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Thursday August 5, 2010

Mother Mangalam and UM professors to receive Merdeka Awards

KUALA LUMPUR: A revered social worker, two leading professors and a senior economist will receive this year’s Merdeka Awards for their outstanding contributions.

Pure Life Society founder Datin Paduka Mother Mangalam Iyaswamy Iyer, 84, came out tops in the field of education and community for promoting the welfare of the underprivileged and fostering unity.

The award for outstanding scholastic achievement is shared by two Universiti Malaya intellectuals Prof Emeritus Dr Yong Hoi Sen, 63, a researcher in the field of Biology and Prof Dr Harith Ahmad, 46, a leading physicist.

Recipients: (L to R) Mother Mangalam, Dr Harith and Dr Yong came out tops in their fields.

Prof Yong’s in­-volvement in the documentation and advancement of knowledge on Malaysia’s natural heritage and biological diversity has been both locally and internationally recognised.

Prof Harith is a key researcher in the field of photonics technology and has headed many national projects including those in the area of optical communications.

Norwegian Tan Sri Dr Just Faaland was also chosen for his contribution in the reduction of socio-economic polarisation. Faaland, 88, was a key figure in the formulation of the New Economic Policy in 1969.

Petronas chief executive officer Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas who announced the winners described them as “true gems”.

“In our third year, we continue to hold on to our founding principle of recognising those who have made outstanding contributions to our nation and its people,” he said in his speech here yesterday.

Modelled on the Nobel Prize, the Merdeka Award was launched in 2007 by former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Petronas, ExxonMobil and Shell are the founders of the award aimed at recognising and rewarding individuals or organisations that have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of Malaysia and its people.

Winners from each category will receive a cash prize of RM500,000.

The award presentation ceremony will be held on Oct 26.