

Kuala Lumpur, 16 August 2019 – The Merdeka Award Trust announced today that five exceptional young Malaysians will receive the prestigious Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment 2019.

The recipients are Dr Mohd Azri Ab Rani, 35,  Juliana Ooi Sue May, 34, Dr Yanny Marliana  Baba Ismail, 33, Feng Ying Xing, 29 and Chrishen R. Gomez, 25.

Sultan of Perak Darul Ridzuan and Royal Patron of the Merdeka Award Trust, His Royal Highness Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Al-Maghfur-Lah, presented the Grant certificates to the recipients at an announcement ceremony here today.

In his keynote address, Sultan Nazrin said: “One of the most rewarding aspects of presenting the grant each year is getting to be part of this next step in the journey of a young Malaysian, in pursuit of his or her aspirations. I am greatly heartened by their energy and by their determination to make a diference in the world.”

In recognising the effort of the Founders of the Merdeka Award Trust, Sultan Nazrin said that the work of young researchers cannot be done in isolation, but requires the collective support from various organisations in the private and public sectors through funding and collaboration opportunities.

PETRONAS President and Group CEO, and Founding Member of the Merdeka Award Trust, Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin added that the pioneering spirit of Merdeka that drove the country’s growth should be encouraged among our young Malaysians as we move towards the future.

“The Merdeka Award Grant aims to recognise and nurture promising young Malaysians to cultivate their potential to be thought leaders with the spirit for innovation and a culture of excellence, the Grant is today, a signature programme of the Merdeka Award Trust and will be awarded biennially and alternated with the Merdeka Award each year,” he said.

To date, a total of 14 young Malaysians have been selected for the Grant with 11 of them having completed their international attachments. Three recipients who received the Grant in 2018 will be pursuing their attachments later this year.

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

Recipients of the 2019 Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment
Dr Mohd Azri Ab Rani, a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Applied Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA. Dr Azri plans to go to Oxford University to continue his research which focuses on batteries for the future; the birth of Na+ batteries.

“My research intends to make the chemicals and related applications both environmentally and economically sustainable. I also intend to focus on producing batteries that are low cost as well as reduce accidents caused by conventional solvents in existing batteries,”  he added.

Juliana Ooi, who is pursuing a social enterprise project in reproductive and social health, aims to produce a tool kit to assist young parents in educating their children on social health.She plans to do her attachment at the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong and also Switzerland.

“The use of this tool kit is to help young parents engage in active parenting to help their children learn survival and life skills especially in terms of reproductive and social health,” she said.

Dr Yanny Marliana, a Lecturer at the School of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia will be pursing her attachment at Nottingham Trent University, UK.

“My research concentrates on smart material that will speed up bone healing. People suffering from bone fracture will be able to quickly recover using the smart material that is fabricated in-house,” she added.

Feng Ying Xing, a PhD student at the Centre for Intelligent Signal and Imaging Research (CISIR), Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS plans to do his attachment with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA. He said:

“I aim to predict cognitive performance at work and the influence workload and stress level from fNIRs (a non-invasive imaging method) haemodynamic measurements and physiological body signals. With the results of my research, I want to develop a deep-learning model that could improve cognitive performance.”

Chrishen R. Gomez, a Project Research Manager at the Borneo Carnivore Programme. Chrishen aims to undertake a conservative genetics research fellowship for the development of long-term genetics of the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) at Brown University, USA.

“This research involves using genetic tools to study threats and the conservation status of the least studied animals on the planet. The use of molecular data is only in its infancy for conservation research in Malaysia,’’ he said.

Article by: Merdeka Award: press releases