Bernama journalist Melati Mohd Ariff won the prestigious Kajai Award at the MPI-Petronas Malaysian Journalism Awards presentation here tonight for her three-part articles on rising temperatures in Cameron Highlands.
Another Bernama journalist, Rohana Mustaffa emerged the winner in the Best Features category for her article entitled 'Kampung Baru-Antara Dua Darjat'.
The case study of the rising temperatures in Cameron Highlands, which was entitled 'Mencari Dingin Udara di Cameron Highlands' raised Melati's profile to emerge the winner in the Kajai Award category.
A thorough investigation supported by environmental experts had the judges bowled over, making Melati richer by RM30,000 and a 100-gramme gold medal worth RM12,900, the prizes for the winner of the Kajai Award.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin presented the prizes to the winners of the various categories up for grabs.
The last time a Bernama journalist won the Kajai Award was in the 1980s when Abdul Latiff Abu Bakar's work on the Memali incident was adjudged the winner.
Melati said she did not expect to win the Kajai Award and was only hoping to be honoured in the environmental category, in which she was also nominated.
"This is my biggest achievement since I entered the journalism field in 1979. I am very grateful (to receive the Kajai Award)," she said.
On where she got the idea to do the case study, Melati said it came about because of her disappointment that the hill resort was not as cool as it used to be.
"I love to go to Cameron Highlands...I like to go there because of its cool crisp air but became very disappointed to see indiscriminate development taking place which altered the cool atmosphere.
"From there, I felt challenged to find out what were the real reasons for the change and kept in touch with several people up in Cameron Highlands for additional information," she said.
As a journalist, she was fortunate to be able raise issues of interest to the people and hoped that her work would open the eyes of the parties responsible to look after Cameron Highlands so that its pristine beauty is preserved.
The feature on problems associated with Kampung Baru by Rohana detailed the situation in Kampung Baru in the context of development surrounding it, the grievances of its residents and uncertain future the Malay village, which lies in the centre of the federal capital.
The win enable Rohana to take home RM15,000.
Thankful for the success, Rohana described the win as very meaningful because it was her first award after not having written features for some 15 years.
"Before taking up duties at Bernama's Features Desk, I had been with the Bahasa Malaysia sub-editors desk and this is the first time I am winning an award after almost 15 years," said Rohana, who is the editor of the Features Desk.
Asked how she got the idea to come up with the article, Rohana said the issue was something close to her heart.
"The issue of Kampung Baru is an issue of the Malays which is dear to me. Although it is an old issue, there has yet to be any resolution," she said.