KUALA LUMPUR: Students will have a chance to continue their studies at international institutions through the newly-launched Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
The Prime Minister said the grant, open to Malaysian post-graduate students between 22 and 35 years old, would be introduced next year in disciplines like education, arts, sports, community and social work, environment, health, and science and technology.
“The youths are our future and it is important that we guide and provide them the opportunities and facilities to pursue their interest,” he said at the Merdeka Award ceremony at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas here last night.
The grant will allow students to engage in short-term collaborative projects at selected, internationally-recognised host institutions to develop their expertise.
“One grant will be offered in 2012 and two each in subsequent years,” he added.
At the function, Najib presented awards to Datuk Dr Kenneth Yeang, Prof Datuk Dr Goh Khean Lee and Prof Dr Mak Joon Wah for outstanding work in their respective fields.
Yeang received an award in the environment category for his contributions to developing ecology-related designs for buildings and in environmental conservation planning while Dr Goh and Dr Mak were joint recipients in the Outstanding Scholastic Achievement category.
Dr Goh was awarded for his contributions to developing research and practices in gastroenterology and hepatology in Malaysia to the global level.
Dr Mak is recognised as a global expert on filariasis and malaria by the World Health Organisation after being appointed consultant in at least 17 different cases.
Dr Goh said: “It is an honour to be chosen and I am extremely happy to share this prestigious award with a well-known scholar like Dr Mak.”
Each category offers a RM500,000 prize money, a trophy and a certificate.
The joint recipients of the Outstanding Scholastic Achievement category will share the award equally.
Also present at the ceremony were previous Merdeka Award recipients, the Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Merdeka Award Board of Trustees chairman Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas
The Merdeka Award was established by Petronas, ExxonMobil and Shell on August 27, 2007 to recognise and reward individuals who had made outstanding and lasting contributions to the nation in their respective fields.