Michelle Yeoh and Jimmy Choo are the pride of Malaysia as they continue making our country proud on a global scale in their respective fields. However, they aren’t the only ones that are making us proud internationally; there are many like them too. Don’t believe us? Check out these seven other amazing Malaysians who have put us on a map by making significant breakthroughs in various fields and achieving international success.
1. Dr Wu Lien Teh
Award/Recognition: Malaysia’s First Nobel Prize Nominee
Field: Science (Medical)
Dr Wu was recognised for his work on Pneumonic Plague and the discovery of the role played by the Tarbagan in its transmission. He was one of the 48 amongst 177 nominees in the 1935 Nobel Prize Awards. Other than that, he is also;
- The founder of the first Malaysian anti-drug association, Anti-Opium Association, in Penang
- Known as the person who has revolutionised Chinese medical services and medical education
Sadly, in 1960, he suffered a stroke and died at the age of 81 at home.
2. Mohd Nasarudin Mohd Yusof
Award/Recognition: Malaysia’s First Nobel Peace Prize Winner (2013)
Field: Military (Weaponry)
He won a Nobel Peace Prize Award for his work at the intergovernmental organisation, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction by ensuring member countries abide by the Chemical Weapons Convention. The retired-lieutenant-colonel started this mission when he moved to Hague, the Netherlands to join the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
“I did not win the Nobel prize for individual achievement. I received it with my organisation, for the whole team’s work,” said the chemical weapons and munition specialist.
3. Professor Dr Ng Kwan Hoong
Award/Recognition: The First Developing Country Scientist Marie Sklodowska-Curie award
Field: Science (Medical Physics)
He was awarded the Marie Curie award for his contribution to medical physics in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
- He is one the pioneers of this field in Malaysia and also an active member of the field
- He’s the founding president and president emeritus of the South-Asian Federation of Organisation of Medical Physicist
- He is also the co-founder and past president of the Asia-Oceania Federation of Organisation of Medical Physicists
- He is the initiator of UM’s medical physic post-graduate programme
As of now, he is working alongside other researchers to improve early detection of breast cancer using artificial intelligence in computer-aided diagnosis.
4. Kwen Liew
Award/Recognition: First Malaysian Michelin-starred chef
Kwen Liew won the Michelin Award for her restaurant ‘Pertinence in Paris’ in the City of Lights. She started her culinary journey in Australia that brought her all over the world where she learnt and grew as a chef and as a person. However, things were not handed to her on a silver platter; instead, she had to hustle in this male-dominated industry to be respected and recognised.
“It depends on the mentality of the personnel, but (in general) men do not listen to women, they say, ‘We don’t give a damn what she says’,” she was quoted saying.
Nevertheless, she broke the mould and made a mark for herself as she is now a Michelin-starred chef.
5. Oon Chern Ein
Award/Recognition: Malaysia’s First Women of the South East Asia Awards Receiver
Field: Science – Medical (Molecular Therapeutics)
She was awarded the Women of the Future Awards South East Asia award for her novel work in discovering and designing a molecular cancer therapy. She is a highly-respected USM lecturer, who also juggles being a mum, wife, and an academic all at the same time.
6. Zainah Anwar
Award/Recognition: Harvard Law International Women’s Day Portrait Exhibit Honoree
Field: Law (Lawyer/Social Advocate/Feminist)
She was honoured for her outstanding work as an activist fighting for women’s rights. Here are her other notable accomplishments:
- Co-founded Sisters in Islam, an organisation dedicated to helping our Muslim sisters
- She is the current director of Musawah, a global movement seeking justice and equality in Muslim families
- An accomplished scholar
Right now, she continues to fight for the betterment of Muslim women in Malaysia.
7. Rupa Shanmugam
Award/Recognition: Buffalo Niagara Chapter’s Women in Leadership Honoree
Field: Science (Electrical Engineering – STEM)
She was honoured the Buffalo Niagara Chapter’s Women in Leadership award for her outstanding journey in the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Besides that, later this year she will have ownership to one of the top tech firms in the US, SoPark Corporations.
Honorary Mentions Surprise! While the above list is spectacular on its own, it wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention these other equally amazing Malaysians who had also contributed to greatness. So, here are some honorary mentions who deserve a spot on this page too for bringing pride to our country.
8. Datuk Dr Ronald McCoy
Award/Recognition: Contributor to Nobel Prize Winning Anti-Nuclear Arms Campaign
While he didn’t receive the award yet, Dr Ronald had contributed to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Campaign. Ten years after being developed in 2007, finally, in July 2017, UN adopted a treaty that imposed a ban on nuclear arms.
“The treaty bans nuclear weapons use, threat to use, development, testing, production, possession, stockpiling, transfer, and stationing in another country. For countries that own nuclear weapons who want to sign, the agreement details a process for the destruction of the arms “as soon as possible” in a “legally binding time-bound plan,” said Ronald.
9. Robiah Ibrahim
Award/Recognition: First Woman In 200 Years to Solve the Lighting Problem
Robiah is the founder of Collection Surface Method (CSM) – a method used to curb the lightning problem. Although Robiah has yet to receive a recognition/award for her work with CSM, still, in 2006, its principles were included in the international lightning protection standard, IEC62305. Then in 2007, the Malaysian Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry approved the international standard as the new Malaysian lightning protection standard, MC-IEC62305. Thus her method is used here too!
On the other hand, Europen experts said that the CSM would prove up to 98 percent of protection against direct lightning strikes. Fun fact: Prior to this, some Malaysian experts had rejected her finding.
10. Mohd Sirhajwan Idek
Award/Recognition: Winner of International Innovation and Entrepreneurship Excellence in Teaching Award 2017
He submitted his case study that uses the concept of Project-based Learning for students. Through this project, students must develop and execute project ideas that will enable them to venture into innovation and entrepreneurship. Such an innovative idea!