Presented to

The Following Accomplished Plant Breeders in Recognition of Their Outstanding Contributions In the Field of Plant Breeding:

Research Fellow, MARDI


Involved in production of new varieties of rice. Develop new varieties; evaluate these potential varieties in research station, then in multilocation trial in all the major rice growing areas. As part of evaluation, carry out screening for disease and pest; evaluate quality status, physical grain traits as well as physiochemical properties. Carry out large plot testing with farmers and before release for general planting carry out pilot project. Involve in promotion of the varieties; agronomic package testing; Seed multiplication. Released many varieties both as breeder as well as head of rice breeding programme in MARDI: Muda, Seberang, Manik, MR 84, Makmur, MR 103, MR 106, Ph 9, MR123, MR 127, MR 159, MR 167, MR 185, MR 211, MRQ 50, MR 219, MRQ 74, MRQ 76 Involve in the Evaluation and Release of Siraj, first hybrid rice release in Malaysia and hybrid variety HS 98, approved for release.



Academic Qualification:

  • Diploma Agriculture 1974 – Univ. of Agriculture, Malaysia
  • BSc (Plant Science) 1976 – Univ. of California, Davis, USA
  • MSc (Plant Breeding/Genetics) 1978 – Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, USA
  • PhD (Plant Breeding/Genetics) 1982 – Kansas State University, USA.

Service & Working Experience

  • Tun Ismail Atomic Research Centre (PUSPATI) 1979 – 1989: Research Officer (Mutation Breeding & Genetics), Head of Mutation Breeding Research Group, Head of Program of Isotope & Radiation in Biology & Agriculture.
  • Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia (RRIM) 1989 – 2009: Senior Research Officer (Hevea Breeding & Genetics), Head of Crop Improvement and Protection Unit, Director of Production Development Division.

 Hevea Breeding Activities

  • Breeding & Selection of high yielding rubber clones for latex and timber production.
  • Conservation and utilization of Hevea genetic resources to broaden the genetic base.
  • Breeding for Corynespora leaf disease resistance.
  • RRIM -Environmax Clones Recommendation.
  • 1995 RRIM Expedition to Amazon, Brazil to collect Hevea Germplasm.
  • Plant Breeding Liaison Officer, International Rubber Research Development Board (IRRDB).



Dr Tan Swee Lian was a plant breeder at MARDI for 37 years, during which time she worked mainly on cassava and sweetpotato. Through her efforts, MARDI released five cassava varieties, viz. Perintis, MM92, Sri Kanji 1, Sri Kanji 2 and Sri Pontian, as well as four sweetpotato varieties, namely, Gendut, Telong, Jalomas and VitAtoTM. Dr Tan is recognized locally as well as internationally for her research on cassava and sweetpotato. She was a member of the Asian Cassava Research Advisory Committee (co-ordinated by CIAT 1 ) from 1990, and a member of the Asian Network for Sweetpotato Genetic Resources (ANSWER) from 1996, representing Malaysia in both until her retirement.

In 2001, the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) appointed her a member of the Centre-Commissioned External Review Panel for its activities in the methodologies and strategies for plant genetic conservation and use, covering China, Nepal and Italy. She was also Chairperson of the Working Group on Cassava for the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) from 2002-2006. In this capacity, she organized the 2nd International Symposium for Sweetpotato and Cassava in 2005 for MARDI and ISHS. Dr Tan Swee Lian has won the excellent service award in MARDI several times – for the years 1988, 1993, 2000, 2003 and 2007. She also won the MARDI Publications Award in 2003 for the most number of significant scientific publications for the years 2001- 2002. She was also part of the team which won MARDI’s Award for Best Team Research in 2006/2007 for her work on the sweetpotato variety, VitAtoTM. Her service to the national through agriculture was acknowledged through the conferment of the Federal Award Kesateria Mangku Negara in 1993, the national level Maulidur Rasul Award in 2010, and Fellow of the Academy of Sciences, Malaysia in 2009.


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