Malaysian

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Malaysia, a melting pot of diverse cultures, and a hotspot of some of Asia’s greatest attractions (think prehistoric rainforests, world’s tallest twin towers – the Petronas, and Batu Caves!), is also the home to some exceptionally successful people. That is right! It is truly amazing how this multicultural haven, oscillating between its Oriental culture and pockets of diverse other religions, race and background, has managed to carve a niche for itself in the global map. Tourism and its attractions aside, this Southeast Asian country is also the address to some popular names in the world. Don’t believe us? Bet, you did not know that the maker of world famous shoes, Jimmy Choo was a Malaysian? Or that brand ambassador of L’Oreal and Sony, the famous supermodel Amber Chia is a Malaysian? Join us as we delve into the lives of some world famous Malaysians in their biographies and trail their timeline, trivia and facts here.
Vote For Your Favourite Malaysian Personality
 1 
Lee Chong Wei
(Malaysian Former Badminton Player and Three-Time Olympic Silver Medallist)
Lee Chong Wei
19
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: October 21, 1982
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bagan Serai, Malaysia
Malaysian former badminton player Datuk Lee Chong Wei held the first rank for 349 weeks as a singles player, thus becoming the only player from his country to be number one for over a year. He is a three-time Olympic silver medalist but quit the game after his cancer diagnosis.
 2 
Jimmy Choo
(Fashion designer)
Jimmy Choo
2
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: 1961 AD
Birthplace: George Town, Malaysia
While locked down in Malaysia during the COVID-19 crisis, luxury footwear designer Jimmy Choo came across the idea to open a fashion academy in London. Born to a modest shoemaker in Penang, Choo had mastered the art of shoe designing in London, where he later launched his eponymous shoe brand.
 3 
Michelle Yeoh
(Actress)
Michelle Yeoh
22
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: August 6, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ipoh, Malaysia

The quintessential action heroine of the 1990s Hong Kong action films, Chinese-Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh gained international recognition after playing an important role in the 1997 James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies. In 2008, she was named the greatest action heroine of all time by Rotten Tomatoes. She is the only Asian named in People's 35 All-Time Screen Beauties list.

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 4 
Henry Golding
10
Birthdate: February 5, 1987
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sarawak, Malaysia
 5 
Mahathir Mohamad
(Prime Minister of Malaysia (1981-2003, 2018-20))
Mahathir Mohamad
15
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: July 10, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Alor Setar, Malaysia

Mahathir Mohamad is a Malaysian statesman, doctor, and author. He twice served as the prime minister of Malaysia and is widely regarded as one of the most popular Malaysian prime ministers of all time. Under his premiership, Malaysia underwent a period of rapid economic growth and modernization. Mahathir Mohamad is also credited with establishing strong foreign relations with many countries.

 6 
Nigel Ng
(Comedian)
Nigel Ng
3
Birthdate: March 15, 1991
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
 7 
Michael Gough
2
Birthdate: November 23, 1916
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kuala Lumpur
Died: March 27, 2011
 8 
Claudia Wells
(Actress)
Claudia Wells
3
Birthdate: July 5, 1966
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
 9 
Anwar Ibrahim
(Malaysian Politician)
Anwar Ibrahim
2
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 10, 1947
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bukit Mertajam

Anwar Ibrahim is a Malaysian politician who has served as Leader of the Opposition twice. Interested in politics from an early age, he joined the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) as a young man. He rose through the ranks to become the finance minister and the deputy prime minister. He is a controversial figure and has been jailed for sodomy.

 10 
Tunku Abdul Rahman
(1st Prime Minister of Malaysia (1957-70))
Tunku Abdul Rahman
6
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: February 8, 1903
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Alor Setar, Malaysia
Died: December 6, 1990
Tunku Abdul Rahman was a Malaysian statesman who served as the first prime minister of Malaysia from 1957 to 1970. Before becoming the Malaysian prime minister, Tunku played an important role in the independence process that came to an end in 1957. Tunku Abdul Rahman is widely regarded as Malaysia's founding father for his role in the formation of Malaysia.
 11 
Tony Fernandes
(Entrepreneur)
Tony Fernandes
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: April 30, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kuala Lumpur

Tony Fernandes is a Malaysian entrepreneur best known as the founder of a popular air transport provider called Tune Air. He is credited with introducing the first low-cost airline, AirAsia, to Malaysians. Tony Fernandes is also credited with turning AirAsia into a highly successful public-listed company. 
 

 12 
Robert Kuok
(Founder and chairman, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts)
Robert Kuok
0
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: October 6, 1923
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Johor Bahru, Malaysia
 13 
Vincent Tan
(Malaysian Chinese Businessman, Investor and Founder of ‘Berjaya Corporation’)
Vincent Tan
4
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: 1952
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Batu Pahat, Malaysia

Vincent Tan is a Malaysian Chinese investor and businessman. He is credited with founding Berjaya Corporation Berhad, a Malaysia-based corporation that operates a wide range of businesses. In 2010, Tan was named in the Forbes' billionaire list. Also known for his philanthropic efforts, Vincent Tan founded the Better Malaysia Foundation, which grants scholarships and interest-free loans to students in need.

 14 
Ronny Chieng
(Comedian)
Ronny Chieng
2
Birthdate: November 21, 1985
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Johor Bahru, Malaysia
 15 
Lee Zii Jia
(Badminton player)
Lee Zii Jia
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 29, 1998
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia

Malaysian badminton player Lee Zii Jia has gold medals in the Asian Championships, the Asia Team Championships, and the Southeast Asian Games. He began his training in badminton at age 6 and later joined the Bukit Jalil Sports School. He made headlines when he was banned by the Badminton Association of Malaysia temporarily.

 16 
Siti Nurhaliza
7
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: January 11, 1979
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kampung Awah, Malaysia
 17 
Neelofa
(Actress)
Neelofa
2
Birthdate: February 10, 1989
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pasir Mas, Kelantan, Malaysia
 18 
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
(Former Prime Minister of Malaysia)
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: November 26, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bayan Lepas

Former Malaysian prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had initially served the civil services. He focused on removing corruption and poverty from his country during his tenure as the PM. He is also a talented poet, and following his retirement, he now serves as the chancellor of the Universiti Teknologi Petronas.

 19 
Poh Ling Yeow
(Chef & Actress Known for Hosting Her Own Cooking Series on ABC Entitled 'Poh’s Kitchen')
Poh Ling Yeow
2
Listed In: Food Experts
Birthdate: 1973 AD
Birthplace: Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Poh Ling Yeow is a Malaysian-born Australian television presenter, cook, author, actress, and artist who lives and works in Adelaide. A popular figure, Yeow has appeared in several films and popular TV shows like MasterChef Australia. Also known for her humanitarian efforts, Poh Ling Yeow donated her artwork to benefit Flinders Medical Centre in 2003.

 20 
James Wan
(Co-creator of the Saw and Insidious Franchises and the Creator of the Conjuring Universe)
James Wan
13
Birthdate: February 26, 1977
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

James Wan is an Australian screenwriter, film director, comic book writer, and producer. He is credited with creating or co-creating the popular Insidious, Saw, and The Conjuring Universe franchises. An exponent of the horror genre, James Wan established the Atomic Monster Productions, which produces television and film projects. He is also one of the most successful filmmakers of his generation.

 21 
P. Ramlee
(Actor)
P. Ramlee
0
Birthdate: March 22, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Penang, Malaysia
Died: May 29, 1973
 22 
Najib Razak
(Former Prime Minister of Malaysia)
Najib Razak
16
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: July 23, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kuala Lipis, Malaysia
Najib Razak was the Malaysian prime minister from 2009 to 2018. Son of former prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein, he has also chaired the Barisan Nasional coalition and been the president of the United Malays National Organisation. He was later convicted of corruption and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
 23 
Nicol David
(Malaysian Professional Squash Player Who Has Won the World Open Title Record Eight Times)
Nicol David
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 26, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Penang, Malaysia
Nicol David is a retired professional squash player. From 2006 to 2015, David held on to the world number one ranking for 108 consecutive months, which is a world record. She also won a record eight World Open titles. Regarded as the greatest women's squash player ever, Nicol David won a record nine Asian Squash Championships during her illustrious career.
 24 
James Brooke
(Politician, Writer, Diplomat)
James Brooke
1
Birthdate: April 29, 1803
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Varanasi
Died: June 11, 1868

Born to an English judge in British India, James Brooke was educated in England and then served the Bengal Army. He later established the Brooke Raj, or the State of Sarawak, in Borneo and reigned as its first White Rajah. He was knighted and later handed over his Raj to his nephew.

 25 
Abdul Razak Hussein
3
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: March 11, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pekan, Malaysia
Died: January 14, 1976

Abdul Razak Hussein was a Malaysian politician best remembered for his service as the Prime Minister of Malaysia from 22 September 1970 until his death on 14 January 1976. An influential politician, Abdul Razak Hussein held several other prominent offices, including the office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Minister of Home Affairs.

 26 
Oksana Voevodina
1
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: July 10, 1992
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Astrakhan, Russia
 27 
Lim Guan Eng
(The Fourth Chief Minister of Penang and the Current Secretary-General of the Malaysian Democratic Action Party)
Lim Guan Eng
3
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: December 8, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Malaysia

Former finance minister of Malaysia Lim Guan Eng was no stranger to politics as a child, being the son of politician Lim Kit Siang. Educated in Malaysia and Australia, Eng had initially begun his career as a banker. He has faced a number of legal issues, including charges of corruption.

 28 
Yuna
(Singer)
Yuna
3
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: November 14, 1986
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Alor Setar, Malaysia
 29 
Tanita Tikaram
(Singer, Composer, Songwriter)
Tanita Tikaram
1
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: August 12, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Münster
 30 
Hussein Onn
(Former Prime Minister of Malaysia)
Hussein Onn
3
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: February 12, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Johor Bahru
Died: May 29, 1990

Former Malaysian prime minister Hussein Onn is remembered as the Father of Unity. Son of Malaysian freedom fighter Onn Jaafar, Hussein had been educated in Singapore and then been part of the Indian Army during World War II. He later stepped into politics with the UMNO.

 31 
Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor
7
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: July 27, 1972
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor went from being an orthopaedic surgeon to becoming the first Malaysian man to fly into space. Chosen out of 11,000 applicants to join the Malaysian-Russian collaborative space initiative Angkasawan, he became a national hero. He also conducted various medical research experiments while in space.

 32 
Ravichandran
(Actor who played lead hero roles in Tamil films from 1964 to 1979)
Ravichandran
0
Birthdate: March 30, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Died: July 25, 2011
 33 
Hishammuddin Hussein
(Politician, Lawyer)
Hishammuddin Hussein
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 5, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kuala Lumpur

Hishammuddin Hussein is a Malaysian politician who has held various ministerial roles including the Deputy Minister of Primary Industries, Minister of Youth and Sports, Minister of Education, Minister of Home Affairs, and Minister of Defence. Hishammuddin Hussein has also been an important member of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) since 1989.

 34 
Jill Bennett
(Actress)
Jill Bennett
1
Birthdate: December 24, 1931
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Penang, Malaysia
Died: October 4, 1990
 35 
Pandelela Rinong
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 2, 1993
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bau, Sarawak, Malaysia

Two-time Olympic medalist Pandelela Rinong was scouted for state diving at the age of 7. Born into a modest family of a contractor, she initially dreamed of becoming an air stewardess and of traveling the world. She scripted history as the first Malaysian female to win an Olympic medal.

 36 
Azizulhasni Awang
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 5, 1988
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kuala Dungun, Terengganu, Malaysia

Malaysian track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang, also known as The Pocket Rocketman, has both an Olympic bronze and silver in his kitty. Adopted as a child, he took up cycling at age 10. While studying sports science in Australia, he became the first non-Australian to get a Blue Award from Victoria University.

 37 
Fazura
(Actress)
Fazura
1
Birthdate: September 27, 1983
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pekan, Pahang, Malaysia
 38 
Nurul Izzah Anwar
(Politician)
Nurul Izzah Anwar
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: November 19, 1980
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Nurul Izzah Anwar is a Malaysian politician who served as the People's Justice Party's Vice-President from 2010 to 2018. The daughter of Dato' Seri Haji Anwar bin Ibrahim, Nurul Izzah is an ardent advocate of civil and human rights.
 

 39 
Malaysia Vasudevan
(Playback singer and actor in Tamil cinema)
Malaysia Vasudevan
0
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: June 15, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kuala Selangor, Malaysia
Died: February 20, 2011
 40 
Jesseca Liu
(Actress)
Jesseca Liu
0
Birthdate: February 13, 1979
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kedah, Malaysia
 41 
Lawrence Wong
(Singaporean Actor Who Portrayed 'Hai Lan Cha' in the Chinese Historical Series 'Story of Yanxi Palace')
Lawrence Wong
2
Birthdate: August 5, 1988
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Lawrence Wong is a Malaysian-born Singaporean actor whose portrayal of Hai Lan Cha in the Chinese historical series Story of Yanxi Palace earned him a place in the most influential artistes in China list. His role in the series also earned him a Golden Angel Award under the Best Actor in a Supporting Role category.

Amelia Thripura Henderson
0
Birthdate: October 20, 1995
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Klang, Selangor, Malaysia
 43 
Wan Azizah Wan Ismail
(12th Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia (2018 - 2020))
Wan Azizah Wan Ismail
2
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: December 3, 1952
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Singapore

Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is a Malaysian politician who served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia as well as the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development from 21 May 2018 to 24 February 2020. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is the first female to hold the office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

 44 
Arthur Percival
(Military personnel)
Arthur Percival
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: December 26, 1887
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Aspenden
Died: January 31, 1966

Blamed for undermining the British Imperial prestige by surrendering to the Japanese Army during the Battle of Singapore, Arthur Percival was actually a distinguished military officer, known for his successful campaigns in interwar period.  Plagued with underequipped garrison from the beginning, he was forced to surrender in order to save the lives of his 100,000 men and became the scapegoat.

 45 
Yeo Bee Yin
(Politician)
Yeo Bee Yin
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 26, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Segamat, Johor, Malaysia

Yeo Bee Yin is a Malaysian politician who served as the Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change from 2 July 2018 to 24 February 2020. Her work as the Minister of Energy and Climate Change earned her several honors including a place in The Ecologist's list of 25 female climate leaders shaping 2019.  

 46 
Janna Nick
(Actress)
Janna Nick
2
Birthdate: June 1, 1995
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sungai Petani, Malaysia
 47 
Shila Amzah
(Singer-songwriter)
Shila Amzah
2
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: August 13, 1990
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
 48 
Carmen Soo
(Model, actress who starred in the 2013 film Ghost Child)
Carmen Soo
0
Birthdate: October 14, 1977
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
 49 
Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin
(Queen consort of the 9th Sultan of Selangor)
Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin
0
Birthdate: June 4, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kuala Lumpur, (then located in Selangor), Malaysia
 50 
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: April 13, 1937
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kota Bharu

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is a Malaysian politician who played an important role in establishing key policies and foundations in Malaysia's economy. For his immense contribution to Malaysia's economy, Razaleigh is often referred to as the Father of Malaysian Economic Development. Razaleigh, who held various ministerial positions in the past, is currently serving as a member of parliament (MP).