Malaysia’s medical charity pioneer Dr Jemilah Mahmood is this year’s Asean Prize winner

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha presents The Aseab Prize 2019 to Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood during the opening ceremony of the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits in Bangkok November 3, 2019. — Bernama pic
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha presents The Aseab Prize 2019 to Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood during the opening ceremony of the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits in Bangkok November 3, 2019. — Bernama pic

BANGKOK, Nov 3 — Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood, the founder of Malaysia’s first medical charity Mercy Malaysia, is set to receive the Asean Prize and US$20,000 (RM83,310) in recognition of her outstanding humanitarian and disaster relief management work around the South-east Asian region.

She is the first Malaysian recipient of the award that was launched at the Asean Summit in Singapore last year, and will receive the award at the summit opening ceremony today in Bangkok.

Dr Jemilah, who is currently serving as under secretary-general for partnerships at the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, accepted her trophy from Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Asean Secretary-General Datuk Lim Jock Hoi at the opening ceremony of the summit here this morning.

The conferment of her award was also witnessed by Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Asean Prize is a prestigious regional award which aims to acknowledge the inspiring and outstanding achievements of an individual or organisation in promoting the Asean identity, spirit and championing its way.

The inaugural prize winner was Filipina autism advocate Erlinda Uy Koe.

Dr Jemilah started Mercy Malaysia — properly the Malaysian Medical Relief Society — in 1999 to provide volunteer medical and health services when war tore into the Balkan state of Kosovo.

The Seremban-born Dr Jemilah who will turn 60 next month on December 3.

Prior to joining the IFRC, Dr Jemilah led Mercy Malaysia for 10 years. She passed the baton in 2009.

The obstetrician and gynaecologist’s dedication to humanitarian work in disaster and conflict zones worldwide has earned her numerous awards and admirers from around the world, including Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak who conferred the Tokoh Peneraju Kemanusiaan award just two months ago from Mercy Malaysia, the Malaysia-based humanitarian and disaster relief organisation she started after finding out there were none.

Dr Jemilah has also won the coveted Merdeka Award that recognises and rewards individuals and organisations whose work and achievements have not only contributed to Malaysia’s growth and greatness.

She has also been conferred the “Isa Award for Services to Humanity” from the Kingdom of Bahrain — which has been likened to the Middle East equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize — for her contribution to humanitarian, development, disaster risk reduction, education and poverty alleviation.

In 2006, she was awarded the prestigious “Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award” by Morehouse College USA (Martin Luther King Chapel) for her contribution to community development and peace advocacy.

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