101 memorable Malaysian womenTo celebrate a century of feminist activism, we, The Star wanted to spotlight 100 women. But do wechoose them based on the usual criteria, that they were i) the greatest, ii) most inspiring, iii) mostinfluential, or iv) most successful? We decided “no”. Instead, the women in our gallery are simplythose we believe have made an unforgettable impact for a variety of reasons and we rememberthem with gratitude, with admiration, with pride, with joy, with affection or even with fear or sorrow.We know we won’t please everyone with our selection and we acknowledge there are others whoshould perhaps have made the list. But we wanted 100 memorable Malaysian women for 100 yearsand, for better or worse, these are the chosen ones in no particular order.DATUK RASAMMAH NAOMI NAVAREDNAM AKA MRS F.R. BHUPALANAGE: 84Educator, unionist and activist, Rasammah has spent a lifetime fighting for a better society. Aftergraduating from University of Malaya in Singapore in 1955, she became a teacher at the MethodistGirls School in Penang. This led her to notice that women teachers were discriminated against interms of salary.She was founder president of the Women Teachers Union of the Federation of Malaya in 1960.Rasammah was the first honorary secretary general of the Malayan Teachers National Congress,which is affiliated to the World Confederation of Organisations of the Teaching Profession (WCOTP).She was the founder principal of the Methodist College and in 1983, she received the Tokoh Guruaward in 1986.She is also a founder member of the National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO), and wasits first secretary general.Currently, she is chairperson of the National Council of Women’s Organisations’ Law and HumanRights Commission, finance chairperson of YWCA-KL and sits on the Methodist EducationFoundation board.
DATUK RAMANI GURUSAMYAGE: 71The deputy president of the National Council of Women’s Organisation (NCWO) has been a stalwartfigher for women’s rights and development in the country for the last 35 years.She has focused on professional social and community work to promote women’s empowerment inrelation to the family, community and national development.In the 1960s, she fought for equal pay for work of equal value, for giving women Permanency andPensionable status which entitled them to equal pay, medical, housing and other benefits.She served NCWO secretary-general for 21 years and was at the forefront of its many programmes,including the formulation of the National Policy on Women and Action Plan.She remains actively involved in several organisations, such as the Asean Confederation ofWomen’s Organisations; Suhakam’s Committee on Human Rights Education for Schools and theHome Ministry’s Anti-Trafficking in Persons Council.MARIA CHIN ABDULLAHAGE: 50sMaria, a lawyer by profession, is a prominent voice for women’s rights in Malaysia.Her vast experience in NGO work includes serving as the National Women’s Coalition president andAll Women Action Society (Awam) president.She further served as executive director of the Women’s Development Collective. In recent years,she lent her voice to highlighting gender issues relating to Islam as senior programme manager forSisters in Islam.She is executive director of Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower), a non-governmental organisation working with marginalised groups in the community.DATIN PADUKA MOTHER MANGALAM IYASWAMY IYER
AGE: 85The co-founder and president of Pure Life Society, Mother Mangalam, as she is popularly known,was awarded the Merdeka Award 2010 for the education and community category.She was selected for her outstanding contributions in promoting the welfare of the underprivilegedand fostering national unity.It was World War II that had a great impact on the way Mother Mangalam approached life.She saw poverty all around her and people barely having enough food to eat, leading her to reflecton life and death. It was then that she resolved not to marry and have children, as she felt therewere so many others who needed her help.Together with her spiritual mentor, Swami Satyananda, they set up Pure Life Society in 1952. PLShas become a symbol of hope and a home for orphans and underprivileged children.DATUK SITI NURHALIZAAGE: 32Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin is a singer, pop idol, songwriter and businesswoman. She has more than 200awards to her name, among them 34 Anugerah Industri Muzik awards, 22 Anugerah BintangPopular awards, 20 Anugerah Planet Muzik awards, 18 Anugerah Juara Lagu awards, four MTVAsia Awards and the holder of two records in the Malaysia Book of Records. She won MTV Asia’sBest Musical Artiste and Channel V’s Biggest Asian Artiste in 2005.She started when she was 16 and has never looked back. Her great talent and sweet looksimmediately won her lifelong fans. Her popularity has reached the entire region, and she is mobbedby fans wherever she goes.Throughout all this, Siti is a savvy entertainer, reciprocating her fans’ adulation with her time andtalent and playing up the media attention that she gets.
Her whirlwind relationship with Datuk Khalid Muhammad Jiwa and marriage to him in 2006 causedcontroversy, as she was said to have come between him and his then wife. But even that did notmar her stellar reputation.She continued her music career, and even launched a beauty line called SimplySiti in 2010. Lastmonth, she launched her talk show, Siti, and had Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as her first guest.YASMIN AHMADAGE: 51 (DIED JULY 25, 2009)Her sudden death shocked the nation; the outpouring of grief was universal. Yasmin Ahmad was theexecutive creative director of Leo Burnett Malaysia and filmmaker extraordinaire and her body ofwork epitomised what the 1Malaysia concept was all about.She touched hearts with the Petronas commercials about the average Malaysian. Her message wasalways laced with humour, simplicity and accepting of each other’s differences.Her string of critically acclaimed and award-winning films – Sepet, Gubra, Mukhsin, Rabun, Muallafand Talentime – were thought-provoking and beautifully shot. Her death, caused by a stroke andbrain haemorrhage, instantly lifted Yasmin to legendary status and deservedly so.DATUK NICOL ANN DAVIDAGE: 28She is the most successful woman squash player in the world. At 16, when most of her peers wereimmersed in either their studies or social activities, she won the 1999 British Junior Open, where shewas champion for both the Under-17 and Under-19 categories, the SEA Games (senior and teamcategories champion), and the German Junior Open (Under-19 champion).In the same year, she became the youngest winner of the Women’s World Junior Championships inAntwerp, where she beat compatriot Leong Siu Lynn in just 30 minutes.
Today, after numerous wins at national and international levels, Nicol David is ranked world number1 in women’s squash, the first Asian woman to achieve this. In 2008, she became the youngestperson ever to be conferred a Datukship in Malaysia, the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri from herhome state of Penang.She is currently one of the most recognised and admired sportswomen in the country.IRENE FERNANDEZAGE: 64As director and co-founder of non-governmental organisation, Tenaganita, Fernandez has workedtirelessly to promote the rights of migrant workers and other marginalised people in Malaysia.She was arrested in 1996 on charges of maliciously publishing false news, following a report shepublished on the deplorable living conditions of migrant workers in local detention centres.After a seven-year trial, one of the longest in the country, she was found guilty in 2003, and releasedon bail pending her appeal.Despite restricted civil rights, she continued to take an active part in human rights issues. In 2008,she was acquitted of her earlier conviction.In 2005, Fernandez was awarded the Stockholm-based Right Livelihood Award, referred to as thealternative Nobel Prize which honours those “working on practical and exemplary solutions to themost urgent challenges facing the world today.”FISH LEONGAGE: 33Leong Jing Ru, born in Bahau, Seremban, is the most successful Malaysian singer in the Chinesespeaking world. Her album, The Power of Love sold in excess of 1.5 million copies in Asia.She started her career in Mandarin Pop and in 1997, joined Rock Records in Taiwan. She wasnicknamed Fish because the last character of her name sounds like “fish” in Cantonese.
As her career blossomed, she became the “Queen of Love Songs”, with love and friendship as therecurring themes in her songs. She is now an international star, having found success in Hong Kong,Singapore and Malaysia.She often collaborates with prominent Chinese songwriters and producers. She has receivednumerous industry accolades in the region. She is married to Taiwanese businessman Tony Chao.IVY JOSIAHAGE: 56She is synonymous with NGO group, Women’s Aid Organisation or WAO. WAO was established in1982 by the late Tun Tan Siew Sin and it was one of the first organisations in Malaysia dedicated tohelping battered women and children.Josiah – born in Kuala Lumpur and raised in Brickfields – was one of its pioneer volunteers. WAOhelps women and children who are victims and survivors of violence and it also conducts publiceducation campaigns to create awareness of violence against women and women’s rights.For over two decades Josiah has been a leading advocate of women’s rights, an opponent ofviolence against women and children.SYBIL KATHIGASUAGE: 49 (DIED JUNE 12, 1948)She was the resistance fighter who saved countless lives during the Japanese Occupation. SybilDaly was born in Sumatra to Irish and Indian parents, and grew up in Malaya. She trained as a nurseand midwife and after marrying Dr Adson Clement Kathigasu, they operated a clinic in Ipoh.When Malaya was taken by the Japanese in 1942, they went into hiding. Sybil and her husbandstarted providing medical aid and information to the underground resistance at the Kathigasushophouse dispensary in Papan, Perak.The couple was captured by the Japanese and tortured. Sybil suffered ripped fingernails, hot iron-scalded legs, beatings with bamboo sticks and the infamously cruel “water treatment”.
She was left with a damaged spine, broken bones and a fractured jaw. She died in 1948 from acutesepticaemia due to an old wound on the jaw, resulting from a kick of a Japanese boot.Her life has been immortalised in the series, Suatu Ketika: Sybil... Apa Dosaku? based on hermemoir, No Dram Of Mercy. Sybil was the first Malayan woman to be awarded the George Medal, arecognition of civilian bravery in the face of enemy action, by England’s King George VI.Zainah AnwarAge: 56She helped set up a fledgling movement to look into the problems of Muslim women in 1990 that hasbecome synonymous with Muslim feminism. Sisters In Islam (SIS) covers such issues as legalrights, polygamy and domestic and sexual violence within marriage. As its executive director formany years, Zainah was the face and spokesperson of SIS. SIS has opened public space for debateand is at the forefront on efforts to amend the Islamic Family Law. It has espoused equality andjustice for women, discussed dress and modesty, the right to guardianship, women as judges,fundamental liberties in Islam, and apostasy and freedom of religion.In 2008, after two decades, Zainah handed the mantle over to Marina Chin Abdullah, who took overas senior programme manager. Zainah remains on the board of SIS.She concurrently serves as project director for Musawah, the SIS-initiated global movement forjustice and equality in the Muslim family. With Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, she is one of twoMalaysians in “Women Deliver 100” , a list of the 100 most inspiring people who have improved thelives of girls and women worldwide by New York-based advocacy group Women Deliver.SHARIFAH AMANIAGE: 25Sharifah Amani Syed Zainal Rashid Al- Yahya was discovered at 17 when she was cast byfilmmaker Yasmin Ahmad in her film Sepet. The film went on to be a phenomenal success andSharifah Amani went on to become Yasmin’s favourite actress: she was the lead in two other ofYasmin’s movies, Gubra (2006) and Muallaf (2008) and a cameo in Mukhsin (2006).
Sharifah Amani won the Most Promising Actress award for Sepet at the 2005 Festival Film Malaysiaand Best Actress award for Gubra at the same festival the following year.She has appeared in numerous local movies since such as Gol And Gincu, Possessed, PuakaTebing Biru and 1957: Hati Malaya.Sharifah made her directorial debut with Sangkar, a short film which was part of the HerStory FilmsProject which brought together five women artistes to make five short films that explore variousissues regarding women.MARION D’ CRUZAGE: 56Dancer, choreographer and teacher, D’Cruz’s career has spanned 30 years. She is one of the fivefounding members of Five Arts Centre and is now its executive producer.She is a graduate in Performing Arts and Dance from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang. She hasstudied and performed classical, modern and contemporary dance in Malaysia, Indonesia, Londonand New York.In 1983 she formed Marion D’Cruz and Dancers and is recognised as one of the pioneers ofcontemporary dance in Malaysia.ANITA SARAWAKAGE: 59Ithaini Mohamed Taib, better known as Anita Sarawak, is one of the country’s biggest names inshow business and often dubbed the Queen of Malaysian Entertainment.Born in Singapore, she comes from showbiz stock, her father was the late actor, producer anddirector Datuk S. Roomai Noor aka Datuk Mohamed Taib Salleh, a legend on the silver screen fromTemerloh, Pahang. Her mother was actress Ramlah Abdullah aka Siput Sarawak.
She started singing in her teens and became famous in the 1970s, known for her showmanship.Today she is a diva extraordinaire, a star of international proportions. She has appeared inentertainment programmes on Singapore’s Mediacorp and Suria networks which included Phua ChuKang, Bersama Anita and Mahligai Kita.The seemingly ageless Anita has successfully carved out an identity as a great entertainer of thisgeneration.MEJAR PATRICIA YAPP SYAU YINAGE: 35Malaysian’s first and only female MiG fighter pilot graduated with honours from the RMAF College inAlor Star in 1997.Operating under a call-sign of “Foxy”, she is an operational and tactical lead pilot with the No 17/19“Smokey Bandits” Squadron in Kuantan that flies the MiG-29N Fulcrum air superiority jets.Yapp is married to fellow air force pilot Captain S. Thayala Kumar Ravi Varman.ELLAAGE: 44With over 20 albums to her name, this rock star continues to thrill fans by being in the business for25 years.Ella or Norzila Aminuddin earned the title “Ratu Rock” in the 1990s, and she is one of the few femalerock stars in Malaysia.She has had three platinum-selling albums, and is one of the best-selling female artistes in Malaysia.She was the first Malaysian to record a full album in the USA, titled ELLA USA, and has worked withfamed guitarist Slash for her ninth album.
In 1998, Ella was chosen to sing Standing in the Eyes of the World, the theme song for theCommonwealth Games which were held in Kuala Lumpur.DATUK SOSILAWATI LAWIYAAGE: 47 (DIED AUG 30, 2010)She had built up a sizeable cosmetic empire but remained relatively unknown until her shockingmurder last year. While the initial report of her disappearance with her lawyer, financial adviser anddriver garnered little interest, the case rapidly developed into a major crime story that gripped thenation.When their murders were confirmed and gruesome details unfolded of how they were bludgeoned,their remains burnt and their ashes scattered over a river near Ladang Gadong in Tanjung Sepat,near Banting, the story went international.A lawyer, N. Pathmanabhan, 41, and three others are charged with the murders and awaiting trial.CARMEN SOOAGE: 33Soo’s first acting break was as an extra in Gorgeous, a 1999 Jackie Chan movie starring Shu Qi.She later got a part in an Aaron Kwok musical special. These were preparatory roles for her nowsuccessful acting career.Her breakthrough role was in the film The 3rd Generation where she acted opposite pop singerNicholas Teo and won the Most Promising Actress award at the 2006 Malaysian film awards. Shealso collaborated with Teo on the theme song for the movie.She has also acted on stage and on TV. In 2008, she starred in an ABS-CBN soap opera withFilipino actors Jericho Rosales, Cristine Reyes and Christopher de Leon called Kahit Isang Saglitthat was aired worldwide.
The show later earned an International Emmy Award nomination. Thanks to the TV series, Soo is amegastar in the Philippines.FRANCISSCA PETERAGE: 49In the 1980s, Francissca Peter was The Voice with her powerful vocals. With 20 number one hits,Francissca and her then singing partner, Royston Sta Maria (they were known as Roy & Fran) werethe singing sensation of their time.Among her most popular hits were Sekadar Di Pinggiran, Kerana Terpaksa and Aku Kehilanganmu.IDA NERINAAGE: 47This accomplished actress is known not just for her work in television and movies, but also on stage,where she has done plays and comedy shows.Over the years, Ida has worked with some of the biggest directors in the local film industry, includingYasmin Ahmad, Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba and Datuk Yusof Haslam.Among the numerous awards she’s received are: the 1992 Anugerah Skrin TV3 Best Actress awardfor Anak Angkat, 1998 Malaysian Film Festival (MFF) Best Actress award for Layar Lara and the2005 MFF award for Best Supporting Actress for Sepet.In 2008, Ida tried her hand at reality television when she and her friend Tania Khan were selected toparticipate in The Amazing Race Asia, Season 3, where they finished in third place.Despite suffering a serious spinal injury from a fall at her home in 2009 which has confined her to awheelchair, Ida continues to remain active in the entertainment and arts fields.HABSAH HASSAN
AGE: 58As a lyricist, Habsah has penned songs for some of the biggest names in the local music scene,including Sudirman, Noorkumalasari and Zaiton Sameon.In 1984, she became the first local lyricist to receive the Gold Disc award from WEA RecordingCompany (now Warner Music) for writing the most number of hit songs.She was also the first woman to win in the Best Lyricist category in the 1987 Muzik muzikcompetition.Some of Habsah’s award-winning songs include Menaruh Harapan, Kukehilangan Mu and MerisikKhabar. She also dabbles in screenwriting and film producing; most recently, she wrote andproduced Qaisy & Laila in 2005.DATIN PADUKA MARINA MAHATHIRAge: 54Eldest child of former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Marina is best knownfor her work as president of the Malaysian AIDS Council, an umbrella body of 40 NGOs working inHIV/AIDS in Malaysia – a role she held for 12 years from 1993 to 2005.She was instrumental for putting treatment for HIV/AIDS patients on the table and getting theGovernment to provide anti-viral treatment for Malaysians living with HIV for free.She is currently a member of the Board of Sisters in Islam (SIS), an advocacy group which fights forjustice and equality for Muslim women.An avid blogger and twitterer, she also writes a long-running fortnightly column, Musings, in TheStar; produces TV programmes for young women, writes and speaks regularly on women’s issues,particularly where they relate to Islam, gender and HIV/AIDS.She and Zainah Anwar are the only two Malaysians in “Women Deliver 100” , a list of the 100 mostinspiring people who have improved the lives of girls and women worldwide by Women Deliver, aNew York-based advocacy group.
JACLYN VICTORAge: 32She shot to fame when she beat 10,000 contestants to become the first Malaysian Idol in 2004.Jaclyn’s post-Idol career has seen her release three albums and perform in sold-out concerts bothlocally and abroad. She subsequently also participated in and won Ikon Malaysia, another realitysinging competition.She has been given numerous awards for her unique voice, including five Anugerah Industri Muzik(AIM) awards and the XIII Shanghai Asian Music Festival Golden Prize in 2005. She was alsofeatured on the highly-anticipated Special Edition of Disney’s High School Musical 2 soundtrack.In 2009, Jaclyn debuted as an actress in Talentime, for which she received a Most PromisingActress award at the Malaysian Film Festival.The songstress even tried her hand at musical theatre in 2010’s Cuci the Musical Season 2. Shewas most recently seen onscreen in local Tamil film, Appalam.JO KUKATHASAge: 48As the founder and director of the Instant Cafe Theatre Company (started in the late 1980s),Kukathas is an accomplished veteran of the local theatre scene who dabbles in almost all aspects ofthe craft as actress, director, comedian, writer.She and the company are known for their humorous yet bold critiques of contemporary society andpolitics. As as actress, she has received many awards for her work both here and abroad,particularly for her solo performances in plays such as Atomic Jaya and Election Day. She isespecially well-known for her involvement in cross-cultural productions such as Breaking Ji Poh KaSi Pe Cah and Air Con.DATUK ILANI ISAHAK
AGE: 58 (DIED MARCH 2, 2011)The lawyer-turned-politician took up the challenging role of Inter-faith Relations Working Committeechairperson when she accepted the appointment by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak inApril last year. Her appointment was widely lauded because she was “the epitome of moderationand inclusiveness” for her stand on the need for mutual respect among the different religions to facechallenges and settle disputes.She took up politics when she joined Umno in 1980 and then Semangat 46 in 1988 and won theparliamentary seat of Kota Baru. She defended the seat in the following general election andrejoined Umno when the “new” party was formed in 1996.Her work on inter-faith matters begun when she was appointed in 2004 to head the National UnityAdvisory Panel, the precursor to the Inter-faith Committee, by Prime Minister Tun Abdullah AhmadBadawi.As Inter-faith Committee chairperson, she sought to bring Muslim and non-Muslim leaders togetherwith continuous dialogue to bring about understanding.Her promising start was sadly cut short whenshe succumbed to breast cancer early this month.LAI MENGAge: 84Lai Meng, who is known in the industry as Meng Yee (Aunty Meng), started out singing beforeventuring into acting.Her first TV series, Empat Sekawan, is remembered to this day. Her acting touches a chord, whethershe is playing a busybody aunty, a beastly mother-in-law or a loving grandmother.In 2008, she was nominated for best supporting actress at the 45th Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan,for her role in Money No Enough 2 when she was 81.Today, this woman who is considered by many to be a national treasure, continues to act.LEE SINJE
AGE: 35Lee Sinje got her start when she was discovered by famed Hong Kong actress/director Sylvia Changat a Kuala Lumpur film audition in 1995.Moving to Taiwan with her mentor, she started singing butlater switched to acting.She is best known for her role in The Eye, a horror film by the Pang Brothers, for which she won thecoveted Golden Horse Award for Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Festival and a Hong KongGolden Bauhinia Award.She was also awarded the Best Newcomer Award at the Berlin Film Festivalin 2004 for her role in Betelnut Beauty.She has carved out a niche as a serious actress who many believe is the next Michelle Yeoh.Last year, she starred in her first Malaysian production, the critically acclaimed and box office hit, Icekacang Puppy Love, with fellow Malaysian stars Ah Niu and Fish Leong. She is married to directorOxide Pang.Lee is also known for her voluntary work as an ambassador for World Vision.LEE LEE LANAGE: 63Having first founded the Federal Academy of Ballet in 1967, Lee’s academy is now the country’smost established dance school, with five branches and over 1,500 students.Lee, who first took up dance at the age of 14, started teaching ballet part-time to put herself throughuniversity, but it soon became a full-time profession.Her academy has now ventured into different dance genres, including jazz, tap and cultural dances.She further formed the Kuala Lumpur Dance Theatre in 1984, to create a performing arm for heracademy.Having led her team to perform in hundreds of concerts around the world, Lee holds several awardsincluding the Saitama Choreographic Prize and the Imperial Society of Teachers of DancingInternational Award.
She was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the Malaysianperforming arts at the 2009 BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.RAFIDAH ABDULLAHAGE: 35The Universiti Malaya law graduate became a familiar face when she joined 3R, the long-running TVseries that focuses on women’s issues in 2000, as one of the original trio of hosts.She left at the end of the 5th season to pursue a Master’s in Scriptwriting degree from GoldsmithsCollege, London, on a British Council scholarship. Upon her return, she has conducted scriptwritingworkshops, written commercials, TV dramas, presentation videos, educational videos and a feature-length movie.She returned to 3R as the lead writer for its 10th and 11th season. Her first feature film, Gol & Gincu,which premiered in 2005 was turned into a popular TV series.Rafidah has been an active volunteer for NGOs like Food not Bombs that provides food to thehomeless in Kuala Lumpur and participates in activities organised by Sisters In Islam. She wasUnicef’s Malaysia Goodwill Ambassador from 2005 to 2008. She returned to the screen by co-hosting Astro’s children’s science programme, Clever.LATIFAH OMARAGE: 73Known for her coy looks and the mole beside her lower lip, this black-and-white screen icon was ather peak from the 1950s to the 1970s.Many of her films are still held as classics today, such as Gurindam Jiwa and Hang Jebat, but she ismost associated with the 1959 classic Bawang Putih, Bawang Merah.
DATUK FARAH KHANAGE: 50sSingapore-born Farah opened her first store, The Link, along Orchard Road in Singapore, straightout of school. She gave up her stake in the store when she got married and moved to Malaysia.The fabulously chic Farah was responsible for bringing luxury brands into the Malaysian marketsince the late 1980s.In 1989, she founded The Melium Group with its first franchise for Aigner, a well known Germanleather brand, followed by Hugo Boss, a premier menswear brand.Today, The Melium Group comprises over 50 premium luxury and lifestyle brands from ErmenegildoZegna, Stuart Weitzman, Furla, Tod’s, Emilio Pucci, Cole Haan, Juicy Couture to Yves SaintLaurent.Her efforts in promoting trade between Malaysia and Italy was recognised in 2007 when she wasawarded the Italian Star of Solidarity Order by the Italian Government.She launched The Melium Galleria, a promenade-style galleria in Suria KLCC – offering anassortment of international brands, including the homegrown multi-brand store, Aseana.In 2003, she created her own label, Farah Khan, which became the first Malaysian designer brand tobe sold in 31 cities around the world.To complete the lifestyle element in her business, she introduced Australia’s international café chain,Dome Café, and Britain’s leading sushi restaurant, Yo! Sushi, in 1995 and 2007 respectively.TERESA KOKAGE: 56She holds the record for the largest majority in any constituency when she retained herparliamentary seat of Seputeh in Kuala Lumpur with 36,492 votes in the March 8, 2008 generalelection.
She is Assembly woman for Kinrara and is the senior Selangor executive councillor in charge ofinvestment, trade and industry.This feisty and hardworking politician is no stranger to controversy. In 2008, she was arrested underthe Internal Security Act after a newspaper alleged that she “advised” a mosque in Puchong not touse loudspeakers for the azan call to prayer, an allegation which was later proved to be false.She was detained for seven days but was released following widespread public outcry.DATUK AMBIGA SREENIVASANAge: 55Ambiga Sreenivasan was President of the Malaysian Bar Council for two years from 2007 to 2009,the second woman to assume the position. As president, Ambiga was outstanding with her strongadvocacy for good governance, democracy, and human rights. She organised the “March forJustice” in Putrajaya which called for. among other things, judicial reform. Ambiga was also vocal incondemning politically-motivated arrests.She has also confronted the issue of gender inequality in Parliament and successfully fought toamend Malaysia’s Federal Constitution to ensure that women’s testimonies would carry equal weightto men’s in Shariah courts.In 2009, Ambiga was one of eight women to receive the Secretary of State’s Award for InternationalWomen of Courage from the United States’ State Department. She received the award from US FirstLady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.DATIN SERI ROSMAH MANSORAge: 59Our Prime Minister’s wife has carved an active and independent role for herself, befitting thedemands and expectations of the 21st century. She takes interest in a wide range of issues and isthe patron or driving force of many worthy causes.
Born in Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan, Rosmah showed her promise from young. She was schooled atthe prestigious boarding school for bright Malay girls, Tunku Khursiah College. After completing hertertiary and higher education at Universiti Malaya and Louisiana State University in 1974 and 1978respectively, Rosmah returned to launch her corporate career, putting to good use her Bachelor’sdegree in Sociology and Anthropology and her Masters degree in Sociology and AgricultureExtension.She served at Bank Pertanian until 1983. She took on the position of business developmentmanager at Island and Peninsular Berhad where she served until 1987. That same year she marriedDatuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and began a new chapter of her life as a politician’s wife.She is the president of the Welfare Association of Minister’s Wives (Bakti). patron of variousassociations, such as Children in Hope Foundation, Malaysian Nature Society, Society of theOrthopedically Handicapped Malaysia, Malaysia Aids Council, National Heart Institute Foundation,Thalassemia Association, National Athletes’ Welfare Association and the Foundation for theDevelopment of Underprivileged Children and the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM). She isalso the president of the Girl Guides Association.But among the many causes, the one that is perhaps closest to her heart is early childhoodeducation and care. This mother of four tirelessly promotes this field through her initiative, thePermata project, which includes Permata Pintar for gifted children.She also initiated and hosted the First Ladies Summit in 2010 where 15 first ladies and sixrepresentatives of first ladies and 20 ministers attended.Her humanitarian work has earned her recognition in the form of awards and citations, the latestbeing the “Award of Social Responsibility” by the city of Ankara, Turkey, last month.DATUK MICHELLE YEOHAge: 49Undoubtedly the most famous living Malaysian woman, Ipoh-born Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng’sclimb to international stardom began when she was crowned Miss Malaysia at the age of 21. Shesubsequently appeared in a commercial with Jackie Chan which led to the start of her movie career.The trained ballet dancer took to making Hong Kong action and martial arts movies.
Her prowess and beauty won her the role of Bond girl Wai Lin in the 1997 James Bond filmTomorrow Never Dies, which made her a bona fide Hollywood star.The movie that sealed her fame was the multiple Academy Award-winning Chinese action filmCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which she was nominated for the BAFTA “Best Actress” award.In 2005, she played Mameha in Memoirs of a Geisha and worked on several more Hollywoodmovies. Her last movie, Reign of Assassins, saw her returning to the wuxia genre. But the coup ofher career could very well be the role of Myanmar freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyi in The Lady.Already, there is Oscar buzz.TOH PUAN UMA SAMBANTHANAGE: 82The wife of the late Tun V.T Sambanthan, one of the founding fathers of the nation who was MICpresident and the first Labour Minister, Uma was an activist, social worker and leading figure inMalaysia’s cooperative movement. In the 1950s, she was actively involved in fighting for women’srights, and was involved in making rural women aware of the benefits of Malayan citizenship. Shewas one of the founders of the National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO), and co-founderand current general secretary of charity organisation Sri Ramakrishna Sarada Foundation.She was also the chairman and director of the National Land Finance Co-operative Society (NLFCS)from 1980 to 1995, and its president in 1995 and 1996. She was awarded the Tun Fatimah GoldMedal by the NCWO in 1992, in conjunction with the Women’s Day celebration.DATUK DR MAZLAN OTHMANAGE: 59Malaysia’s first astrophysicist became the first woman to be awarded a physics doctorate from NewZealand’s University of Otago.In 1990, she set up Malaysia’s national planetarium in Kuala Lumpur and in 1993, was madedirector-general of the Space Science Studies Division in the Science, Technology and EnvironmentMinistry.
In November 1999, Kofi Annan, secretary general of the United Nations appointed Dr Mazlan asdirector of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in Vienna.At the request of then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, she returned to Malaysia in July2002 to set up the Malaysian National Space Agency, where her work led to the launch of the firstMalaysian astronaut, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor. In 2007, Dr Mazlan was reappointed as UNOOSAdirector by secretary-general Ban Ki-moon where she is in charge of implementing the UnitedNation’s outer space-related policies until to-date.TAN SRI RAFIDAH ABDUL AZIZAGE: 67Former Minister of International Trade and Industry Tan Sri Rafidah who has been in politics formore than 30 years, earned herself the nickname of the Iron Lady of Malaysia, for her no-nonsensestyle.Born in November, 1943, in Selama in Perak, Rafidah – who actually aspired to become adoctor – went on to University Malaya and instead, obtained her degree in Economics in 1996 andalso a Masters in Economics in 1970.Rafidah was exposed to local political movements from a young age. In 1967, when she was 24, shewas appointed Economics Bureau chief for Wanita Umno and in 1973, she was appointedsenator.She became MP for Kuala Kangsar in 1986. In 1987, she was appointed Minister ofInternational Trade and Industry, a position she remained in until 2008. In 1999, she became WanitaUmno chief, a post she held until March 2009.After the March 8, 2008 polls, Rafidah was dropped from the Cabinet.TAN SRI DR ROBAAYAH ZAMBAHARIAGE: 59Highly respected and known for her extensive experience in cardiology, both locally andinternationally, Dr Robaayah is CEO and managing director of the National Heart Institute (IJN) in2009.
Dr Robaayah, who pursued medicine at Universiti Malaya in 1977 and received specialty training atthe Academy of Medicine of Malaysia, is a fellow of Royal College of Physicians of Glasgow, theRoyal College of Physicians of London, and the American College of Cardiology.She became well-known when as part of the team of doctors who treated Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamadwhen he suffered a heart attack in 1989. She was appointed senior consultant cardiologist and headof department at IJN in 1992.DATUK P.G. LIMAGE: 93Malaysia’s first woman ambassador was born in England to a privileged life. Lim Phaik Gan was thedaughter of Lim Cheng Ean, a noted Cambridge-trained lawyer in Penang.She followed in her father’s footsteps and read law at Cambridge University in 1935. In the late1950s, Lim made a name for herself as an advocate, and by advising and representing workers’unions, including the Railwaymen’s Union of Malaya, the National Union of Plantation Workers andthe Transport Workers Unions in their legal battles.In 1971, she was appointed to serve in the United Nations as Malaysia’s first woman ambassador.Her 10-year tenure in the foreign service led her across Europe in various diplomatic appointments.Upon her return to Malaysia in the early 1980s, she was appointed director of the RegionalArbitration Centre in 1982. She held this post until 2000.She was honoured in October 2009 with the prestigious Merdeka Award for her outstandingcontributions as a diplomat, lawyer and director of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration.TUN DR SITI HASMAH MOHD ALIAGE: 84She was Malaysia’s much-loved and admired Prime Minister’s wife, a role she played to perfectionfor 22 years, and was also one of the first Malay female doctors. Born in Klang, Selangor, in July
1926, Dr Siti Hasmah enrolled for medicine at the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singaporeafter World War II. It was there she met her husband, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.Ten years later, she was the first woman to be appointed State Maternal and Child Health Officer inKedah.Tun Dr Siti Hasmah, authored several articles on family medicine and the socio-economicfactors associated with pregnancy and childbearing in Malaysia.As the Prime Minister’s wife, she has served as president, chairman and patron to variousorganisations from Bakti (Welfare Club of the Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers), theMalaysian Girl Guides Association, Kedah Family Planning Association, Malaysian MedicalAssociation Foundation, Association for the Rehabilitation of Handicapped Children, Federal ofFamily Planning Associations of Malaysia, Malaysian Association of Maternal Health and Neonateand the Malaysian Pediatric Association.TAN SRI ZARINAH ANWARAGE: 50sZarinah was appointed the Chairman of the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) on April 1, 2006.She had served as the Deputy Chief Executive of the SC and member of the Commission sinceDecember 2001. She is the Vice Chairman of the Emerging Markets Committee of the InternationalOrganisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and was the Chairman of the Asean CapitalMarkets Forum from 2006-2008. She currently chairs the Malaysian Venture Capital DevelopmentCouncil (MVCDC) and the Capital Market Development Fund (CMDF). She is also a member of theLabuan Offshore Financial Services Authority (LOFSA), the Financial Reporting Foundation (FRF),Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC), and the Board of Directors of the InstitutIntegriti Malaysia (IIM) and the Asian Institute of Finance Malaysia.Prior to joining the SC, Zarinah was the Deputy Chairman of Shell Malaysia, a company she workedin for 22 years. She graduated with an LLB (Hons) from the Universiti Malaya.DATUK SERI SHAHRIZAT ABDUL JALILAGE: 57
The charming and energetic Shahrizat studied law at Universiti Malaya and went on to become amagistrate in 1977. She went into private practice years later and then moved into the corporatesector. She became the chairman of two public listed companies, pushing the envelope for being thefirst woman to chair a public-listed company. Shahrizat became MP for the Lembah Pantaiconstituency in Kuala Lumpur in 1995 for 13 years until she lost her seat to Nurul Izzah Anwar in theMarch 2008 general election.She was the first Women and Family Development Minister – mooted by then Prime Minister Tun DrMahathir Mohamad in 2001.In March 2009, she defeated Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz at the Wanita Umno General Assembly electionsand became Wanita Umno chief.A month later, she was appointed a senator and reappointed Minister of Women, Family andCommunity Development, a post she holds until today.DATUK PROF ZURAINA ABDUL MAJIDAGE: 66As the first female archaeologist in the country, Prof Zuraina has had an illustrious career thatincludes making several significant archaeological discoveries. Her work in Lenggong Valley in KotaTampan, Perak, proved the existence of Homo sapiens in Malaysia 74,000 years ago during thePalaeolithic era. The discovery was featured in a two-hour special on the Discovery Channel.In 2006, she was appointed to her current position of commissioner for the National HeritageDepartment.TAN SRI DR DEVAKI KRISHNANAGE: 87Devaki marked many firsts in her long career spanning 58 years. She was the first woman to contestin an open public election in Malaysia. She stood and won the Kuala Lumpur Municipal Election in1952, a seat she won again in 1955. Subsequently, Devaki joined the MIC and in 1959, became the
first Indian woman to stand in the Federation of Malaya’s first general election for the StateAssembly seat of Sentul and lost by a few votes.Devaki was appointed Wanita MIC secretary in 1975, and deputy president in 1984 (a position sheheld for 10 years). She actively recruited women throughout the nation for the party. She also servedas vice-president of the Selangor MIC and chairman of the Selangor Wanita MIC. She juggled herpolitical career with a 25-year stint as a teacher,and is also a major in the Civil Defence Department.Among the awards she has received are the Tokoh Wanita award in 1985 by the National Council ofWomen’s Organisations (NCWO) and the “Woman of the Year 1998” award by the AmericanBiographical Institute.DATUK NG POH TIPAGE: 67Ng, who started her career as a reporter in 1971 with the then Straits Times, set a benchmark forwomen journalists in the country when she was appointed group chief editor of The Star in 1993.She was the first woman in Malaysia to hold such a post, and served in the capacity until 2003.During her long tenure, the newspaper experienced a phenomenal growth and expanded itscoverage by creating many new sections and pullouts to cater to the interests and demands of itsreaders.Upon her retirement, Ng was appointed The Star’s group editorial and education adviser and AsianCentre for Media Studies executive director. In February this year, she was appointed editorialadviser to the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.YVONNE CHIAAGE: 57As Hong Leong Bank group managing director and CEO, Chia holds the distinction of being the firstwoman to lead a Malaysia commercial bank. She made her mark in the Bank of America in the1970s, which she left after 18 years as vice president and country head of marketing. She was the
first woman in Asia to receive the CEO Eagle Pin for consistent and excellent performance. In 1994,she joined RHB Bank as general manager, and went on to become CEO and managing director.During her tenure there, she helped steer the bank through the 1998 financial crisis.In 2003, she was appointed to her current position at Hong Leong, where she has set about anumber of successful initiatives, including the full-fledged Hong Leong Islamic Bank.TUN DR FATIMAH HASHIMAGE: 86 (DIED JAN 9, 2010)The country’s first woman minister was born in Muar, Johor, and was a teacher before joining politicsin 1947. She headed Umno’s Kaum Ibu (which later became Wanita Umno) for 16 years, until 1972.With Datuk F.R. Bhupalan and others, she established the National Council of Women’sOrganisations in 1963 and helmed the organisation as president for 24 years.On May 20, 1969, she was appointed Welfare Minister, making her the nation’s first woman minister– a role she held until March 1, 1973.In August 2009, she was chosen as one of the four outstanding Malaysians to receive the MerdekaAward for the Education and Community category.DATIN PADUKA SISTER ENDA RYANAGE: 83The founder of Assunta Primary School and Assunta Secondary School in Petaling Jaya andchairperson of the SM Assunta Board of Governors arrived in Malaya in 1954 to set up schools forgirls. She immediately set up Assunta Primary School, followed by Assunta Secondary School thefollowing year. She became the first headmistress of the schools. Through her tireless work, theschools flourished, complete with the Leo Club, Interact Club, Assunta Military Band, Girl Guidesand the Assunta Welfare Organisation. In 1966, she became a Malaysian citizen. She retired in1989.
In her 31 years of service, Sister Enda received the Excellent Service Award from the Ministry ofEducation (1985), the Pingat Jasa Cemerlang (1986), the Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (PJK.) from theSultan of Selangor (1987) and the Anugerah Tokoh Guru Selangor (1990). In December 2007, shewas conferred the Darjah Kebesaran Dato’ Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (DSIS) which carries thetitle “Datin Paduka”. She now resides in the Assunta Convent in PJ Old Town.TUN ENDON MAHMOODAGE: 64 (DIED OCT 25, 2005)Gracious and elegant Endon, who was of Malay-Japanese descent, is remembered for her efforts torevive the local batik industry and her love for the traditional kebaya dress and the songket fabric. Asthe wife of Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, she was able to use her position to gooduse by launching a carefully planned long term campaign to raise the standards of the batik industryand its marketing reach. She started the Malaysian Batik Movement which is now being managed byher daughter, Nori Abdullah, in her capacity as chairman of Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia(Penyayang), Endon’s brainchild, in part, to promote batik internationally.Endon was also a keen supporter and patron of the arts and theatre. She passed away after a three-year battle with breast cancer.ADIBAH AMINAGE: 75Author, writer, linguist Adibah Amin, whose real name is Khalidah Adibah Amin, will always beknown as “cikgu” to her students. She is a prolific writer in both Bahasa Malaysia and English, andhas penned countless books, drama scripts, short stories and columns. Up until 2006, she wasknown for her education articles in The Star. She taught for many years at secondary schools andlanguage institutions and even made a name for herself as an actress.
TAN SRI DR ZETI AKHTAR AZIZAGE: 63In May 2000, Zeti became the first woman governor of Bank Negara. The daughter of RoyalProfessor Ungku Aziz and Sharifah Azah Mohamed Alsagoff, she received a Bachelor’s degree inEconomics from Universiti Malaya.She went on to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, to complete a PhD inmonetary and international economics, carrying out pioneering work on capital flows and itsimplications for monetary policy as part of her dissertation.Her career with Bank Negara started when she joined the economics department of Bank Negara in1985 and was appointed secretary to the board of the bank in 1987.In 1989, she went to Bank Negara’s London representative office as the chief representative.She was promoted to Bank Negara adviser and was later appointed one of the four assistantgovernors.A. CHANDRAMALARAGE: 71Chandramalar was the first woman to head the Anti-Vice Branch in Penang in 1972, where sheearned the moniker “Woman of Steel” for her tough stance on pimps, drug pushers and gamblingsyndicates. During her five-year tenure, she conducted thousands of raids and saved many under-aged girls from prostitution.In 1977, Chandramalar became the first woman to take on the position of an executive staff at thePolice College in Kuala Kubu Baru. In 1989, she became the first female Superintendent of Police,as deputy officer in charge of criminal investigation (courts) for Kuala Lumpur. She would soon topherself in 1993, when she become the first woman to attain the rank of Assistant Commissioner of
Police, and was transferred to Bukit Aman as assistant director of research and planning. She retiredfrom the post in 1994.DATUK SERI DR NG YEN YENAGE: 64Kota Baru-born Ng is the first woman Chinese federal minister in Malaysia and the first-electedwoman vice-president of the MCA in 2008.But if it weren’t for her mother, Ng’s life could have been very different. She was almost married offby her old-fashioned father when she was 17, but her mother prevented it and ensured that shecompleted her education.She went on to study medicine and graduated from Universiti Malaya with a medical degree in 1972.She was awarded a Diploma of Reproductive Medicine from the Johns Hopkins University, USA.She joined the MCA in 1975 and in 1981, she began her public service career as district councillorfor Temerloh, Pahang.In 1995, she went into full-time politics, giving up medicine in 1995. Four years later, she became thenational chairman of the Wanita MCA and was elected MP for Raub. She was appointed DeputyMinister of Culture, Arts and Tourism. In 2003, she became Deputy Finance Minister.The charismatic amd dynamic Ng was Minister of Women, Family and Community Developmentfrom March 2008 till April 2009 when she was appointed to her current position of Tourism Minister.TAN SRI SITI NORMA YAAKOBAGE: 70She is Malaysia’s first woman High Court judge, Court of Appeal judge, Federal Court judge andChief Judge of Malaya. In 2007, Siti Norma retired after 43 years of exemplary service. She hasserved in the highest judicial office to be occupied by a woman in Malaysia, marking this as a mostremarkable breakthrough for women’s achievements.
In January 2008, she was appointed a judge of the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC)Courts for a period of three years.Siti Norma is also a designated member of the Panels of Conciliators and of Arbitrators maintainedby the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) for a period of six yearseffective from 2008 till July 2014.ASHA GILLAGE: 38ASHA became a household name with her stint as a Channel V veejay.In her shows, she has interviewed celebrities like the Bee Gees, Lenny Kravitz, Britney Spears andDestiny’s Child. She has also co-emceed shows with Christina Aguilera and Kelis.As the host of theLonely Planet’s Six Degrees travel series, she won many fans with her warm, down-to-earth style.The Punjabi-English beauty has also appeared in ads, TV series, film and radio.She was a Tag Hueur ambassador in 2005. What makes her stand out are her intelligence andunconventional streak of independence.She not only writes, produces and directs, she is anoutspoken women’s rights activist. Her involvement in the women’s rights movement goes back toher university days in England.She has participated in many fund-raising and awareness campaignsand events, including the highly controversial 2002 Malaysian production of The VaginaMonologues.In 2004 she became a spokesperson for Amnesty International’s Stop Violence AgainstWomen campaign.After a two-year hiatus to have her son, she now juggles single motherhood with part-time jobs asemcee, host and model.KAVITA SIDHUAGE: 39This statuesque beauty is one of Malaysia’s most well-known personalities, and holds the distinctionof being the first Malaysian beauty queen to win an international title, Miss Charm International 1990.
Kavita has also modelled for Jean-Louis Scherner in Paris annd Escada in Munich. She has beeninvolved in numerous television and fi lm projects, including award-winning movies like Layar Lara,Mimpi Moon and the Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam fi lms.In 2009, she modelled a RM100mil diamond- encrusted dress by Mouawad at the STYLO FashionGrand Prix KL and launched her own clothing label last year.MELINDA LOOIAGE: 37The three-time Designer of the Year award winner has dressed royalty as well as Hollywoodcelebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Britney Spears and Mena Suvari.In the decade she has been in the business, she made waves with her so-called story-telling artpieces and her signature avant garde Gothic style which even quirky film director Tim Burton wouldlove.Looi has also successfully designed Muslim inspired collections and as well as bridal wear.She continues to reinvent herself. Now married with three children, she has embarked on achallenging course of developing an ecofriendly cotton range of clothes.LING TANAGE: 35The country’s first international supermodel was discovered by a Mandarin-speaking commercialdirector from New York, Danny Wolf, who convinced her to move to New York in November 1994.In the Big Apple, Ling landed her fi rst runway job with fellow Malaysian, designer Zang Toi. Ling hassince broken stereotypes.
At a time when Caucasian models dominated the runways and editorial pages, she was able to landtop advertising campaigns for big labels like Armani, Prescriptives, Guess, Wolford, Daryl K, BrunoMagli, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Banana Republic to name a few.She’s walked the catwalks of top couture houses such as Zang Toi and Givenchy and is still muchsought after.DATUK TOM ABANG SAUFIAGE: 55Best known for successfully marrying the country’s rich heritage with contemporary design . Herdistinctive creations are often in fl owing silhouettes, vivid colours and vibrant prints.She has amassed numerous awards such as Designer Of The Year award at the MalaysianInternational Fashion Awards in 2004, the Stylo Classic Award at the fi rst Stylo KL Fashion Festivalin 2008 and the Fashion Tribute to 1Malaysia Best Adaptation award at the Stylo Mercedez BenzFashion Gala last April.DATUK SARIMAH AHMADAGE: 69She made her acting debut in classic Malay movie Ali Baba Bujang Lapuk in 1960 and went on to bethe glamorous and popular star of Malay classics of the 1960s and 1970s including Ibu Mertuakuand Madu Tiga. Sarimah has enjoyed a long movie career and later film credits include Tiada EsokBagimu (1979), Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan (1983) and Tarik-Tarik (1993).
DATIN SERI DR WAN AZIZAH WAN ISMAILAGE: 58She was the shy doctor-wife of a charismatic politician, who was happy to stay in the background. Allthat changed for Dr Wan Azizah when her husband, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, was sacked asDeputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister on Sept 2, 1998, and she was thrust into the limelight.Following his dismissal, Anwar launched a people’s reform movement in September 1998. After hisarrest, Dr Wan Azizah continue her husband’s reformation movement.On April 4, 1999, she was elected as Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) fi rst president. In the 1999general election, she led the party to win fi ve seats in Parliament and was elected MP forPermatang Pauh (a seat formerly held by Anwar). She successfully retained her seat in the 2004and 2008 elections.On July 31, 2008, she resigned from her seat to make way for her husband’s return to Parliament.Despite her lack of experience and barbs that she was a mere puppet, Dr Wan Azizah won publicadmiration for maintaining her grace and dignity under very trying circumstances.WAN ZALEHA RADZIAGE: 47In 1985, when TV3 started broadcasting news, a fresh-faced broadcast journalist made her debutalongside Mahathir Lokman and captured the hearts of Malaysians for many years after that. WanZaleha Radzi’s combination of beauty and intelligence is well-remembered to this day.She is currently doing what she loves best: riding and organising equestrian events in Kuala Lumpur.An accomplished equestrian herself, she had been in competitive sports since she was 15.
Under her company Asiapromote Ventures Sdn Bhd, she and her husband, Peter Imran Winton, hasbrought the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) Five-Star KL Grand Prix to Malaysia since2003. Malaysia is the first Asian nation to stage the world’s highest-rated horse show-jumping event.She wants to get the Malaysian public excited about the sport and also promote it as a Malaysianevent for equestrians and horse enthusiasts as well.UJI RASHIDAGE: 50sThis singer and actress was the nation’s darling in the 1970s and 80s. She has recorded more than15 albums with hits like Semakin Hari Semakin Sayang, Mengapa Derita Yang Di Cari and Rindu KuSemakin Mendalam.A talented actress, she was in over 100 dramas for TV and the theatre. Her debut film,PermintaanTerakhir (1974) was signed under Shaw Brothers Hong Kong.In her heyday, Uji travelled extensively with the Malaysian Tourism Department as an ambassadorof Malaysian arts and culture.She was the presenter for TV3’s Muzik Muzik programme in 1985 and was awarded the AnugerahBintang Popular award by Berita Harian for her outstanding achievements in the business in 1994.AMBER CHIAAGE: 30She has been modelling since she was 18 but she shot to fame at 22 after being chosen as one oftwo Guess ambassadors by Paul Marciano, creative director of Guess in 2004.Since then Chia has been one of the country’s most sought-after models, known for her “bee-stunglips” and for her professional attitude during shoots. She has graced the covers of several local andforeign magazines.
Chia has also begun acting and has appeared in several Chinese movies such as The 3rdGeneration, Possessed, and Trio & a Bed.The business-savvy Chia, who recently became a wife and mother, has embarked on a new careerdirection by setting up the Amber Chia Academy to train and groom young models.CANNY ONGAGE: 28 (DIED JUNE 13, 2003)Canny Ong will always be remembered as the woman who was at the wrong place, at the wrongtime. On June 13, 2003 at about 10.45pm after having dinner with relatives and friends at BangsarShopping Complex, Kuala Lumpur, Ong went alone to the car park to retrieve her mother’s car. Itwas her farewell dinner as she was due to fly home to San Diego, United States, where she livedwith her American husband. When Ong did not return, her mother alerted security. Close-circuitcameras in the car park showed the Proton Tiara driven by her, crashing through the parking boom.The heart-wrenching news of her abduction was played out in the media over the next few days, witha series of alleged sightings of her. On June 18, 2003, her charred body, with hands bound and neckshowing signs of strangulation, was found in a culvert in Jalan Klang Lama, Her car was discovered3km away. Three days later, Ahmad Najib Aris, a 27-year-old aircraft cleaning supervisor, wasarrested and he confessed. In February 2005, the Shah Alam High Court sentenced him to death formurder and a further 20 years jail for raping Ong.Sadly, it took the death of a young and beautiful IT analyst to bring about greater security measure incar parks in shopping centres and malls.DATUK RASAMMAH NAOMI NAVAREDNAM AKA MRS F.R. BHUPALANAGE: 84Educator, unionist and activist, Rasammah has spent a lifetime fighting for a better society. Aftergraduating from University of Malaya in Singapore in 1955, she became a teacher at the Methodist
Girls School in Penang. This led her to notice that women teachers were discriminated against interms of salary.She was founder president of the Women Teachers Union of the Federation of Malaya in 1960.Rasammah was the first honorary secretary general of the Malayan Teachers National Congress,which is affiliated to the World Confederation of Organisations of the Teaching Profession (WCOTP).She was the founder principal of the Methodist College and in 1983, she received the Tokoh Guruaward in 1986.She is also a founder member of the National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO), and wasits first secretary general.Currently, she is chairperson of the National Council of Women’s Organisations’ Law and HumanRights Commission, finance chairperson of YWCA-KL and sits on the Methodist EducationFoundation board.MARINA CHINAge: 55IT was her combination of winsome looks and speed that made Chin such a star on the track and offit. She was the national women’s 100m champion as well as a top hurdler in the late 1970s. Duringher career as a national athlete, she won seven SEA Games gold medals and a gold and two silvermedals in the Asian track and field competition. She is most remembered for winning both the 100mand 200m hurdles at the 1977 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. She was further named Sportswomanfor the Year two years in a row, 1976 and 1977.Chin, who was actively involved with the National Sports Council to draw up strategies for athletetraining, is currently the principal of the Bukit Jalil Sports School. Appointed to the post in 2007, sheis the first former national athlete to head the school.
DATUK M. RAJAMANIAGE: 67The “Queen of the Tracks” was the first Malaysian woman to win a gold medal in any sport at theAsian Games when she won the 400m in record time at the 1966 Games.From 1964 to 1968, shealso won seven gold medals in two SEA Games and represented Malaysia at the 1964 Olympics inTokyo.Rajamani was awarded the coveted National Sportswoman of the Year Award two years in a row, in1966 and 1967. Following an accident at the age of 24 in 1968, Rajamani retired from athletics andtook up coaching, and saw the emergence of sprint star Marina Chin under her guidance.SHALIN ZULKIFLIAGE: 33Shalin Zulkifli started bowling at nine and in 1994, she became the youngest player and firstMalaysian to win the Ladies Open of the Kent Malaysian All-Stars. This professional 10-pin bowlerand former Asian number one has raked up numerous wins in national and internationaltournaments, winning the hearts of her countrymen. She holds a degree in Sports Science thatspecialises in Sports Psychology and Coaching. Her latest project is the baby she’s expecting withher husband, Azidi Ameran. In fact, she was pregnant during the recent Asian Games inGuangzhou. The women’s team, led by Shalin, won one bronze medal.SYLVIA NGAGE: 61Ng made history at the 1978 Commonwealth games in Edmonton, Canada, by becoming the firstAsian woman to win the badminton singles gold, as well as the first Malaysian female athlete bag agold in the history of the Games. She was also the only player to win a gold medal for the country at
the 1975 SEA Games. She was honoured as Sportswoman of the Year twice, in 1975 and 1978, andwon the national badminton champion title five times before she retired in 1980.In 2004, Ng was inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia Hall of Fame.JUDY CHENG-HOPKINSAGE: 60The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support is an ex-St George’s girl fromPenang.Cheng-Hopkins holds a Bachelor’s degree in English literature from Beloit College in Wisconsin, aMasters in economic development from Columbia University’s School of International and PublicAffairs, and diplomas from Universite de Haute, Bretagne in France and Harvard University.She applied for a job with the UNDP and received her first posting to Africa in 1982 where she spenta decade in Zambia and Kenya.From Africa, she was reassigned to the World Food Programme (WFP) headquartered in Romewhere she headed the WFP for Asia, the former Soviet Union and the Balkans.From 2006 to 2009, she was made Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees, in charge ofoperations in over 118 countries.On August 17, 2009, she was appointed to her present position by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a role she earned after having served 30 years in the UN in many different areas.She is married to Dr Thomas Hopkins, a consultant in development work, and they have twodaughters.ROSE CHANAGE: 62 (DIED MAY 26, 1987)
It was a “wardrobe malfunction” that launched the career of the country’s bestknown stripteaseartiste. Her bra snapped and the audience went wild. At 27, she changed her dance routine to astriptease act and a Malayan legend was born.Rose Chan’s real name was Chan Wai Chang. She was born in Soochow, China, in 1925 to acrobatparents and moved to Kuala Lumpur in 1931. She did not receive much schooling, and started workin a buttonmaking shop at 12. When she turned 16, she was married off to an older man for somecash and jewellery, all taken by her mother.When her marriage broke down, she was left alone and penniless. She went to work as a cabaretdancer at The Happy World in Singapore, to spite her husband. She became an accomplisheddancer, even winning a dance championship and a beauty contest.She was now in great demand, dancing in several cabarets at a time.She started her own touring show in Malaya. As the Striptease Queen, she pushed the boundarieseven more, introducing more and more risque acts into her repertoire.She became internationally famous. She was married four times.In conservative Malaya, Chan often had to avoid arrest for contravening indecency laws.By the 1970s, it had become impossible for her shows to go on. She performed her last striptease in1976. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1983 and spent her last few years in Butterworth,Penang, leaving behind a husband, a son and three daughters.MONA FANDEYAGE: 45 (DIED NOV 2, 2001)Her name is synonymous with black magic and murder most foul. She killed a politician in such agruesome and spectacular fashion that it is almost the stuff of fiction.Mona Fandey was a self-styled bomoh who had lured Batu Talam assemblyman Datuk Mazlan Idrisinto her lair with promises of, presumably, political invincibility through the use of black magic.Mazlan paid her RM 500,000 and gave her 10 land titles as security for the remaining RM2mil “fee”.The ritual was set for July 6, 1993. Mona, her husband and her aide murdered and decapitated himand chopped his body into 18 pieces which they buried on their property. After that, the couple wenton a shopping spree before the law caught up with them.
During the 65-day trial, Mona and her Rasputin-like eyes gained further notoriety when sheappeared always fashionably dressed with bright red lipstick in court. She seemed to love playing tothe gallery, smiling for the camera and the public developed a morbid fascination with her.The trio was found guilty and sentenced them to death. They were hanged on Nov 2, 2001 at KajangPrison, Selangor.In 2006, a movie, Dukun, which was based on the sensational case was made, starring Umie Aida.But it was never released due to “sensitivities”.DR HARTINI ZAINUDINAGE: 40sHartini Zainudin is well known for her work with marginalised children. She cofounded RumahNurSalam, a 24-hour crisis centre for children under 18 in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur. The centreprovides abused, neglected, abandoned and trafficked children with basic needs and counsellingand protection services.The centre is a collaborative effort between Yayasan Salam Malaysia and the Department ofChildren’s Welfare, KL.DATUK SHEILA MAJIDAGE: 46Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the career of Datuk Sheila Majid, or Shaheila Abdul Majid,the youngest of eight siblings.She sang in her teens and released her first album Dimensi Baru in 1985. Many more albumsfollowed, most notably Legenda in 1990.She performed at the Tokyo Mysic Festival in Japan, the first Malaysian singer to penetrate theJapanese market. She is vastly popular in Indonesia as well, and held her 25th anniversary concertin Jakarta to sellout crowds.
In 2000, Sheila became the first Malaysian singer to perform with the Malaysian PhilharmonicOrchestra.Today, the mother of four who is still passionate about singing but has also become anentrepreneur, owning a spa, a rehearsal studio, Jerneh skincare products and an artistemanagement company.JOANNA KAM POH POHAGE: 37Regarded by many as Malaysia’s funniest woman, Joanna Kam Poh Poh has been a comic for wellover two decades. She started in the late 1980s when she had a comedy/ cabaret act in one of KL’smost popular night clubs at the time, the Boom Boom Room.Joanne was known not just for her bold, bawdy humour but because of her size: she was awhopping 99kg at the time.Now, 30kg lighter, she is still a riot and continues to perform and recently joined forces with JitMurad and Bi Bi Kay Poh to stage The Real Comedy Queens.WOOK KUNDORAGE: 108Here was the ultimate “cougar”: centenarian Wook Kundor from Kuala Berang, Terengganu, whomade headlines worldwide when she married Mohd Noor Che Musa, 70 years younger than her, in2005. Wook Kundor claimed he was her 23rd husband.Despite being separated for about a year while Mohd Noor underwent drug rehabilitation, the couplereunited last July. However, he was re-arrested a month later for a drug offence.
DATUK DR JEMILAH MAHMOODAGE: 51SHE is the widely admired president of Mercy Malaysia, an organisation she and her husband,Datuk Dr Ashar Abdullah, founded in 1999 modelled after Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctorswithout Borders).It is the only Asian organisation certified for humanitarian accountability, which delivers world-classprogrammes and have a reputation as a respectable, responsible and accountable internationalhumanitarian NGO.Mercy Malaysia is active internationally and has sent relief missions to Kosovo, Cambodia,Indonesia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Iran, Sudan, North Korea, Pakistan, Maldives andLebanon.Dr Jemilah studied at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and obtained her medical degree in 1986. In1992, she earned her Masters in Obstetrics & Gynaecology. She is a member of the Royal Collegeof Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (UK).In 2008, she was appointed by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the Advisory Group of theCentral Emergency Response Fund (CERF).In 2006, she was the first Malaysian to win the Gandhi, King and Ikeda humanitarian award.SHAMSIAH FAKEHAGE: 84 (DIED OCT 20, 2008)She was a nationalist who took a dramatically different route from most of her peers.She embraced communism and became a prominent Malay leader of the Communist Party ofMalaya (CPM), and spent almost 40 years in exile, mostly in China. Following the 1989 peaceagreement between the CPM and the Government in Haadyai, Thailand, she was granted
permission to return, which she did on July 23, 1994, with her husband, their three sons and theirfour grandchildren.LILIAN TOOAGE: 64With her business acumen and geomancy knowledge, Too has successfully brought feng shui to aninternational audience through her 80 books written in English and translated into 30 languages. Shespeaks to sellout crowds at conventions all over the world.But before she became Lilian Too, feng shui guru, she was a banker with an MBA from the HarvardBusiness School.She was the fi rst woman in Malaysia to head a public listed company and was chief executive ofDao Heng Bank in Hong Kong.After retirement, Too devoted her time to the ancient art of feng shui and is now one of the country’sforemost authorities on the subject.MAYA KARINAGE: 31Thanks to her stunning looks, she started off as an endorsement model — she was the Pantene girlfor the longest time — but Maya Karin Roelcke is best known for her role in Pontianak HarumSundal Malam.She received critical acclaim for her portrayal of a pontianak and won Best Actress honours at the49th Asia Pacific Film Festival 2004 in Fukuoka, Japan, and also at the Estepona Fantasy andTerror Film Festival 2005 in Malaga, Spain.In 2005 she won the Most Popular Actress award at the Anugerah Bintang Popular.
Other films she has done include Waris Jari Hantu, 1957: Hati Malaya and Anak Halal for which shewon Best Actress in 2008’s Malaysia Film Festival for her role as a tomboy.DATIN JOSEPHINE FONSEKAAGE: 59She was just 18 and travelling overseas for the first time. But her beauty and natural poise made hera favourite and she indeed made it to the semi-finals of the 1970 Miss Universe competition held inMiami Beach. It was the first time a Malaysian made it so far in the competition.Ipoh girl Josephine Lena Wong , youngest girl in a family of 10, started taking part in variouspageants as a teenager and won the biggest trophy with the Miss Malaysia Universe title.She later attended college and worked at three beauty companies before settling at Japanesebeauty company, Kanebo, where she worked her way to the position of manager or Malaysia andHong Kong.Wong is married to Datuk Dr C.G.A. Fonseka, former deputy director-general of the HealthDepartment, and they have four daughters – the youngest, Andrea Fonseka, followed her mother’sfootsteps when she was crowned Miss Malaysia Universe 2004.LINA TEOHAGE: 35The only Miss Malaysia to make it to the top three in the international Miss World 1998 pageant inMahe Island, Seychelles. She was second runner-up . Though she continues to model, Teoh is nowmore focused on her work behind the camera, making documentaries.Among others, she produced Among the Great Apes, a 50-minute, high-definition documentary forthe National Geographic Channel with actress Datuk Michelle Yeoh and was associate producer for
Smart Tunnel, a documentary about KL’s famed stormwater tunnel, also for the National GeographicChannel.MAGGIE LOOAGE: 56Winning the Miss Malaysia Universe 1973 title was merely a stepping stone to bigger things for theenterprising Loo. She started the The Originals Fashion Studio in Merlin (now Concorde) Hotel andsparked off the trend of having afternoon tea and fashion shows. She herself was a prolific model,known as the “Queen of the Catwalk” for her formidable stride.She became known as the “queen maker” as under her modelling agency, she coached many othergirls into winning the Miss Malaysia title, including, Nancie Foo, Yasmin Yusuf and Puspa Sallehamong other. In 1987, she met Eileen Ford and Ford Models Incorporated New York gave her theSupermodel of the World Pageant franchise for Malaysia. Today, she continues her modelling andgrooming workshops.DATUK YASMIN YUSUFAGE: 54Another beauty queen who made a lasting impact. She was the second runner-up in the BestNational Costume category at the 1978 Miss Universe competition in Acapulco, Mexico.As she grew older, Malaysians also discovered she also had a beautiful voice when she became aradio DJ in shows like Yasmin in the Morning (on Rfm). She remains a well-known name and asought-after emcee.MUMTAZ BEGUM JAAFARAGE: 49
Negri Sembilan-born Mumtaz was one of the nation’s best woman athletes. She won the gold medalin the 100m dash at 1981 SEA Games in Manila.She was named the Woman Athlete of the Year and Selangor Sportswoman for 1981. After a thighinjury in the same year, she never regained her former glory.She retired in April, 1986 after eight years of competition.She has served as vice-president of the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) and was theWoman Sub-committee chairwoman of MAAU. Currently, she heads the National Athlete WelfareFoundation, formed in 2009 to provide better welfare for the former athletes.ELIZABETH WONGAGE: 38The Bukit Lanjan Asemblywoman became active in national politics in 2004 when she joined PartiKeadilan Rakyat (PKR). Before that, Wong spent many years as a social and human rights activist,and served as Head of Research and Advocacy in Nepal’s premier development NGO for two years.She was also involved in many local environmental campaigns which holds her in good stead in herpresent role as a Selangor executive council member in charge of Tourism, Consumer Affairs andEnvironment. In 2009, photos taken of a partially dressed sleeping Wong were circulated via MMS.She offered to resign but the incident gained her massive public support and sympathy and after abrief leave of absence, Wong returned to work.NURUL HUDA ABDULLAHAGE: 38She was just 13 and with her shy smile and mope of curly hair, she was the country’s first swimmingstar. The granddaughter of Singapore President Wee Kim Kee, Nurul debuted at the 1983 SEAGames at that age.
She holds the distinction of being the first female swimmer in Southeast Asia to break the five-minute mark for the 400m individual medley and to break the 60-seconds mark for the 100mfreestyle. She further won seven gold and one silver medals in the 1985 SEA Games, and in theprocess broke six SEA Games records.The following year, she bagged two silvers and two bronzes in the Asian Games. Nurul Huda wasnamed Sportswoman of the Year in 1985 and 1986, and, in 1987, became the first Malaysian to winan IOC Trophy. In 1989, she bested herself when she bagged eight golds at the SEA Games inKuala Lumpur, after which she retired.DATUK OOI CHEAN SEEAGE: 48PENANGITE Ooi, who resides in Bonn, Germany, holds the distinction of being the first Malaysianwoman conductor. She was appointed to the post of resident conductor of the MalaysianPhilharmonic Orchestra (MPO) in 1997, which she continued to lead until 2005 when she returned toGermany.Currently, a guest conductor with German orchestras, Ooi was also appointed an ambassador ofTourism Malaysia in 2009. A trained concert pianist who also plays the violin, harpsichord andpercussion, she won the first prize in the International Conductors Competition in the German citiesof Halle and Hamm in 1991, and held the position of First Conductor of the Classic PhilharmonicOrchestra, Bonn, from 1991 to 1994. Most notably, she was a guest conductor with the BrucknerOrchestra in Linz, Austria, arguably the capital of classical music, in 2005. Ooi was conferred theFederal Cross of Merit, a German national honour, in 2003.NING BAIZURAAGE: 35With Ning, the words “strong, sexy, sultry” come to mind. With 10 albums to her name, she hasestablished herself as one of the country’s most accomplished pop and R&B singers. She startedrecording radio and television jingles when she was just six. When she was nine, she began formal
singing lessons when she was nine under the renowned Indonesian opera linguist and soprano SitiChairani. Ning was also part of the National Choir and was offered a full scholarship in music at theprestigious Vienna Conservatoire. Ning also acts and has been in musicals and films.DATUK FARIDAH MERICANAGE: 72The First Lady of Malaysian theatre has been active in the performing arts for over 50 years and hername has become synonymous with The Actors Studio, which she co-founded with husband JoeHasham in 1989.Today, it is a thriving platform for local playwrights and actors. For her tireless work in performingarts, she was awarded the BOH Cameronian Lifetime Achievement Award for 2004.In July 2005, Faridah was conferred the Darjah Dato’ Paduka Tuanku Ja’afar by the Yang Di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan on the occasion of His Highness’ 83rd Birthday. In August 2006,she received an Honorary Master of Letters at University Sains Malaysia’s 35th Convocation. Shestrives to convince the next generation that there is a place in the arts for all, but it’s demanding andrequires total discipline.SALOMA (PUAN SRI SALMAH ISMAIL)AGE: 48 (DIED APRIL 25,1983)Saloma was P. Ramlee’s third wife. Born Salmah binti Ismail in Singapore, her stage name waseither given by Run Run Shaw of Shaw Bros when the film Salome hit the box office or by herhusband. She started singing at weddings at 13, and gained fame when she joined the Panca SitaraGroup, a band of musicians led by P. Ramlee.She started acting as well, often playing P. Ramlee’s love interest. Her beauty captivated theaudience, cutting an iconic silhouette with her coiffed hairdo and kebaya-clad hourglass figure.Her unparalled singing voice was legendary and set a very high standard for Malaysian femalevocalists. Her contributions to the Malaysian art scene earned her the Biduanita Negara (1979)
award. She died a decade after her beloved husband P. Ramlee. The official cause of death wasliver failure, but it was widely said that she died of a broken heart.JEAN PERERA SINAPPAAGE: 33 (DIED APRIL 6, 1979)In death, she was immortalised. Gerard Benedict, producer of the documentary, Jean Perera: theBeauty Queen Murder, for Astro’s Crime & Investigation Network that aired in December 2009,described her murder as “very Shakespearean” with “passion, love, hate, jealousy, betrayal and alove triangle”. It is certainly one of Malaysia’s most sensational criminal cases.Jean, a former Miss Negri Sembilan, and a mother of three, was found murdered in a car nearSubang Airport in 1979. This was the second tragedy for her family as her husband, chemist S.Sinappa, died in a road accident four months earlier on New Year’s Eve in 1978. Jean was found inthe front passenger seat of her car, with multiple stab wounds. Her brother-in-law, S. Karthigesu,was found unconscious behind the car.He was charged with her murder. The case went to trial in june 1980. The prosecution made out thatKarthigesu flew into a jealous rage after finding out that the young widow – whom he was in lovewith – had been having an affair with a Sri Lankan doctor, Dr Narada Warnasurya.During the 38-day trial, the court heard lurid details of her affairs with her love letters being read out.Karthigesu was found guilty and sentenced to death. But Karthigesu was freed two years later afteran appeal.SHARIFAH AINIAGE: 58Her beauty has been likened to that of Elizabeth Taylor and she has been given the name “PermataNegara” by Information, Communications and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim. In her career,she has produced 93 albums, including seven in English. She has made a name for herself in Asiaand the Middle East.
She was also the first Malaysian and Asian singer who had the honour of performing at the VictoriaConcert Hall in Singapore in 2000, which is usually dominated by Western artistes.In 2003, she started Pods and Petal Giftlab, a successful florist and gift company. In the same year,she was awarded the Pingat Panglima Jasa Negara by the Yang Di Pertuan- Agong for hercontributions to the entertainment industry.DATUK NANCY YEOHAGE: 40sThe larger-than-life Yeoh is hailed as the PR Queen of Malaysia for her mastery in organisingglamorous events for prestigious, highend clients with an assured guest list from society’s creme dela creme. Yeoh joined RAPR Mileage Communications in 1993 as general manager after headingthe PR division of a multinational company.Together with her team, Yeoh formed the Initial Public Offering (IPO) arm of RAPR and marketed toclients seeking investments the need for PR. She also introduced “lifestyle branding” with thecompany’s consumer division, targeted at luxury-goods companies. Rising to managing director in1996, Yeoh gathered an impressive portfolio of clients and made huge strides in the industry. She isalso the president and CEO of STYLO, a key social and fashion event during Malaysia’s FormulaOne.DATIN SERI TIARA JACQUELINAAGE: 44Though an established singer and actress, it wasn’t until Puteri Gunung Ledang in 2004, in whichshe starred, that Tiara Jacquelina made her mark. The film won 11 awards at the Malaysian PPFMOscars 2004 including Best Film, Best Producer, Cinematography, Best Actress, Costume Design,Art Direction and Best Sound. She then translated it onto the stage with the runaway success PuteriGunung Ledang: The Musical under her company, Enfiniti Productions, a Malaysian company in thearts and entertainment and television production fields.
In 2005, she won Choice Actress at the Fourth Oskar Awards, organised by the Film WorkersAssociation of Malaysia. She also produced P. Ramlee the Musical which won six awards at the2007 BOH Cameronian Arts Awards. She is married to Datuk Seri Mohd Effendi Norwawi, whoformerly served as a senator and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.Tiara is a vocal arts activist who is passionate about the betterment of the arts sector in the country.TOH PUAN DR AISHAH ONGAGE: 66The wife of the late Tun Dr Omar Ong Yoke Lin (a founding member of the MCA and a key figure inthe country’s road to independence) received her medical degree from the Royal Free Hospital,University of London, in 1969.After marrying Dr Omar, she gave up her career as a doctor and became involved in charity workand fund-raising.She is a patron, board member, founding member or trustee of a long list of organisations, includingthe Foundation of the National Heart Institute, Bakti, Tun Abdul Razak Foundation, InternationalMedical University, National Council of Women’s Organisations, Cancer Research InitiativesFoundation, The Women’s Aid Organisation, Mental Health Association of Malaysia,Wanita Perkim,as well as The Malaysian Association for the Blind.She also served as Pro-Chancellor of Universiti Malaya from 2003 to 2008 and chairman ofUniversiti Hospital from 1987 to 1996.DATIN PADUKA SHUHAIMI BABAAGE: 50sAs one of the few female film directors in Malaysia, Shuhaimi has made her mark with her uniquestorylines and bold approach. Well-known for films like Selubung and Layar Lara, she is alsocredited with reviving the pontianak folklore onscreen with the Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam filmsin the 2000s.
Her films have picked up five awards at the Malaysian Film Festival, including Best Director Awardsfor Layar Lara in 1997 and Waris Jari Hantu in 2007. Layar Lara was also awarded the Special JuryAward at the 1998 Pyongyang International Film Festival, and Shuhaimi received a Best Director forForeign Film award at the Brussels International Independent Film Festival in 1997.Besides being the managing director of Pesona Pictures, she is also the vice-president of theMalaysian Film Producers Association (MFPA).SYAFINAZ SELAMATAGE: 38With a face and voice of angel, this classically trained singer is one of the country’s top femalevocalists.Her choice of genre is R&B, but she also sings arias. She was the soprano solo in the Carl OffsCarmina Burana with 100 choir members and the National Symphony Orchestra of Malaysia,conducted by reputed Australian conductor Roland Peelman, and was the Gold Medal winner in theR&B/Pop/ Rock/Contemporary category at the World Championships of Performing Arts in LosAngeles in 1999.Syafinaz was nominated twice for the Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) Best Female Vocal award andwas the judge on the singing competition One in a Million. She’s currently a lecturer at the UiTM, theNational Arts Academy, and adviser and vocal master of the National Choir of Malaysia.