What makes you proud to be called a Malaysian? There has never been a better time to be a young Malaysian than now. Any form of information about anything you want comes at the tip of your fingers, and there are massive opportunities when it comes to careers and in 2016 our country has a lot to boast about which does consist of many accomplishments in numerous fields.
We as Malaysians have much to be proud of, much to cherish and much to make us happy, many of which we don’t fully appreciate and acknowledge. These triumphs listed for 2016 are just the tip of the iceberg of the amount of successful ventures, undertakings and pursuits our nation and its people have accomplished. We have the ingredients we need for the pride we long to have for our country and we should aim to flourish and enjoy this gorgeous tropical country we call our home.
Here are some of our achievements so far in 2016:
Four of our Paralympians made history at the 2016 Rio Paralympics when they won 3 gold medals and 1 bronze at Rio, accomplishing what Malaysians have been hoping from our able-bodied competitors at the Rio Olympics. It has been a magnificent journey for the athletes - Muhd Ridzuan Mohd Puzi, Abdul Latif Romly, Muhd Ziyad Zolkefli and Siti Noor Radiah.
Muhd Ziyad Zolkefli, 26, won the gold medal and broke the world record in F20 Shot Putt. It was difficult for the 26-year-old Kelantanese who has an intellectual disability for him to leave his home to chase his athletic career but with determination, he made good to his promise of bringing back a medal from Rio. Muhammad Ziyad hurled the shot a distance of 16.84 metres to clinch the world record and the gold on his fifth effort. He obliterated the previous world record of 16.29m set by Todd Hodgetts of Australia at the London Paralympics in 2012.
Muhammad Ridzuan Mohd Puzi has cerebral palsy, but the 29-year-old from Perlis made history by being the first Malaysian to win a gold medal at the Paralympics in the T36 100m race in Rio. Ridzuan dashed across the finish line of the 100m T36 in 12.07 seconds, ahead of Yang Yifei of China (12.20s) and Rodrigo Parreira da Silva of Brazil (12.54s).
Abdul Latif Romly broke the world record multiple times, and won gold for Malaysia in the men’s long jump T20 (intellectual disability). He broke the earlier world record of 7.35 metres and set the new mark at 7.60 metres.
Malaysia has won medals previously at the paralympics, but only silver and bronze.
Malaysia ended the 2016 Rio Olympics with its highest medals tally after Datuk Lee Chong Wei brought home another silver medal to make it four silvers and a bronze. The total is the country’s best performance by far since it began participating in the Olympic Games as the Federation of Malaysia in 1964.
With a nickname like ‘Pocket Rocketman’ due to his short stature, Azizulhasni Awang has substantial speed, snagging Malaysia’s first ever medal for Men’s Keirin Cycling. He managed to cross the finish line for the bronze behind defending champion Jason Kenny representing Britain and Dutchman Matthijs Buchli, a huge leap from his previous record of sixth place in the 2012 London Olympics.
Not only were they the first to win a medal for Malaysia in the Rio Olympics, the Pandelela-Jun Hoong pair also are the first women ever to win a silver medal for our country. The Malaysian duo finished with 344.34 points to finish second to China’s Chen Roulin-Liu Huixia, who won the gold medal with a 354.00 total.
Image: The Malay Mail
The first ever Malaysian mixed doubles pair to have reached the Olympic finals as well as attain a silver medal in that category, Goh Liu Ying and Chan Peng Soon played a strong match against Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, where the pair lost 21-14, 21-12 after a passionate match.
Image: Astro Awani
After Malaysia’s silver win for the Badminton men’s doubles category in the last 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 10 years later sees our country rising in this category once more with Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong.
Three times making it into the Olympics finals for Badminton men’s singles, three times gaining a silver medal for Malaysia. Though Dato’ Lee Chong Wei may not have been able to achieve his Olympic gold dream, he successfully made history by beating his long time arch-rival Lin Dan in what may have been one of the most intense Badminton matches to date.
In total we won 4 silver medals and a bronze that we all treasure and cherish as we recognize the blood, sweat and tears our 32 national athletes have poured during the course of the competition.
Guinness World Records
In Borneo, Malaysia, over 400 female weavers from the Bakun, Murum and Baram communities were awarded a Guinness World Records title for hand-crafting the longest rug ever, measuring an astonishing 1128.272 m. To put that into perspective, the rug would more than cover the height of Angel Falls in Venezuala, the highest waterfall in the world. At the Bakun Resettlement Community Hall, Guinness World Records Adjudicator Rishi Nath confirmed that the enormous mat had broken the previous record - a 797.51 m (2,616 ft 5 in) long rug manufactured by Hemtex AB in Sweden in 2010.
The Education Ministry has accomplished three main achievements in its first wave of the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025. Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the three achievements were an increase in literacy and numeracy programmes, increase in pre-school and primary school enrolment and reduction in the urban and rural gap. “I am grateful that we have passed the first wave. The ministry is committed to reach more achievements in the second wave, which is from 2016-2020,” Khalid mentioned. Since the blueprint was launched three years ago, 99 percent of students have become literate in both Bahasa Melayu and numeracy.
A Penang-born scientist living in Britain, Muzlifah Haniffa who is a senior research fellow in clinical science at Newcastle University has been awarded RM1 million fellowship for research into white blood cells and the immune system. This fellowship is one of five research prizes awarded every year by the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine for biomedical research. She was awarded the fellowship in May 2016 and said her research tracks the movement and functional changes of white blood cells across human body tissue. Her hope is that this research could pave the way to develop new forms of therapy that can exploit the powers of the immune system, much like recent developments in cancer treatment.
Dr. Abhimanyu Veerakumarasivam won the ‘Best Science Communicator’ Award at Famelab International 2016. His talk on how genetics change the way cancer is diagnosed and treated in the age of precision medicine has brought honour to the scientist. He is from Universiti Putra Malaysia and surpassed over 2,000 scientists from 27 countries in the world’s biggest science communication competition organized by The Times Cheltenham Science Festival in the United Kingdom in June.
Malaysians represented at Dota 2 World ESports tournament – team Fnatic for Dota 2 consists of four Malaysians and one Filipino in their quest to win the grand prize at The International Dota 2 Championships. With the prize pool of over USD 20million, they were in the top 6 teams and had secured winnings of over USD500,000. Quite a lucrative ‘pot of cash’, considering they are playing computer games.
Ipoh-born hawker Chan Hon Meng never finished his education yet his food stall in Singapore was recently awarded a Michelin star, the world’s first hawker stall to receive one. His Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle in Chinatown, Singapore was presented the prestigious culinary award which is often linked to fine dining establishments. According to The Malay Mail, Chan said he was rather surprised by his stall being selected, but was told by the Michelin representatives that judgment was passed not on the location of the food outlet, but the quality of the food.
Usher made a huge comeback this year, especially for an interactive video on Tidal called Chains
featuring Nas and Bibi Bourelly, but perhaps even more incredible is the artist which he returned to the scene with, none other than our Malaysian sweetheart, Yuna. She was featured on Usher’s new song Crush
and has been working with everybody from Pharrell to Owl City and more. The Malaysian-born songstress started out posting folk-pop songs on MySpace, and, when she got feedback, up and left for Los Angeles, where she was signed by Fader Label and started working with these megastars. If that's not an underdog story, we don't know what is.
Local director Dharius Zulkefli made the nation proud by bagging the “Best Editing” award at the United International Film Festival (UIFF) 2016 in New York, USA. Dharius’ short film, Kun Fayakun,
beat 45 other films from around the world to win the tri-annual award that was presented at the SVA Theatre in July. Written, produced and directed by Zulkefli, the film is a psychological drama that tells the story of Henry, who is in a vegetative state and in order to recover, he has to battle demons and find salvation. When asked what is next for him, he had mentioned plans to start screening both his movies at various film festivals in the United States.
After merely two years in the Malaysian coffee scene, Keith Koay, 24 is already sipping the heady brew of his accomplishments. At the recent World Barista Championship in Dublin, Ireland, Koay came in at a very reputable 16th
place, even though he was up against a highly-competitive field of barista champions from over 61 countries. It was Malaysia’s best-ever finish at the championships. Not only did he have to prepare three coffee-based beverages – an espresso, a milk drink and a signature drink, once for each of the four judges – he also had to narrate the entire process.
An interdisciplinary Malaysian student team led by Kim Zhao Wei, a Master of Architecture student from the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) won first prize in The Vertical Farming Award 2016 organized by the Association of Vertical Farming based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The team’s entry Inter-Farm Market captured the Juror’s Interest in the innovative way in which they incorporated Architecture, Agriculture, Urban Design and Social Culture in addressing the issues of food supply in urban areas.
A Malaysian who established an organization with a mission to build healthcare facilities serving underprivileged communities, was among 17 young people named as advocates of change for the United Nations. Representing the Malaysian-registered Hospital Beyond Boundaries (HBB), government medical officer Dr Mohd Lutfi Fadil Lokman, 28 was selected as a United Nation Young Leader from a list of 18,000 nominations from 186 countries around the globe, which is a great honor.