PETALING JAYA: Three Malaysian women have been featured in Forbes’ newly launched “50 Over 50: Asia 2024” list, which showcases 50 inspirational women over the age of 50 from across the Asia-Pacific region.
They are Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, executive director of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Secretariat; lawyer-activist Ambiga Sreenevasan; and Tunku Mona Riza Khalid, a movie director and founder of film production house Current Pictures.
According to Forbes, the women of the third annual “50 Over 50: Asia” list hail from 14 countries and territories, encompassing over two dozen work sectors including fashion, pharmaceuticals, and finance, reported Bernama.
Forbes said that Sta Maria, 65, who was appointed the executive director of the Apec Secretariat in 2019, was the first woman to lead the 21-member inter-governmental economic advisory body.
Previously, she spent a decade shaping Malaysia’s contributions to the global economy, serving as deputy secretary-general, and then secretary-general and lead trade negotiator for the country’s international trade and industry ministry, as it was then known.
She has also represented the region at the World Economic Forum and was previously a non-executive director of RHB Bank Bhd.
As for Ambiga, 67, Forbes said this past year, the prominent Malaysian lawyer and human rights advocate had earned the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Medal of Honor and the Gandhi Memorial Trust Public Service Award.
As the second female president of the Malaysian Bar Council, she orchestrated the influential “March for Justice” and chaired Bersih 2.0, advocating free and fair elections, it said.
A founding member of the Women’s Aid Organisation, she now serves as president of the Pure Life Society, a charitable home for orphans and the underprivileged.
Tunku Mona Riza, 57, won Most Promising Director for “Redha” at the Malaysia Film Festival 2017. Inspired by a true story, the film depicts the challenges of raising an autistic child and was selected as the country’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.
Her 2023 movie, “Rain Town”, is Malaysia’s first Chinese-language film by a Malay female director.
Premiering in February 2024, it was screened at last year’s Vancouver Asian Film Festival and the International Film Festival of India in Goa.
The full list can be found on Forbes.com and in the February/March issue of Forbes Asia.