6 Successful Malaysian Women With Outstanding Achievements

6 Successful Malaysian Women With Outstanding Achievements

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In conjunction with International Women’s Day, let’s take a look at these inspiring Malaysian women who have left their mark not only in our homeland but also around the world. They are not only recognised for their contribution to the country but also in enriching the lives of society as well. Here are 6 successful Malaysian women who are making groundbreaking achievements that will inspire you to lead a greater career path and reach for your dreams.


“It is our obligation to maintain Merdeka not only by words but by actions.” 

1. Major Patricia Yapp Syau Yin

Regarded as one of the most well-known female fighter pilots in Malaysia. Major Patricia Yapp took interest in flying when her elder brother became a pilot. Her career choice was opposed by her father, but it did not deter her from joining the Royal Malaysian Air Force(RMAF) until she passed the first selection process. Now she also holds the record as the first woman in the world to become a qualified MiG-29 fighter pilot. Major Patricia Yapp graduated from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia with a diploma in Aeronautical Engineering in the year 2000.

Upon completing her flight training in 2002, she opted to be a fighter pilot and flew the Aermacchi MB-339 aircraft for the next four years. In the following years, she became an operational and tactical lead pilot with the No. 17/19 Smokey Bandits Squadron in Kuantan that files the MiG-29N Fulcrum air superiority jets. Currently, Major Patricia Yapp is a qualified flight instructor since 2014 and has now served with the RMAF for 22 years.


“No one should be robbed of the basic access to human rights, like education and job opportunities.”

2. Heidy Quah

At the age of 18, Heidy co-founded Refuge For the Refugees(RFTR) a non-governmental organisation that strives to improve the standard of living for refugee children in Malaysia. Overseeing 10 refugee schools in Malaysia, and 25 schools in Myanmar. She managed a group of volunteer teachers, help develop structures and syllabuses and network with partner organisations. For her outstanding achievements in taking the lead to transform lives of many for the better, Heidy is the only Malaysian representative to receive the Queen’s Young Leader Award from Her Majesty The Queen in 2017.


3. Justice Datuk P. Nallini

As the new Federal Court judge, Justice Datuk P. Nallini is the first Malaysian Indian woman to be appointed on Malaysia’s highest court. Her legal profession started since 1984 when she was accepted to the English Bar as a solicitor by the Middle Temple of the United Kingdom. An advocate and solicitor of 32 years standing, Datuk P. Nallini has had wide-ranging litigation and extensive trial experience. She has co-authored a practical guide on employment law titled “The Law of Dismissal” and was also regularly invited to speak at conferences and seminars both foreign and local. Her integrity, fearlessness and transparency are highly regarded by her peers and clients alike.


“Don’t be afraid to try something you have never done before and accept that failure is just temporary. Have a positive mentality, faith in yourself and work hard. Soon, you will find yourself at the top of the mountain you have been trying to conquer.”

4. Kiki Poh

Kiki’s journey to becoming Malaysia’s First Pixar Artist starts upon completing her secondary school studies at the Foon Yew High School in Johor Bahru. Kiki relocated to Shanghai in 2000 and worked on TV commercials after realising the lack of job opportunities in Malaysia 3D animation industry. In 2008, Kiki decided to pursue her master’s degree in visual effect in the United States. Her internship with Pixar studios nailed her a job offer in 2010 after given the opportunity to work on Toy Story 3. Currently, Kiki Poh has worked on some of the best Pixar movies such as Finding Dory, Monsters University, Inside Out, Cars 3 and Incredibles 2.


“Others can inspire you but you shape your own path. Don’t let others clip your wings. Surround yourself with positive people.”

5. Dr Wan Wardatul Amani Wan Salim

In 2014, Dr Wan became the first Malaysian ever to launch a NASA satellite to space by leading a team that comprised of 28 scientists, technologists and engineers. Her journey began as an electrical engineering student at the University of Minnesota, USA. After obtaining her PhD Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University in 2009, Dr Wan was actively involved in several NASA projects. Together with her team were working on NASA’s first astrobiology programme where they study how living cells would respond to a lack of gravity. Her contributions to gravitational and space research were awarded the Thora Halstead “Young Investigator” as an honour for exemplifying drive and enthusiasm for science. Currently, Dr Wan has shifted her direction towards teaching and conducting research at the International Islamic University Malaysia(IIUM) and innovating new devices to improve the lives of local communities.


“I hope my success will inspire other women to come to the forefront and achieve success even in a field dominated by men. Show that women also have the ability to safeguard the country’s peace.”

6. Maritime Lieutenant Aida Arzahari

Lieutenant Aida joined the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency(MMEA) in 2012 as a trainee officer and served in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. In 2018, Lieutenant Aida was appointed as the first woman to command an MMEA’s ship that will be based in Lumut, Perak. Despite holding a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Universiti Teknologi Mara and having secured a job in finance, it was her mother that persuaded her to join the MMEA.


Do you know any influential women that deserve to be in the list? Share your thoughts and leave a comment down below.#IWD2019 #BalanceForBetter. Follow us for more daily career insights and new hirings to land your dream job. Head over to Jobstore.com and unveil your next job opportunity.

You Jing is a content writer who writes career and lifestyle contents to inspire job seekers and employers alike on their journey to work-life balance, empowerment and transformation in their career path.

Reach me at youjing@jobstore.com

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