Meet the Alumni Awards 2021, Malaysia Winners and Finalists!

The Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education. Award winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions and countries. When outstanding individuals receive a world-class education in the UK, the effects can last a lifetime.

The awards shine a light on the impact that alumni of UK higher education institutions are making in their chosen field, and how this was sparked by their studies in the UK. 

Professional Achievement Award

Dr. Joanne Yeoh (Winner)

Dr Joanne is currently an associate professor in the music Department, Faculty of Human Ecology, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Among the recent awards Dr Joanne has received include the National Academic Award 2012, Golden Phoenix Award 2014, BrandLaureate Grand Master Brand ICON Leadership Award 2017; and the McMillan Woods Global Icon Award 2019. She has performed regularly at the international and national level. For instance, Davos Switzerland for the World Economic Forum: Malaysia Night, Three on the Bund Shanghai, BMW Formula 1 Party, Marina Bay Sands Hotel Singapore, Inter-Asia Pacific Executive Forum, Perdana Leadership Foundation Putrajaya and more. When she isn’t performing, she is publishing journals and solo albums. She is also an accredited examiner for Trinity College London examination board, having travelled to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Middle East and the Asian continent since 2005. In 2015, she was a TEDx Petaling Street presenter. To her, music education in the UK is second to none, and she has had the privilege of graduating from there. However, an academic degree does not guarantee success in life, and life lessons are usually discovered outside lecture halls. It was in the holistic experiences provided by these universities that taught her life skills. The camaraderie amongst lecturers and peers provided a safe ground for her to explore and experiment various musical styles. Although UK is inherently rich in culture, she also embraced the contemporary artistic endeavours making this an ideal destination for a comprehensive education.

Prof. Dr. Ir. Aduwati Sali 

Professor Ir. Dr. Aduwati Sali is currently a Professor at Department of Computer and Communication Systems, Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). Going to the UK to pursue her studies was the first time she flew abroad. At the age of 20, in a foreign land, she immersed herself in what UK had to offer.  It was the best decision ever and it opened up a lot of opportunities for her. Now 24 years later, she has published almost 100 journals, 4 books, and has been involved in more than 30 research projects.  Her areas of interest are Mobile  and satellite  communications,  wireless  sensor  network,  heterogenenous  networks,  green radio  resource  management,  cognitive  radio,  adaptive  techniques,  cross-layer  approach,  reliable multicast, disaster management and preparedness. From 2004 until 2009, Dr Aduwati was involved with EU-IST Satellite Network of Excellence (SatNEx) I & II. She is both the principle investigator and collaborator for projects under local and international funding bodies. She was also a consultant to Malaysian Ministry of Information and Multimedia, Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education, National Space Agency (ANGKASA), ATSB Bhd and Petronas Bhd. on projects related to mobile and satellite communications. After all these achievements, she now finds herself telling her boys ‘Fly and explore and fall down, if you want to test your resilience and resourcefulness, go to the UK to study, you will never regret it.’ 

Dr. Ong Chuan Boon

After completing his housemanship, he worked as a medical officer with the Ministry of health. There, he worked under the primary care setting and was in charge of the radiology unit and Diabetic clinic. In 2015, he stepped into his current role and went on to work as a resident doctor and Director for Mediviron Denai Alam. In the past few years, he has picked up many skills as he is trained and certified in advanced cardiac life support and resuscitation. In 2020, he received training on RTK antigen/ RT PCR swab tests and management of sampling for covid-19. He also received certification for covid-19: tackling the novel coronavirus organized by the London school of hygiene & tropical medicine. Dr Ong admits that his journey to pursue his postgraduate diploma was one with many challenges. He had to juggle between his clinical work and his studies. Although it was hard, he was optimistic and persevered to increase his knowledge and experience in many aspects of skin diseases. As a result, he is able to diagnose and treat many of his skin patients easily. He is glad that he can always apply his university knowledge into his GP practice. He found studying in the UK rewarding and thanks his university for making him a better doctor and providing him with the opportunity to further enhance his skills as a medical practitioner.  

Entrepreneurial Award

Marc Chua Yee Kuan (Winner)

Marc is described as a grassroot entrepreneur who never gives up. In 2015, He founded the No. 1 Running Apparel Brand in Malaysia, ULTRON® and in the span of 5 years, the company has collaborated with more than 3,000 major events and has partnered with IRONMAN Triathlon, Powerman Duathlon, XTERRA Duathlon and Asian Trail Masters. The company is now spread across 12 countries in Asia and has distributed more than 4 million pieces of apparel across the region making them the market leader with most of their event collaborations in Malaysia and Brunei. His success led the brand to a suite of commendations. He received two awards by the Malaysia Book of Record. First for creating ULTRON® Micro-dry Ultralite which is 'The lightest running tshirt in Malaysia’. He made his 2nd National Record organizing major marathons that unite 18,000 runners across the country, sponsoring national athletes for international tournaments with a dream to dress Malaysia’s 1st Olympic gold medallist. Most recently, he received the Superbrand Award by Superbrand International. Although not a business major, that did not stop him from creating an award winning homegrown sportswear brand. To-date, Yee Kuan credits his success to his self-discipline, values developed during his studies in the UK. The examinations-driven model of UK education cultivates highly relevant skills and habits such as time & stress management and tenacity. Despite the Covid-19 Pandemic, Yee Kuan has continued to be on the forefront initiating virtual runs and sporting events, partnering with Sports Ministry, Nestle and multinational corporations, in keeping Malaysians active. 

Nikhil Khandewal

Nikhil Is the founder of MysteryQR. He built an omni-channel contactless gamified marketing tool using QR, AR, & AI functionality and has partnered with Shopping Malls, Telcos, POS, media advertisement and digital marketing companies. Over the past few years, Nikhil has received many awards. These include Excellence in Leadership Award, Fave of the Year Award by Fave Malaysia, Groupon Green Award by Goupon Malaysia and many more!  He has also developed many skills for instance Business Analysis Campaign Planning, Business Planning Merchandizing, CRM Sourcing & Negotiation Business Development Entrepreneurship. In his opinion, studying in the UK was nothing short of an entrepreneurial journey. Nikhil went to the UK with a student mindset but it didn’t take long for it to evolve into an entrepreneurial mindset. He graduated in 2008 but due to the worldwide recession during that period, he decided to explore other avenues. He is a pure e-commerce or online evangelist with an entrepreneurial mindset. 

Social Impact Award

Ian Yee (Winner) 

Ian Yee is the Co-founder and executive director of The Fourth, a not-for-profit social enterprise running independent impact and investigative journalism projects.  He is an investigative and impact journalist whose works have won nearly 40 awards in journalism, activism, filmmaking, and digital marketing.  He has pioneered the concept of impact journalism in Malaysia and has exposed social justice issues with undercover investigations and developing creative advocacy solutions to solve those issues.  He has a roaring public support as his works have helped expose wildlife smugglers, refugee rights, human trafficking networks, child sex predators and drug trafficking syndicates.  Under The Fourth, Ian wishes to run journalism training programmes to develop more talent as well as fund new impact and investigative projects that will strengthen media institutions across the country.   Other than being the co-founder of The Fourth, he is also a national consultant for UNICEF Malaysia on empathy education programmes. He is also an Obama Foundation Leader, an Acumen Fellow, a Gen-T honouree and a Human Rights Measurement Initiative ambassador.

Mahendran Balakrishnan

Mahendran is currently the Head of Innovation at Social Entreprise Education Lab also known as (SEED.Lab). This is a sustainability programme funded by Petronas and Tata consultancy services which aims to address youth unemploymemt by promoting innovative social enterprises.   His areas of interests include Political affairs, social development and innovation, digital technology and entrepreneurship and startups. He is a certified AGILE project management practitioner and has received professional certificates for PRINCE2 Project management and ITIL v3.  His journey to contribute actively to society commenced shortly after graduating from University Teknologi Petronas. Apart from his full time career with Petronas, in 2011, He co-founded Yellow house, a Malaysian based grassroots NGO that helps elevate the wellbeing of minorities. He is currently the treasurer and is on the board of trustees. He is responsible for charting strategic partnership and ensuring transparent fund management and smooth disbursement. He is also an advocate for digital technology adoption.  His experience in pursuing his masters in international relations from the University of Aberdeen, UK was not only enriching but, in many ways, pushed him towards his ultimate passion of contributing to society. His studies broadened his understanding about social challenges and helped him critically evaluate innovative solutions.  The multicultural environment and the experienced professors gave him the confidence to further his dreams and challenge boundaries. He now passes on this learning structure to his students through his coaching sessions for his SEED.lab initiative in hopes of shaping a better world. 

Melissa Kong

Melissa graduated with a Master in Chemistry from St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and a postgraduate diploma in education from Universiti Utara Malaysia.  She is currently the Senior manager for the Education Ecosystem Engagement team at Teach for Malaysia. TFM is an NGO that builds public-private partnerships to improve outcomes in Malaysian education as part of the global Teach For All network.  During the pandemic, she equipped 5,000 teachers, principals, and parents for distance learning during the 8-month school shutdown by overseeing a team of 50 members/volunteers? to create and launch the organization’s Distance Learning Initiative.  Melissa cares deeply about addressing education inequity in Malaysia. In 2014, she raised the English passing rate of academically worst-performing class in 11th grade from 0% to 83%, and improved the average score by 37% in 5 months in a rural, underprivileged school.   When she was a consultant impact evaluator at various organisations, she designed the impact measurement framework for a STEM intervention program training 30 teachers across 14 schools. She has also helped build assessment to track students’ growth in creativity and oral proficiency for an English drama program in 20 schools. In 2016, she created the first ever nursing staff reporting system in Malaysia to improve cadence of tracking and optimization of hospital resourcing from half-a-year to a monthly basis.  In 2016 and 2018, she served on TFM’s Alumni Board, and on the Oxford & Cambridge Alumni Society Malaysia in 2020 and 2021. Outside her day job, Melissa also moonlights as a performer and studies musical theatre with Monday Show School. Her areas of interest are in Theatre, Dance improv, Rugby, Amateur Boxing and Gardening.


Introducing the Alumni Awards 2021 Virtual Ceremony Special Guest - Y.A.M Tunku Ali Redhauddin Ibni Tuanku Muhriz 

 YAM Tunku Ali is Tunku Besar Seri Menanti of Negeri Sembilan and a member of the Dewan Keadilan Dan Undang of that State. In addition to his official duties, he divides his time between educational institutions, non-profit entities and corporate boards.  Tunku Ali has had a long Association with Britain. He did his GCSEs and A Levels in Marlborough College, Wiltshire, before attending the University of Cambridge as a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust scholar. He then worked in London before returning to Malaysia. He continues to be involved in Malaysian-British relationships.

Tunku Ali is Chairman of Bumi Armada Berhad, a company listed on Bursa Malaysia, with a significant asset in the UK North Sea. He is Chairman of the Board of Governors of Marlborough College Malaysia, an International Council Member of Marlborough College, UK, and Chairman of the Cambridge Malaysia Foundation. Tunku Ali is also an Honorary Bencher of the Inner Temple, UK. In addition, he is Chairman of Taliworks Corporation Berhad, a listed infrastructure services company, and he sits on the boards of Bangkok Bank Berhad, and Sun Life Malaysia Assurance, both regulated by Bank Negara Malaysia. He is Senior Advisor to TPG Capital, a global private equity firm, sitting on the boards of several TPG portfolio companies, including CVS KL, a specialist heart hospital, Pathology Asia Holdings, a provider of diagnostic laboratory services in South East Asia and Columbia Asia, a hospital group. He is also Chairman of the Prestigion K12 Education Group. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Yayasan Munarah, Chairman and Founding Trustee of Teach for Malaysia, Chairman of WWF Malaysia, a Trustee of Amanah Warisan Negara (National Heritage Trust of Malaysia), and Pro-Chancellor of Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia. Tunku Ali is also a Brigadier General and Commander of a Regiment in the Territorial Army of Malaysia.

He holds a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from the John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a BA (Hons) in History and Social & Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge. He is also presently a candidate for an Executive MBA at Tsinghua University, China. In 2013, he was recognised as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and as an Asia 21 Young Leader by the Asia Society. Previously, Tunku Ali was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company and Director of Investments at Khazanah Nasional Berhad.


See also