First Malaysian woman pilot soars even higher

KUALA LUMPUR: As the first woman in Malaysia to receive an airline transport pilot licence, AirAsia's Captain Norashikin Onn is used to being a “high” achiever.

Yesterday, she earned another distinction when she was honoured with the Anugerah Kesatria Puteri at the National Young Women's Gathering organised by Puteri Umno and Sekretariat I.D.E.A.

Twelve awards were given out to those who have excelled in their fields such as medicine, arts, sports and business.

“I'm very happy that the Government is recognising women's achievement,” Capt Norashikin said.

The 44-year-old is the first female flight commander at AirAsia. She is also the first female flight commander for wide body aircraft for commercial airlines in Malaysia.

Asked for her advice to young women, she said they should be courageous in pursuing their dreams.

“Nothing is impossible. Reach for the skies,” she said.

Other award recipients included TV personality Jay Menon, diver Pandalela Rinong, singer Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Norlina Alawi (who set up a place to care for children with HIV and AIDS) and Dr Helen Lasimbang.

The highest award, known as Nusa Mahsuri, was given to Tan Sri Tunku Intan Safinaz Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah for her contributions to community and humanity works.

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, who addressed the gathering, urged young women to be at the forefront and improve themselves further.

Noting that a country's development was closely tied with the advancement of its women, she stressed that they should be actively involved as agents of change.

The Prime Minister's wife said they should work hard to get into high level decision-making positions.

“What is important is for young women to have the courage to become involved in fields such as medicine, engineering, the aerospace industry, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

“Only then can they stand on par with their male counterparts as young professionals.”

Rosmah also stressed on the importance of perseverance when facing difficulties.

“Occasionally, young women tend to look down on their own contributions, possibly due to societal norms that men were the main breadwinners,” she said, urging them to expand their horizon and set high benchmarks to compete with women from developed nations.