Press release

3 Dec 2020 Kuala Lumpur, MY

Malaysia finalist Ashley Lim Siew Fern announced as 2020 EY Young Tax Professional of the Year, beating 31 other finalists from around the world

EY celebrates 10 years of Young Tax Professional of the Year (YTPY) in 2020.

Related topics Tax
  • EY celebrates 10 years of Young Tax Professional of the Year (YTPY) in 2020
  • Finalists from 32 countries competed in the first ever virtual EY YTPY
  • Winner to gain first-hand experience in several EY member firm offices

Malaysia finalist Ashley Lim Siew Fern has been named 2020 EY Young Tax Professional of the Year (YTPY). Ashley, 21, who is pursuing her Bachelor of Commerce (Professional Accounting) degree in Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, was selected from 32 finalists from around the world who competed in a series of virtual workshops and presentations designed to showcase their knowledge of the international tax system.

"My heart stopped when I heard 'Malaysia' announced! I'm extremely happy to have made the people who have supported and mentored me proud. This challenge has pushed me to learn so much more about tax - and the more I learn about the changing global landscape of tax, the more I discover how dynamic and interesting it is! I truly feel as though I have evolved along the journey to become the Young Tax Professional of the Year — I doubt I started off as one!" said Ashley. 

On her experience in the international competition, Ashley shared, "It's been an amazing journey of growth and exposure! The EY Young Tax Professional of the Year competition provides a great platform to improve an array of professional skills, especially interpersonal and communication skills. Through the feedback from professionals at EY, the preparatory sessions provided and the platform to challenge myself, I think I've pushed beyond my current boundaries and charted new ones. To all high-potential youths out there, I say ‘Come forward and test your mettle!’. The leaps made in terms of personal development will be absolutely rewarding."

Ashley will now have the opportunity to gain first-hand experience at EY member firm offices in London, New York and Hong Kong as part of a 30-day world trip – pending jurisdiction restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United Kingdom representative Madelaine Bewlay took second prize, while Joshua Mok of Oceania was awarded third prize.

This year represents the 10th year of the EY flagship tax talent program, and the first time that YTPY has been conducted in a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the competition was launched by EY in 2010, more than 40,000 young tax professionals from around the world have participated. While the pandemic has required the competition to take place virtually this year, 2020 saw more participants represented from more parts of the world than in previous years, with over half of the finalists’ female.

Kate Barton, EY Global Vice Chair – Tax, said:

“In a challenging economic environment, it is more vital than ever that we continue to invest in the next generation of tax talent. It is a privilege to provide EY Young Tax Professional of the Year participants with the opportunity to learn first-hand about the international tax system, law and the people agenda, while networking with leading EY tax professionals, and their student and graduate peers internationally.”

EY Young Tax Professional of the Year was established to reward and foster the next generation of tax leaders. All competitors are selected by EY member firms in their local market – in collaboration with local universities – before they go on to represent their jurisdiction in the global final. 

This year included candidates from 32 jurisdictions who virtually participated in technical workshops, case studies and interviews before a judging panel, which included EY leaders, academics, tax revenue authorities and tax directors from major multinational companies.

Dato' Sri Dr. Sabin Samitah, Chief Executive Officer/ Director General of Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRBM) was invited to be part of the esteemed panel of judges for this year’s global EY YTPY final.

Dato’ Sri Dr. Sabin said:

“The EY Young Tax Professional of the Year competition is an appropriate platform to moot early tax awareness amongst youths and acts as a stepping stone for those considering a career in tax. Having witnessed the participants from 32 countries in this international competition, I am assured that the tax education and awareness programmes undertaken by tax authorities such as the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia and the tax fraternity, namely the EY organization, have gone a long way towards creating an informed society on tax-related matters.”

“We are proud of Ashley’s achievement at the EY Young Tax Professional of the Year 2020 international final. Her outstanding accomplishment at the international platform is clear testament to the ability and caliber of our Malaysian students. Ashley’s success also inspires us at IRBM to continue building on our successful collaboration with organisations such as EY in fostering the tax profession and building a strong pool of tax talent and leaders in Malaysia. Once again my congratulations to Ashley for flying the Malaysia flag high on the international stage and to EY for yet another successful YTPY programme this year,” he added.

Hisham Halim, Partner, Ernst & Young Tax Consultants Sdn Bhd and EY Young Tax Professional of the Year Malaysia Programme Director said:

“We are extremely proud and thrilled that against such stiff competition - 32 extremely talented country finalists vying for the top title - our Malaysian country winner was named the global winner of this prestigious international competition. Ashley’s win encapsulates the spirit of Malaysia Boleh! The EY YTPY competition is a truly global platform that provides our young talents with a glimpse into the knowledge, skill sets and capabilities required of tax professionals of the future. Ashley has done us tremendously proud by rising to the challenge and successfully impressing the judges.”

Farah Rosley, Partner and Malaysia Tax Markets Leader, Ernst & Young Tax Consultants Sdn Bhd said:

“Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic this year, we at EY remain committed to fostering and providing our young talents with the opportunity to learn, thrive and excel, locally and globally, and Ashley’s outstanding success demonstrates this unwavering commitment. We are also deeply appreciative and proud of the collaboration with the IRBM in the EY YTPY Malaysia programme. Indeed, we are also pleased that YBhg Dato' Sri Dr. Sabin bin Samitah, Chief Executive Officer/ Director General of IRBM, was invited to be part of the esteemed panel of judges for this 10th edition of the global EY YTPY final - yet another great recognition for Malaysia."

Amarjeet Singh, EY Asean Tax Leader and Malaysia Tax Leader, Ernst & Young Tax Consultants Sdn Bhd said:

“We are extremely proud of Ashley on the excellent outcome for herself and for Malaysia. It goes to show that Malaysians can be the world’s best with hard work, dedication and the right guidance. At EY, we believe in living our purpose of building a better working world by providing our young talents and future leaders with the right platform and opportunities to grow and excel in a disruptive and competitive environment. Ashley’s feat on the global stage underscores the enriching EY YTPY experience which offers the opportunity for our next generation of tax professionals to thrive globally. As the tax function and profession continue to evolve at an unprecedented speed, we see exciting new challenges and opportunities in the industry. There has never been a better time to pursue a rewarding career in tax.”

To learn more about EY Young Tax Professional of the Year, visit

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