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Shirin Hamid and the late Sarkasi Said awarded Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2021; Kiria Tikanah named Young Achiever of the Year

Singapore, 22 December 2021 – Incoming International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief information officer (CIO) and information technology director, Ms Shirin Abdul Hamid, and Cultural Medallion recipient and batik artist, the late Mr Sarkasi Said, were named Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2021.

Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Transport, was the guest of honour at the awards ceremony held at the Grand Hyatt Singapore this evening. Ms Shirin was not able to attend the event as she was not in Singapore, and her sister Ms Zabrina Abdul Hamid received the award on her behalf. National fencer and Olympian, Ms Kiria Tikanah Abdul Rahman, was named Berita Harian Young Achiever of the Year 2021.

Inaugurated in 1998, Berita Harian Achiever of the Year is an annual award organised by SPH Media’s Malay daily, Berita Harian, and celebrates Malay/Muslim individuals for their achievements in their chosen field, be it education, business, arts and culture, sports or social work. The winners typically embody perseverance, determination, integrity, the ability to overcome odds and are role models for the Malay/Muslim community in Singapore. The Berita Harian Young Achiever of the Year award recognises young inspiring Malay/Muslim Singaporeans aged 30 and below.

Mr Tng Ah Yiam, Chief Procurement Officer of FairPrice Group which presented the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2021, said: “FairPrice Group is proud to provide ongoing support for this meaningful award in recognising individuals who have contributed significantly to society and touched the lives of others through the differences they have made. As we celebrate the achievements of the award recipients, we hope to also inspire more people in their pursuit of excellence while making a positive impact on our community."

Ms Shirin, 54, was conferred the award for her outstanding achievements in information technology and volunteer work.

Prior to taking up her new role at the IMF on 4 January next year, Ms Shirin was the director-general and CIO of the information technology department at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila since 2016, leading a team of more than 600 IT personnel. She has also spent 11 years at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York as chief technology officer and director, overseeing IT functions and operations in 170 countries and territories.

The mother of two kids aged 18 and 22 also gives back to the community and has among others contributed as a volunteer canoe instructor with the People's Association and participated in Operation Raleigh to build a clinic in a village in Kenya.

Mr Saat Abdul Rahman, Editor of Berita Harian/Minggu, said: “We are pleased to present the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2021 award to Ms Shirin Abdul Hamid. Her stellar achievements in the field of IT and technology, contributing at the international level, are both outstanding and inspiring. She has made the community, country and other women proud, making her an excellent role model and a worthy recipient of this award.”

Ms Shirin said: “I am so humbled because I think there are so many others in the community who probably deserve this award more than I do. Nevertheless, I want to thank Berita Harian for this award. I hope that the work that I do can serve as an inspiration to others, whether it's in Singapore or people from other nations, especially in developing communities.”

Mr Sarkasi Said, who goes by his artist name Tzee, showcased Singapore batik to the world when his works were exhibited in the USA, France, Japan, New Zealand and in Southeast Asia. He has also served on committees for the Malay Heritage Centre Committee, National Arts Council and Modern Art Society. Mr Sarkasi passed away on 14 October 2021 at the age of 81 after being diagnosed with kidney failure. However, he continues to be remembered for his passion in pursuing his craft and his generosity in imparting knowledge to new generations of artists and underserved communities through workshops at the Malay Heritage Centre and teaching art as a volunteer in Changi Prison, Sembawang Drug Rehabilitation Centre and Jamiyah’s Children Home.

His son Mr Ika Zahri Sarkasi said: “I am pleased to receive the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2021 award on behalf of my father. This award honours my late father's contribution to the community and the many sacrifices he went through as an artist. He was a very determined and hardworking man, always advising me and my siblings to perform every task given to us with discipline and sincerity, with the aim to do an excellent job to the best of our ability, and not for recognition. This award spurs me and my siblings to uphold and continue the legacy that our father left for the future generation.”

Mr Saat Abdul Rahman added: “The late Sarkasi Said was a pioneer, thinker and a gracious arts practitioner, always humble despite having an extraordinary talent. His passing meant Singapore has lost a true giant in our arts scene. In honour of his extraordinary contribution to the arts and inspiring the community, we are pleased to present the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2021 posthumously to the late Sarkasi Said. We also hope that the legacy he leaves behind will continue to inspire many generations to come."

The recipient of the Berita Harian Young Achiever of the Year 2021 award, Ms Kiria Tikanah Abdul Rahman, 21, was among the 23 athletes who represented Singapore at the Tokyo Olympics in July.

Ranked 207th in the world, the SEA Games champion upset Hong Kong’s world No. 90 Coco Lin 15-11 in the opening round, before bowing out to Romanian world No. 1 Ana Maria Popescu in a closely-fought match.

Ms Kiria said: “Receiving this award shows that I have support from the community and that they are excited to see what I can achieve in the future. That gives me motivation and a sense of responsibility to work even harder. The Olympics used to seem like a very big and impossible dream for me but I managed to achieve it. So my advice to the younger generation is to never be afraid to make big dreams like I did when I was a child because it is possible. Take the first step to dream big and work towards that direction.”

Mr Saat Abdul Rahman said: “This award is Berita Harian's small yet significant gesture to motivate young Malay/Muslims who have shown the potential to achieve greater heights. Miss Kiria Tikanah has displayed tenacity and strong determination to follow her dreams, flying the Singapore flag high at the Olympics. We hope this award will motivate her to continue to work hard and pursue her dreams and while doing so, inspire other young SIngaporeans to achieve their goals.”

This year's winners were picked by a panel of four judges from the Malay/Muslim community in Singapore, chaired by Mr Abdullah Tarmugi, former Speaker of Parliament. The other three judges were Berita Harian/Minggu Editor, Mr Saat Abdul Rahman; Dr Abdul Razakjr Omar (CEO, Specialist Care Group (SCG), Executive Director of IAPPS Health Group (IHG) and Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2013); and Mr Suhaimi Rafdi (Senior Director at People's Association and Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2012).

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