Dr Masni a/p Mat Dong: Recipient of the 2023 Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment

Note: The Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment offers Malaysians between the ages of 22 and 35 the opportunity to engage in short-term collaborative projects and programmes with international institutions, promoting growth across various disciplines.

Dr Masni a/p Mat Dong, a lecturer at the Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management and Technology (TAR UMT) Pahang Branch, has been awarded the 2023 Merdeka Award Grant for International Attachment.

Dr Masni’s research on “Reimagining Inclusive Development: A Spatial Justice and Multidimensional Poverty Perspective on the Orang Asli in Malaysia” aims to address the poverty issues among the Orang Asli in Malaysia through policy changes. It is her passion to empower Aboriginal people to participate in decision-making processes through participatory and inclusive approaches that acknowledge their culture, history, and values.

‘My research on the Orang Asli community is more than just an academic pursuit. It is a passion and commitment to understanding the complex layers of challenges faced by the Orang Asli community and finding viable solutions that resonate with their unique identity. While the world of academia celebrates theories, I am anchored in the real world, ensuring that my work transcends pages to make tangible differences in lives.

Looking ahead, Dr Masni will be furthering her research work at a renowned international university. She envisions the establishment of a specialized research and action hub focused on improving the lives of the Orang Asli. The centre will bring together scholars, activists, and community leaders to develop holistic solutions, from policy recommendations to grassroots initiatives. Dr Masni also aims to collaborate with global indigenous rights organizations to establish a support and advocacy network.