Monash University winners Leong Zhuan Kee (second right) and Peh Wei Li ...

For Leong Zhuan Kee and Peh Wei Li, food sustainability is a key topic these two bright minds are extremely passionate about.

In this light, the duo worked extremely hard over the past few months to propose a solution to this problem and, in the process, emerged victorious at the ASEAN Data Science Explorers (ASEANDSE) Malaysian National Finals 2019 organised by the ASEAN Foundation and SAP.


Both Zhuan Kee and Wei Li will be representing Malaysia in the regional finals to be held in Bangkok, Thailand next month.

Meanwhile, the competition’s runners-up were Stella Anne Teoh Ming Hui and Wong Yi Ying from Universiti Utara Malaysia, while second runners-up were Johannes Low Jun Wei and Muhammad Aiman Shukran Mohamad Najib from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Winners were chosen for the urgency of their topics, the solutions delivered through their storyboards and the clarity of their presentations.

Judges comprise representatives from ASEAN Foundation, SAP, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), National Council of Women’s Organisation (NCWO) and Impact Hub.

The competition in Malaysia is one of ten ASEANDSE 2019’s National Finals taking place across the region this month. The best ten teams from each member state compete for a spot to represent their country in the Regional Finals.

By harnessing SAP Analytics Cloud software, each team developed data-driven solutions that highlighted six sustainable development goals namely (1) good health and well-being, (2) quality education, (3) gender equality, (4) decent work and economic growth, (5) industry, innovation & infrastructure and (6) sustainable cities and communities that can contribute to solve the region’s most pressing social issues.

This year, more than 271 students nationwide were trained on SAP Analytics Cloud.

ADSE Malaysia 2019 - Winners and participants (at Monash)
ADSE Malaysia 2019 – Winners and participants (at Monash)

“Together with the ASEAN Foundation, we at SAP continue to encourage youths to be creative and develop innovations to support the social and economic issues that our country and others in the region face, especially with providing them with skills that helps them to face the ‘experience economy’ and contribute to Malaysia’s goals for Industry 4.0,” said SAP Southeast Asia president and managing director Claus Andresen.

“ASEAN Foundation is honoured and proud to partner up with SAP for three consecutive years. The role of SAP is strongly significant in this joint initiative as together we are addressing the post-2020 direction of ASEAN youth development that focuses on fostering future-ready ASEAN youth through digital skills development,” said ASEAN Foundation executive director Elaine Tan.

Since its inception in 2017, ASEANDSE has empowered over 9,000 youths from 230 higher education institutions in the region with data analytics skills.

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When interviewed post-event, Zhuan Kee and Wei Li expressed appreciation to the ASEAN Foundation and SAP for having meticulously organised the competition.

“There was a lot of hard work and we spent countless hours on research and development to come up with our food sustainability solution,” said Zhuan Kee. “We feel very humbled to have won this prestigious competition and will do our level best at the regional finals next month. That said, we were also impressed by the various solutions proposed by students from other universities.”

Meanwhile, Wei Li said that the SAP Analytics Cloud software ensured greater efficiency for them to arrive at the proposed solution: “The interface was very user-friendly and helped us make better decisions in coming up with the solution.”

Both students also expressed their gratitude to MDEC for their constant efforts in nurturing talent for Malaysia, and for ongoing efforts to propel the nation to the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Zhuan Kee and Wei Li are also grateful to Monash Vice-President (Research & Development), CEO of Monash Malaysia R&D Sdn Bhd and a data scientist himself Professor Mahendhiran Nair, and their lecturer and supervisor Dr Ewilly Liew for their constant support and encouragement.

“We are very lucky to have Professor Mahendhiran and Dr Ewilly Liew guiding and supporting us each step of the way,” they said. Dr Ewilly Liew is a certified enterprise data analyst and has also served as the academic advisor for business analytics major.

Meanwhile, Professor Mahendhiran said that the ASEANDSE initiative by SAP and ASEAN Foundation was an excellent way of showcasing the talent in the data science area in the country and the region.

“Data science is going to be a key area to help enhance the competitiveness of industries and countries in the ASEAN region; and it is good to see that universities in the country are nurturing the next generation leaders in this field to meet the needs of industry in the region,” said Professor Mahendhiran.

The event yesterday was held at Monash University Malaysia.

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