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Ungku Aziz, M’sia Nature Society among winners of inaugural Merdeka Award

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Aug 2008: Recipients of the inaugural Merdeka Award were announced today, with Royal Prof Ungku Aziz adjudged winner in the education and community category, and the Malaysian Nature Society in the environment category.

The Nipah Encephalitis Investigation Team from the Medicine Faculty of Universiti Malaya and Prof Datuk Dr Khalid Kadir emerged joint recipients in the health, science and technology category. The 15-member team was named co-recipient of the award for the discovery and understanding of the causes, effects and control of the Nipah encephalitis viral infection.

Datuk Leslie Davidson, a British citizen, won the award for his outstanding contributions to Malaysians. Davidson was chosen for his contributions towards the development of large-scale oil palm plantations in Malaysia.

Recipients of each category will receive RM500,000, a trophy and certificate to be presented in a separate ceremony later this year.

In announcing the recipients, Merdeka Award chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican said the awards were in recognition of their outstanding contributions to Malaysian society.

“They will set a benchmark for future winners to aspire to such high levels of achievement,” said the Petronas president and chief executive officer.

He said the Merdeka Award would be conferred annually on individuals and organisations whose work and achievements had made an outstanding impact on the nation and people.

The award, jointly initiated by Petronas, ExxonMobil and Shell, was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on 21 Aug 2007. – Bernama

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