These 5 Inspiring Malaysians Are Making A Difference In The World

Malaysians are known for our generous spirit and cordial hospitality. There isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for a loved one.

Some of us, though, go the extra mile make their mark in this world. While most of us aim to make a difference to at least one person, these Malaysians have succeeded in touching the lives of many.

Meet these five young Malaysians who are touching lives, capturing hearts, and changing our world for the better.

1. Dr. Amalina Bakri

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Alhamdulillah, Ainul, you’re strong baby girl! 😭 After about 5 hours of battling in theatre, the tumour (weighing 200g) was successfully removed. You could not imagine how anxious I was, whilst in theatre. Such a tiny baby, so delicate, so beautiful — “don’t worry baby, everyone is here to help you”. Because it was such a high risk operation, a lot of preparations needed to be done to ensure that baby Ainul would be safe. A lot of planning, a lot of scans, a lot of meetings and a lot of patience. The team included surgeons from various specialties (including craniofacial, plastics and head and neck consultants) led by Prof David Dunway and Mr Juling Ong (also Malaysian-born). They’re very experienced in their own respective field. I was very honoured to be part of the surgical team. Thank you to everyone who made this possible, it was a team effort! Ainul is currently being monitored post-operatively and she’s stable. When I stepped out from theatre and saw Ainul’s parents, I couldn’t control my emotions. It was a mixed feeling, such an emotional journey and an uplifting experience at the same time. Ainul, Wani and Safi are like my own family. Let’s pray for Ainul’s recovery. Thank you for all your prayers. 🙏🏽 (Consent was given by Ainul’s parents for this story to be on IG) @_nrlerwani @ahmadsafiudinn

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After successfully performing a 5-hour surgery on 9-month old baby Ainul Mardhiah (who once suffered a germ-cell tumour in her mouth) there seems to be nothing that Dr. Nur Amalina Che Bakri can’t do. While she uses her skills to save lives at Imperial College Healthcare, she’s also determined to help her fellow Malaysians.

As someone who manages her time pretty well, Dr. Amalina continues to debunk health myths among the Malaysian community by sharing facts on her Instagram stories.

2. Heidy Quah

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With our dearest Deputy Prime Minister, Wan Azizah at last night's intimate gathering of women leaders in the industry hosted by Bank Negara. She's the gentle, kind, humble and oozes humility. I never quite had the opportunity to get to know her up close till last night's dinner and it was then when I realized once again that the battle is hard. Building a New Malaysia takes time, effort, patience and teamwork. It's not like doing surgery where we go in and remove all the bad bits and seal it up. We can't reverse 60 years of damage in 1 year. It doesn't just take the goverment to make it work – it takes all of us. I watched her take in comments from 15 very vocal ladies with grace and tried to explain how things don't look as easy as it seems. Kak Wan Azizah was so so so so kind to come up to me after dinner, held my face in her hands, looked me in the eyes and said – 'Heidy, your passion is infectious and can be felt from across the room. We need more young people like you. Thank you for doing what you do and keep going' I almost bawled! Because on most days I don't quite feel that my passion is infectious – and the journey gets tiring and lonely and difficult. But this meant the world to me. Thank you for the kind words of affirmation, Kak Wan Azizah! Honored and humbled – still so surreal! One for the books definitely 🙂

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When she was 18, Heidy started Refuge for the Refugees (RFTR), an NGO that raises awareness on the plight of refugees in Malaysia, while providing formal education for refugee children. The organisation also provides refugees with business skills so they are able to support their families.

In 2017, the activist was the only Malaysian to receive a Young Leaders award from Queen Elizabeth II. The award was to recognize Heidy’s efforts as a young person in the Commonwealth who is taking the lead in transforming lives, ever since the inception of RFTR in September 2012.

3. Alena Murang

One of the first and few female sape’ (a traditional lute instrument of the Kelabit, Kayan and Kenyah tribes in Borneo) players in the world, Alena Murang tells the stories of her Kelabit and Kenyah elders through traditional, spiritual music.

Alena is passionate about preserving Sarawakian heritage through music. Traditional songs are literally passed down orally, and only a handful of elders remember them. “It’s a race against time to sit down with them and record these songs,” Alena told Mashable SEA. She could be listening to recordings of anthropologists but she would rather sit down and learn these songs from person to person.

The traditional musician also founded ART4 Studio, an organisation that uses art and music to create a positive impact, grounded in indigenous community values that are strong in longhouse villages.

4. Deborah Henry

Model, actress and pageant queen Deborah Priya Henry is more than just a pretty face. You may know her for her name in the pageant world, but did you know that she has a heart for underprivileged children as well? Deborah is the co-founder of Fugee School, a non-profit charity organisation that provides education to Somalian refugee children.

One of Forbes’ top philanthropists, Deborah is also a World Vision’s Childs’ Rights Advocate. She’s changing the world of refugee children, one child at a time.

5. Yasmin Rasyid


A biologist by profession with a passion for environmental issues, Yasmin Rasyid is the president and founder of EcoKnights, a nonprofit environmental organisation which aims to facilitate sustainable living in Malaysia. The environmental expert has over two decades of experience working in environmental management, community development and social responsibility in Malaysia.

Since it’s inception in 2005, EcoKnights has been serving the country with innovative environmental programmes for communities, government agencies, educational institutions and companies.

“Changing people’s mindsets is never easy,” Yasmin told NST, but it’s part of how she is able to make a difference.

Celebrate National Day with your besties and changemakers with a big breakfast together, like how our boys from Fly FM did!