The annual Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia List is out for 2021, and this time 7 Malaysians made it onto this list of 300 and made us all proud. Of these 7 names, Vulcan Post has also introduced 4, and we are delighted that their achievements continue to be recognized.
Qyira Yusri and Tharma Pillai, Undi18
Photo credit: Undi 18
Though Qyira and Tharma had no political background or connections, they founded Undi 18 in the hope of lowering the national voting age from 21 to 18 through a student movement in 2016.
The Undi18 movement had campaigned for the amendment of Article 119 paragraph 1 of the federal constitution to lower the minimum voting age in Malaysia from 21 to 18 years old and to lower the minimum age for elected representatives in federal and state elections to 18 years old as well as a implement automatic voter registration system. This would create an additional 25% of the national electorate, or 8 million Malaysians.
In 2019, this constitutional amendment was passed unanimously in both the upper and lower houses of parliament and was supposed to be implemented in July of this year, but has unfortunately been delayed.
To encourage greater political participation by Malaysian youth, Undi18 also organized Parliament Digital last year, which was first held in the country and received 500,000 live stream views.
Qyira and Tharma are on Forbes' 30 Under 30 Asia 2021: Social Impact.
Ong Yong Xun, JomStudy
Photo credit: Yong Xun
Although Ong Yong Xun had no programming experience, he was determined to find a solution to a student-wide problem he faced – the inability to find short and simple notes for subjects while studying SPM.
Hence, JomStudy was born, an app designed to help grade 4 and 5 students study anywhere without going through thick textbooks to prepare for their exams.
As the only developer of the app, it took him about 6 months to create. Throughout the process, he taught himself to code through Google and YouTube, and sought help on forums like StackOverflow and even from random strangers to come up with a solution to his coding problems.
JomStudy can be downloaded for free by anyone. In addition to study notes, it also includes high school senior revision notes and includes multiple choice questions and videos by chapter.
The app received 10,000 downloads within the first 4 months that it was launched and doubled its traction to 20,000 during the pandemic when schools closed and online learning became the norm.
Yong Xun is on Forbes' 30 Under 30 Asia 2021: Consumer Technology.
Kevin Wu, Ento
Image credit: Ento
There appears to be a pattern of Malaysians who have made it through with no prior experience in their current fields and Kevin Wu is no exception.
Kevin Wu, a former lawyer turned food business owner, founded Ento as a food company that solves the high carbon emissions that conventional protein creates. His solution was insects.
In 2018, Kevin began breeding crickets in the country, which require less land, water and food compared to traditional livestock such as cow and chicken.
From this farm, they produce everything cricket related, such as roasted crickets and cricket powder for protein bars, pastries, noodles and more. When we wrote about them months after they were launched in 2019, they said they had over RM15,000 in sales, but wanted to increase their current capacity 50x over the next two years.
He also has his own law firm, Kevin Wu & Associates, as well as a Scandinavian-style furniture startup called Furniture Outlet Center.
Kevin is on Forbes' 30 Under 30 Asia 2021: The Arts.
Tan Guan Sheng, Ittify
Photo credit: Ittify
Despite his career path in the media industry, Guan Sheng had always known that he wanted to run his own media company rather than work for one. So he graduated from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia with a degree in banking and finance.
While his colleagues interned for banks, Guan Sheng himself practiced at local production companies like JinnyBoyTV. He then created his own YouTube channel called guanyguanTV (which is no longer active), but realized that it was more difficult for well-known influencers like him to get noticed by brands.
He later launched Ittify as a solution to this problem, an influencer marketing platform that today hosts over 6,000 local influencers with software to match them with brands and analyze results of advertising campaigns. Ittify was acquired by iMedia, but Guan Sheng remained the company's CEO.
Guan Sheng is on Forbes' 30 Under 30 Asia 2021: Media, Marketing and Advertising.
Jaz Lee, Creative Director at Ogilvy
Photo credit: Forbes
An episode of Mad Men got 19-year-old Jaz interested in advertising despite not having a college degree in advertising or an artistic background.
He began his career at Leo Burnett in Kuala Lumpur as a junior copywriter after writing a cover letter to Eric Cruz, former Executive Creative Director of Leo Burnett Malaysia, telling him "what advertising is today and what advertising is." should be in my opinion, "said Jaz Branding in Asia.
At the age of 24, he was running advertising campaigns for names such as Coca-Cola, Nestle and Samsung. Last year, he was ranked 7th on Campaign Brief Asia's annual list of the Top 10 Most Honored Creative Artists in Malaysia.
Jaz is on Forbes' 30 Under 30 Asia 2021: Media, Marketing and Advertising.
Annice Lyn, Malaysia photographers
Photo credit: Annice Lyn
Annice Lyn was a former figure skater who became the first and only photographer for the XXIII. Olympic Winter Games (PyeongChang 2018).
When she noticed a serious lack of women's representation in local accredited works, where only about 10% of the 774 accredited photographers were female, she decided to take matters into her own hands to change it and was a co-founder of Women Photographers Malaysia .
This group aims to empower and support local women photographers through exhibitions, workshops and meetings to improve the visibility of their works for accreditation.
To date, this group has approximately 1.2,000 followers on Facebook and 2,000 on Instagram. Annice herself has been named Canon Malaysia EOS Youth Ambassador, campaign photographer and core team designer for Malaysia’s 2018 general election, and has signed with Getty Images as a contractor and contributor.
Annice is on Forbes' 30 Under 30 Asia 2021: The Arts.
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It can be seen from this list that not all of these Malaysians started with backgrounds relevant to what they are accomplishing in their current fields. This shows that if you really use your mind and heart to do something with no prior experience, you can go far.
While we're seeing fewer names this year than last year, we're always proud to have more new Malaysians on the list, whether they're innovators with young startups or committed to a worthy social cause.
- You can learn more about Forbes' 30 Under 30 Asia 2021 Here.
- Read more about the list of the past we covered here and more about our Forbes-related coverage here.
Selected image source: Qyira Yusri / Kevin Wu / Annice Lyn