The annual Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia List is out for 2021, and this time, 7 Malaysians have made it to this list of 300 and made all of us proud. Of these 7 names, Vulcan Post has also featured 4 of them, and we’re glad to see their achievements being further recognised.
Qyira Yusri and Tharma Pillai, Undi18
Despite having no political background and connections, Qyira and Tharma started Undi 18 in hopes of lowering the national voting age from 21 to 18 through what started as a student movement in 2016.
The Undi18 movement had been fighting for the amendment of Article 119(1) of the Federal Constitution to reduce the minimum voting age in Malaysia from 21 to 18 years old, lower the minimum age for elected representatives in both federal and state elections to be 18 years old, as well as to implement an automatic voter registration system. This would create an additional 25% of voters nationally, which are 8 million Malaysians.
In 2019, this Constitutional Amendment was actually passed unanimously in both the Upper and Lower Houses of the Parliament and was set to be implemented in July this year, but was unfortunately delayed.
To encourage more political participation among Malaysian youth, Undi18 also organised Parliament Digital last year, the first-ever to be done in the country, which got 500,000 livestream views.
Qyira and Tharma are on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2021: Social Impact.
Ong Yong Xun, JomStudy
Despite having no prior coding experience, Ong Yong Xun 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 for SPM.
Hence, JomStudy was born, an app meant to help Form 4 and 5 students to study anywhere without having to go through thick textbooks to prepare for their exams.
As the sole developer of the app, it took him around 6 months to create. Throughout the process, he taught himself how to code through Google and YouTube and sought help from forums like StackOverflow and even random strangers to find a solution to his coding roadblocks.
JomStudy is free for anyone to download, and besides study notes, it also provides revision notes from high school graduates and will include multiple choice questions and videos by chapter.
The app received 10,000 downloads within the first 4 months it was launched and doubled its traction during the pandemic to 20,000 as schools began shutting down and online learning became the norm.
Yong Xun is on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2021: Consumer Technology.
Kevin Wu, Ento
There seems to be a pattern of Malaysians that have made it without having prior experience in their current fields, and Kevin Wu is no exception.
A former lawyer turned foodpreneur, Kevin Wu founded Ento as a food enterprise that solves the high carbon emissions that conventional protein produces. His solution was insects.
In 2018, Kevin started farming crickets in the country, which don’t need as much land, water, and food compared to traditional livestock like cow and chicken.
From this farm, they produce all things cricket-related, such as roasted crickets and cricket powder for protein bars, pastries, pasta, and more. When we wrote about them months after they launched in 2019, they reported being able to generate over RM15,000 in revenue, but were aiming to increase their current capacity to 50x in the next two years.
He also has his own law firm, Kevin Wu & Associates, plus a Scandinavian-style furniture startup called Furniture Outlet Centre.
Kevin is on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2021: The Arts.
Tan Guan Sheng, Ittify
Although he was set on the media industry as his career path, Guan Sheng had always known that he wanted to run his own media company instead of working for one, so he did a degree in banking and finance from Monash University Melbourne, Australia.
While his peers were busy interning for banks, Guan Sheng himself interned with local production companies like JinnyBoyTV instead. He then created his own YouTube channel called guanyguanTV (which is no longer active), but realised that it was harder for small-name influencers like himself to get noticed by brands.
He later launched Ittify as a solution to this problem, an influencer marketing platform that hosts over 6,000 local influencers today with software to match them with brands and analyse results from advertising campaigns. Ittify has been acquired by iMedia, but Guan Sheng remained as the CEO of the company.
Guan Sheng is on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2021: Media, Marketing, And Advertising.
Jaz Lee, Creative Director at Ogilvy
An episode of Mad Men was what got 19-year-old Jaz hooked on advertising, despite having no college degree in advertising or an art 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 I think advertising should be”, Jaz told Branding in Asia.
At age 24, he was already leading advertising campaigns for names like Coca-Cola, Nestle and Samsung. Last year, he ranked 7th on Campaign Brief Asia’s annual list of Top 10 Most Awarded Creative in Malaysia.
Jaz is on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2021: Media, Marketing, And Advertising.
Annice Lyn, Women Photographers Malaysia
Annice Lyn was a former figure skater who became the first and only female photographer whose work was accredited for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games (PyeongChang 2018).
Noticing a severe lack of women representation in local accredited works, where just about 10% of the 774 accredited photographers were female, she decided to take matters into her own hands to change it around and co-founded Women Photographers Malaysia.
This group is meant to empower and support local photographers who are women through exhibitions, workshops, and meet-ups, with an aim to increase the visibility of their works for accreditation.
To date, this group has about 1.2k followers on Facebook and 2k on Instagram. Annice herself has been appointed as a Canon Malaysia EOS Youth Ambassador, was a campaign photographer cum core team campaign designer for the Malaysia General Election 2018, and has signed with Getty Images as a contractor and a contributor.
Annice is on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2021: The Arts.
One thing clear from this list is that not all these Malaysians started out with backgrounds relevant to what they’re achieving in their current fields, which shows that if you really put your mind and heart into doing something with no prior experience, you can go far.
While we’re seeing fewer names this year than the last, we’re always proud to see more new Malaysians appearing on the list, whether they’re innovators with young startups or are championing a worthy social cause.
- You can learn more about Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2021 here.
- You can read about the past list we’ve covered here, and more of our Forbes related coverage here.
Featured Image Credit: Qyira Yusri / Kevin Wu / Annice Lyn