The MAAC 5th Annual Australian Alumni Gala Dinner 2014

The MAAC proudly hosted its event of the year, the 5th Annual Australian Alumni Gala Dinner 2014 on 4th December 2014 at the Mayang Sari Grand Ballroom, JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Amongst the 420 people who attended the dinner were the Guest of Honour, The Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia and Patron of The MAAC, His Excellency, Mr. Rod Smith and his wife, Ms. Leanne Brueckner. Also in attendance were the Deputy High Commissioner, Mrs. Jane Duke, Austrade Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, Ms. Susan Kahwati, Counsellor of Education & Science for the Department of Education Australia, Ms. Karen Welsh, the Regional General Manager for SE/Gulf, Tourism Australia, Mr. Michael Newcombe, Acting Executive Director for Victorian Government Business Office SE, Ms. Celia Yeo, President of the Australian Alumni Singapore, Mr. Christopher Cheah, Chairman of the MABC, Mr. Leigh Howard, President of ANZGAM, Mr. Ray Cheah, other prominent Australian Alumni, corporate sponsors and representatives of Australian Universities from Australia. The major sponsors for this event were:

Platinum Sponsor:      AMBank Group
Gold Sponsors:      Blackmores
Mulpha International Berhad
Silver Sponsors:      Sunway Group
Tourism Australia
Meat Sponsor:      Meat & Livestock Australia
Fish Sponsor:      Shunfu Foods Sdn Bhd
Wine Sponsor:      State Government of Victoria
Dionysus Asia Sdn Bhd

Other Sponsors and Raffles Prize Sponsors include KPJ Healthcare Berhad, Hanbul Cosmetics Sdn Bhd, PM Resources Sdn Bhd, Amoy Canning Beverages Sdn Bhd, Big Tomato Retail, JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur, YTD Private Limited, Dato’ Sri Dr. Vincent Tiew, Royal Selangor International Berhad, My FlexHealth Group Sdn Bhd, Urban Spring, Pathlab, Bonzour Home and Supahand.

The main highlight of the event was the presentation of 4 awards to deserving Alumni of Australian universities who contributed to the society. The Australian High Commissioner, accompanied by Ms. Susan Kahwati, Ms. Karen Welsh, The MAAC President, Ms. Pat PW Yeoh, Vice President of Alumni Relations, Mr. Adrian Ong and Vice President of Bilateral Relations, Ms. Nicole Lim presented the 4 awards to 4 outstanding Alumni. They were:

Distinguished Alumni Award 2014:      Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Esa Hj. Mohamed (University of Newcastle)
Young Entrepreneur Award 2014:      Ms. Stephanie Yang (Monash University)
Alumni Chapter Award 2014:      Dato’ Dr. David Koh (University of New South Wales)
Community Achievement Award 2014:      Captain Mohammed Faiz Kamaludin (University of Newcastle)

Mr. Adrian Ong, Vice President of Alumni Relations and Organising Chair of the Gala Dinner briefly stressed the importance of being part of the alumni and the participation in activities during his opening speech.

In conjunction with The MAAC’s 15th Anniversary since its formal registration with Registrar of Society in 1999, The MAAC also ran a competition for the design of a new identity and logo. The new identity and logo design was presented at the dinner and the winner of the competition, Mr. Addy Sukma Bharata who came all the way from Indonesia was presented with a prize and certificate by The High Commissioner, accompanied by The MAAC President, Ms. Pat PW Yeoh and Vice President of Alumni Relations, Mr. Adrian Ong for his winning design.

In her speech, The MAAC President, Ms Pat PW Yeoh related the story of the formation of The MAAC and its progress. She also launched the 2nd series of The MAAC Videologue project, which was undertaken by The MAAC Vice President of Education and Welfare, Dr Chong Aik Lee, who was unable to attend the dinner. The videologue featured stories of two families with three generations of graduates from Australian universities with fond memories and experiences when they were studying in Australia. Those interested in the videologues can view them here.

The High Commissioner in his speech, also gave a brief overview of the New Colombo Plan where the Malaysian Prime Minister has given the confirmation to participate in this program, when it was announced by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Ms. Julie Bishop and the Australian Prime Minister, the Hon. Mr. Tony Abbott during their visits to Malaysia in February 2014 and September 2014 respectively. His Excellency also related the original Colombo Plan in the 1950s where, few prominent alumni participated in the program, namely, the retired Sarawak Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Tan Sri Taib Mahmud, the current Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Adenan Satem, Dr. Sam Abraham who passed away recently, Chairman and CEO of Usaha Tegas Group Holdings Bhd, Tan Sri T. Ananda Krishnan, and AMBank Group Chairman, Tan Sri Azman Hashim.

Other than the sumptuous five course western meal and great wine from Shinas estate, the guests were treated to a special performance that featured an opening performance from the Australian International School Jazz Band and songs to entertain guests throughout the evening by The Catch Band. After the awards presentation, a special performance that featured songs from The Phantom of the Opera were sung by Ms. Tesa Wang, a Chinese national, who graduated from the University of South Australia and currently working in Malaysia. The phantom was performed by Mr. Loh Wei Jun, a graduate of the Queensland University of Technology. The Gala Dinner ended with an interesting raffles draw where many great prizes were won. The Grand Prize, worth RM 15,000 was a 4 days 3 nights stay in a lagoon view room at the Intercontinental Hotel Sanctuary Cove, Gold Coast, with buffet breakfast for 2, access to the Country Club with complimentary valet parking and return air tickets for 2 to either Gold Coast or Brisbane. Other prizes includes a TOD’s Horse Bag for Ladies worth RM 6,000; a 3 days 2 nights stay at the Gaya Island Resort, Sabah with breakfast and return boat transfer for 2 worth RM 2,500; a Diamond Ring worth RM 2,100; a 128GB IPad with WIFI and cellular worth RM 1,700; a Himalaya Vase worth RM 1,075; hampers, spa products, a bean bag, Pilates sessions, crystal products, etc. For those who would like to view the photos from the gala dinner, please click here.