The founder of Malaysia's first medical charity, Mercy Malaysia, Dr Jemilah Mahmood is the first Malaysian recipient of the Asean Prize for her outstanding humanitarian and disaster relief management work around the Southeast Asian region.
The prize, which also sees her awarded with US$20,000 (RM83,310), was launched at the Asean Summit in Singapore last year.
Jemilah received the trophy from Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Asean secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi at the summit's opening ceremony today in Bangkok, said Wisma Putra in a statement today.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was also present to witness the conferment of her award.
The Asean Prize is a prestigious regional award which aims to acknowledge the inspiring and outstanding achievements of an individual or organisation in fostering the Asean identity, promoting the Asean spirit and championing the Asean way.
The inaugural Asean Prize was given to Erlinda Uy Koe, the former chair of the Asean Autism Network (AAN), from the Philippines.
Mercy Malaysia, which is also known as the Malaysian Medical Relief Society, was started in 1999 by Jemilah to provide volunteer medical and health services when the Balkan state of Kosovo descended into war.
Jemilah, who was born in Seremban, will turn 60 next month on Dec 3.
She led Mercy Malaysia for 10 years before stepping down in 2009. Jemilah is currently serving as the under secretary-general for partnerships at the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 2003, she was shot and temporarily kidnapped when she was travelling as part of a convoy providing medical aid in the Iraq war.
Jemilah, who is trained as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, has also garnered a lot of accolades and admirers around the world for her humanitarian work.
Two months ago, Perak ruler Sultan Nazrin Shah, who is the royal patron for Mercy Malaysia, awarded her the "Anugerah Tokoh Peneraju Kemanusiaan".
Among her other awards are the Merdeka Award, the "Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award" from the Morehouse College USA (Martin Luther King Chapel), as well as the "Isa Award for Services to Humanity" from the Kingdom of Bahrain, which has been likened to the Middle East equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize.