We never really give women enough credit for all they’ve achieved, especially our very own Malaysians! From authors to athletes to scientists, here’s a list of inspirational Malaysian women who are taking the world by storm:


#1 Zen Cho




Recently, Malaysian-born Zen Cho was named Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Awards at FantasyCon 2016 in Scarborough, United Kingdom. She beat four other contenders in this category: Becky Chambers, Peter Newman, Steven Poore and Marc Turner.


Cho was nominated for her book, Sorcerer to the Crown, published by Macmillan, and the book was also nominated for Best Fantasy Novel.




#2 Poh Si Teng




Journalist Poh Si Teng made the news…for sporting a gorgeous kebaya at the 37th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards in New York. But her achievements far outweigh her outfit.


“I’m from Penang, Malaysia, and when I started out in journalism the thought of doing this form of reporting seemed so out of reach.”


She had been nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Interview category for her news documentary Flirting With the Islamic State. She might not have won the award, but her country is very proud of her.




#3 Shu Lam



Antibiotic-resistant bacteria kill around 700,000 people each year, but a recent study has suggested that that number could rise to 10 million by 2050.


But this 25-year-old PhD student at the University of Melbourne in Australia has developed a star-shaped polymer that can kill six different superbug strains without antibiotics, simply by ripping apart their cell walls.


The SNAPPs (green) surrounding and ripping apart bacterial cells


Of course, it’s still too early to get too excited, but so far in all experiments, they’ve been able to kill their targeted bacteria, and its consecutive generations do not seem to develop resistance to the polymers.


What’s amazing about the project is that while other teams are looking for new antibiotics, Lam has found a new way that could lead us to a ‘post-antibiotic future’.




#4 Siti Noor Radiah Ismail




This talented athlete had earned herself a bronze medal at the Rio Paralympics!


She was a little sad she had missed out on the Asean Para Games in Singapore but joyous about her third place finish in the women’s long jump T20 (intellectual disability) category, making her the first ever Malaysian woman to win a medal in athletics at the Paralympics.




#5 Melba Nunis 



Image credit: The Malay Mail Online


In May 2016, Melba Nunis’ A Kristang Family Cookbook was named the Best in the World in the Woman Chef category at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards (GWCA) in Yantai, China. Famous French chef Anne-Sophie Pic was also a past winner in this category.


The book was up against competitors from France, Britain, Morocco, Italy and others. The cookbook was a collection of over 200 handwritten recipes once hidden in Nunis’ closet.


“Behind us, onscreen, there was my book cover … including a photo of my mother holding me as a child, for the world to see! I could not hide the quiver in my voice as I struggled to remember all I was supposed to say. I hadn’t prepared a speech. My (late) mother would be beside herself with glee if she were here.”






* * *

Words by Shareen Ho.

Read Next: 6 Times When Female Olympians End Up in the News For The Wrong Reasons

Screenshot from The Coverage

Screenshot from The Coverage

Country representative for badminton at the Olympics? Pfft. Let’s talk about their looks, hair, and outfit instead. Click here for the 6 times women were misrepresented in the media.