Two Malaysians receive 2017 Merdeka Award for health, science & technology

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Two Malaysians have been honoured with the Merdeka Award for the Health, Science and Technology category this year.

Professor Dr. Balbir Singh Mohan, 62, from the Malaria Research Centre (MRC) at University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), and Dr. Timothy William, 47, the Infectious Diseases Consultant of Jesselton Medical Centre, both receive the award.

Dr.Balbir Singh was selected for his discovery and pioneering work on a new strain of human malaria, 'Plasmodium knowlesi', which changed the understanding of malaria and the way infection is managed in the country and globally.

Dr. Timothy was awarded for his contributions to the effective treatment of the fatal zoonotic disease and improving the way of managing the infection.

Four other outstanding Malaysians received the 2017 Merdeka Award in other categories.

Datuk Dr. Abdul Halim Ismail, 78, was presented the award in the Education and Community category for his outstanding contributions and pivotal role in establishing the first Islamic Bank in Malaysia in 1983, the Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad (BIMB).

The next recipient was former Chairman and President of World (WWF) Malaysia, Datuk Seri TengkuDr. Zainal AdlinTengkuMahamood, 77, in the Environment category.

The Kelantan-born environmentalist, now Chairman of Sabah Tourism Board of Trustees, was selected for his outstanding contribution to wildlife and forest conservation in Malaysia and the region through his impressive fieldwork, education, advocacy, policy and international cooperation.

For the Outstanding Scholastic Achievement category, Universiti Malaya Prof Dr. Masjuki Hassan, 64, received the award for his scholarly research in engineering and energy science, as well as for his instrumental role in the research and development of biofuel and other sources of efficient energy and automotive engines.

The sixth and final award recipient went to South-East Asia expert Prof Dr. Anthony Milner, 72, in the category of Outstanding Contribution to the People of Malaysia.

The Australian-born academician who specialises in Malay and Malaysian history, was selected for his excellent research and education in Malaysian history that shaped and promoted the understanding of the nation's identity, heritage and culture, as well as his role in fostering international cooperation.

Recipients of the 2017 Merdeka Awards took home a certificate of recognition, a Merdeka Award trophy, monetary reward and Merdeka Award work of art.The awards were presented by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah. Also present at the ceremony was Raja Permaisuri Perak, Tuanku Zara Salim.

Established by the oil and gas giant in Malaysia, Petronas, ExxonMobil and Shell on Aug 27, 2007, the award recognises and rewards Malaysians and non-Malaysians who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to the country and its people.

To date, 44 individuals, including this year's recipients, as well as two organisations, have been presented with the Merdeka Award.

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