From the ban of vapes and pretzel dogs, to the shock of Leonardo Di Caprio being dragged into the 1MDB scandal, to the disregard of our country’s rules and regulations by tourists on Mt. Kinabalu and at the F1, this year has been one of memorable moments both good and bad.
But let’s end the year with a look back on some of the great things that have been accomplished in 2016, either by an individual in Malaysia or as a countrywide team:
1. 4 silvers and 1 bronze at the Olympics
On our nation’s 15th appearance at the Olympics, held this year in Rio De Janeiro, saw eight out of our 32 representatives bring home medals. All silvers in badminton, Lee Chong Wei won the Men’s Singles, Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong the Men’s Doubles, and Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying the Mixed Doubles.
In diving, Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong won a silver in Women’s synchronized 10m platform. Pandalela was the first female to stand on the podium for our country. Malaysia’s bronze went to Azizulhasni Awang for Cycling in Men’s Keirin.
2. 3 golds and 1 bronze at the Paralympics
21 of our warriors were sent to compete in 9 games this year in Rio – and for the first time, they brought home the gold – plus two more and also a bronze. All in athletics, the first gold came home in the hands of Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi for the Men’s 100m T36/F36.
The second came home with Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli for the Men’s Shot Put T20/F20 and third with Abdul Latif Romly Men’s Long Jump T20/F20. The bronze was brought home by one of our nation’s women, Siti Noor Radiah Ismail for the Women’s Long Jump T20/F20.
3. Khairul Idham Pawi wins Moto3 in Argentina and Germany
Khairul Idham Pawi made headlines this year when he became the first Malaysian to win a Grand Prix race in any class, earning two victories in Moto3 this year in Argentina and Germany.
4. Faiz Subri nominated for FIFA’s most beautiful goal of the year
Kedah’s very own Mohd Faiz Subri was shortlisted for the FIFA Puskas Award for the most beautiful goal of the year, becoming the only Asian to make the cut this year. He ended up beating 7 other shortlisted players, including Neymar and Messi, to make it to the top 3. If he wins, Faiz will be the first Malaysian and Asian to win the prestigious award.
You have until 9th January to vote for him here!
5. Nauraj Singh Randhawa broke national highjump record to qualify for Rio Olympics
Nauraj Singh Randhawa broke the national high jump record to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. He smashed the eight-year national record of 2.27 held by Lee Hup Wei with a personal best of 2.29 meters, matching the Olympic qualifying standard.
6. Lee Chong Wei won 6th Indonesian Open
Lee Chong Wei, affectionately known as LCW, won his 6th Indonesian Open title in June, becoming only the third shuttler to win the title six times, and the first non-Indonesian to do so. LCW also clinched the title in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013. He’s tied with Indonesians Ardy Wiranata and Taufik Hidayat.
7. Men’s badminton doubles team ranked #1 in the world
Malaysia’s star men-double team, Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong, ended the year with a World Superseries Finals win, cementing their #1 ranking. The Olympic silver medalists are the second pair to win at the finals for Malaysia.
8. 1 gold and 2 silvers at the World Dodgeball Championships 2016
A men’s team and an invitational mixed team both won 2nd place in their category, and the women’s team placed 1st at the World Dodgeball Championships. This was particularly incredible because it was Malaysia’s first entry into the tournament!
First for Malaysians
9. Yuna on the NASDAQ billboard
Our songbird, Yuna, has not only made it into the charts, but has now also made it onto the NASDAQ screen in Times Square, New York.
Her single Crush, featuring Usher, generated over 18 million views on YouTube and made it to the US Billboard charts for R&B music, peaking at the 3rd spot. Her third album, Chapters, is now also on the long-list for a Grammy award and has already been dubbed by the Rolling Stone magazine as one of the best R&B albums of the year.
10. Michelle Yeoh became UNDP’s Goodwill Ambassador and will star in Star Trek
This year, Malaysia’s very own action heroine was appointed as UNDP’s Goodwill Ambassador and will be raising awareness and mobilising support for the recently launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On screen, she is coming back to her heroic alter ego, having been a Bond girl in 1997 in Tomorrow Never Dies and a lead role in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon in 2000. She has landed a role as one of the Starfleet captains in the latest chapter of the Star Trek franchise, that celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.
11. First sports film Ola Bola breaks records
Malaysia’s first sports movie was inspired by the glories of Malaysia’s national football team which entered the 1980 Summer Olympics. According to The Daily Seni, the movie brought in RM2.5 million on the first four days of its release and made a whopping RM8 million thirteen days later.
The film was nominated for a number of awards at the Malaysia Film Festival and also the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. They won 5 out of the 16 nominations.
12. Perodua launches first sedan, the Bezza
The Bezza was built on the 22nd anniversary of the Malaysia car company. The Malay word, beza, means different. Up to this point, Perodua has stuck to producing compact cars, from the Kancil to Kelisa, MyVi, Viva, Alza, and more. The Bezza marks Perodua’s first foray into the sedan market, hoping to rival the country’s biggest car company, Proton.
13. Malaysia appointed its first cardinal
Of the 17 new Catholic Cardinals created by Pope Francis this year, Archbishop Emeritus Anthony Soter Fernandez of Malaysia was one of them. He was appointed as a priest in Penang in 1966 and was later on appointed as Bishop of Penang 11 years later in 1977. At the age of 71, he resigned as Archbishop and now, at 84, has become the first Cardinal of Malaysia.
14. Harith Iskander crowned World’s Funniest Person
Landmarks and infrastructure milestones
15. Extension of LRT lines and opening of MRT
The long-awaited extension of the Ampang and Kelana Jaya LRT lines were finally opened this year. 13 new stations on the Kelana Jaya line connecting USJ and Putra Heights as well as 13 new stations on the Ampang line to connect areas in Puchong are have been fully operational since June 2016.
As for the MRT, the first phrase of the project was completed in December and was opened to the public on 16th December. The current stations in operation include those between Sungai Buloh and Semantan, Damansara.
16. Tugu Negara’s 50th anniversary
The National Monument of Malaysia located at the Perdana Botanical Gardens is now 50 years old. It was built in 1966 to commemorate those who gave their lives in fighting for Malaysia’s freedom during the Japanese occupation in World War II and the Malayan Emergency.
On 31st July every year, the King, Prime Minister and heads of military and the police lay garlands on the monument to pay their respects to the fallen heroes.
17. Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM)’s 70th anniversary
The first broadcaster in Malaysia, RTM, was launched in 1946 as a radio broadcast and in 1963 on television. RTM is a household name in the country, being the major broadcaster for a very long time before satellite and cable TV. To commemorate RTM’s 70th anniversary, Malaysia Central Bank (Bank Negara) launched commemorative coins showing RTM’s iconic Angkasapuri headquarters.