Hazreel breaks female grip on Merdeka Awards

Hazreel breaks female grip on Merdeka Awards
The Merdeka Awards are given out to top Malaysian students in South Australian universities. - Photo www.merdekaaward.my
ADELAIDE: Hazreel Hasmi shattered the all-conquering female academic record when he won the second prize in the annual Merdeka Awards here.

In the past five years, all three awards for the top Malaysian students in South Australian universities had been won by female students.

Hazreel, a PhD candidate in tourism and leisure studies at the University of South Australia, emerged second this year in the awards, which are sponsored by the Australia-Malaysia Business Council, South Australia.

Hazreel, 37, a former tourism lecturer at the Community College in Hulu Selangor, received a trophy and A$1,000 (about RM2,980).
Hazreel paid tribute to his parents for their support over the years as a student.

The top prize of a trophy, a 13-inch Apple Macbook and A$1,500 (about RM4,470) donated by the former Governor of South Australia Sir Eric Neal went to Lee Jia Ying, 22, a Bachelor of Commerce (accounting) student at the University of South Australia.  

Lee, who has an outstanding academic record, told Bernama she was surprised when told she was a prize winner.

"There are about 2,000 Malaysian university students in Adelaide and to win the top prize is very special to me," she said.

The third prize winner was Ismaniza Ismail, a University of Adelaide PhD candidate in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.

Ismaniza has presented her works at international conferences and her interest includes meeting people and snorkelling.

All three award winners are from Selangor.

They received their prizes at a gala dinner attended by the Vietnamese-born SA Governor Hieu Van Le, the Malaysian High Commissioner in Canberra, Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad, and his wife Datin Shireen Sulaiman, SA Minister of Trade Martin Hamilton-Smith and the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Martin Haese.

The independent panel of judges comprised eminent Australians Frances Nelson QC, Amanda Heyworth and Bill Spurr.