THE inaugural Anugerah Wanita Mutiara Perak began by honouring renowned dermatologist and tireless social volunteer Datuk Dr M. Majumder.
IPOH: Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor presented the award at the ceremony held for the first time to honour women who excel in their fields.
Also present were Perak Menteri Besar's wife and Baiduri chairman Datin Seri Saripah Zulkifli, Women Affairs, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Datuk Heng Seai and Perak Women Affairs committee chairman Datuk Hamidah Osman.
Majumder, who has scored several firsts in her career and social work, received the Lifetime Achievement/Woman of True Beauty Award from Rosmah.
She was selected because of her enthusiasm and compassion to serve humanity. The former president of Dermatological Society of Malaysia is the first and only woman dermatologist in the country, first female chairman of the Perak branch of the Malaysia Medical Association (1982) and the first female president of Rotary Club of Ipoh (1995) and Fellow of Academy of Medicine Malaysia.
She was named Foremost Woman of the 20th century in 1988, and received the coveted Margarette Golding Award for Highly Commendable Personal Service in 2003.
The Anugerah Wanita Mutiara Perak's Woman of Vision awards were given to Rumah Titian Ashraful Rohaniah founder Rohana Saidin in the social category, Pertubuhan Jagaan Kanak Cacat Setia founder Sin Kuan Lin in the philanthrophy category, Caely Holdings Bhd founder Datin Theresa Fong Nyok Yoon in the business cateogory, lawyer Leelamoney Sinniah in the professional category, Tekat Benang Emas craftsman Azizah Mohd Yusof in the creative ctegory), Perak Welfare Services Department director Chong Phaik Kee in the public sector category, and national sportswoman Datuk M. Rajamani in the sports category.
The Woman of Inspiration Awards went to environmentalist Donna Baylis in the environment category, Perak Badan Bangsawan Seri president Rosenah Shamsulaman in the arts and culture category, writer L. Kamalchee in the media category, consulting surgeon Dr Sumithra Sivasuntharam in the healthcare category, Indulgence Living founder Datin Julie Song in the hospital category, and Rendang Tok Mak Nik founder Nafsiah Yeop Abdullah in the entrepreneur category.
Perak Women for Women Society president Dr Sharifah Halimah Jaafar was recognised for social activism, Rose Virginie Good Shepherd Centre Ipoh founder Sister Helena Vytialingam for community renewal, Epa Empok for rural development by empowering the Orang Asli community, and Ipoh International School director Lai Kong Wa for education and child development).
The special categories award went to Team Keris Bhd co-founder Datin Irene Lee (property development), Ipoh Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals founder Dr Goh Hue Liang (animal care) and actress Datuk Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng (ambassador of Perak Women).
The Steering Committee honoured eight eminent Perak-born women residing outside the state with the Special Recognition -- Women of Distinction awards.
They were Toh Puan Umasundari Sambanthan, Tan Sri Nuraizah Abdul Hamid, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Tan Sri Asiah Abu Samah, Tan Sri Chow Poh Kheng @ Rosemary Chong, Tan Sri Ainum Mohd Saaid, Tan Sri Robaayah Zambahari and Datuk Justice (Rtd) Heliliah Mohd Yusof.
The 1,000 guests were entertained by songs, dances and a performance by Kinta Valley Wind Orchestra.
Rosmah, in her speech, called on women to be brave, change their mind sets and come out of their comfort zones.
"The influence of women is immense if they realise their potential, which can take them to a higher level, but they must be prepared to come to the forefront and become the prime mover and catalyst to contribute to the development of the country," she said.