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The 10 Most Elegant Malaysian Men in 2023

These are individuals, who according to GC community, transcend beyond garments, whose elegance spills from their code, radiating outward in refined manners, quiet confidence, and an aura of effortless class.

By GC Community, Edited by Raja Izz 

Gentleman's Code Magazine (GC), present not another "best-dressed" list, but a revelation: The Most Elegant Malaysian Men of 2023. These are individuals, who according to GC community, transcend beyond garments, whose elegance spills from their code, radiating outward in refined manners, quiet confidence, and an aura of effortless class.

Beyond the threads that adorn them, these gentlemen exude a magnetic charm that captivates all in their presence. It's not just about what they wear, but how they carry themselves—with a posture that commands attention, a calm demeanor that exudes confidence, and a cultivated air that whispers of sophistication.

In a nod to tradition, the nominees are celebrated for their adherence to "adat" —the cultural and social customs that define Malaysian heritage. Their appreciation for the cultural nuances and the ability to seamlessly integrate them into their daily lives sets them apart as ambassadors of tradition in a rapidly evolving world.

As we unravel the stories and personas of these remarkable individuals— remember, when you spot elegance in someone, you spot something distinctive in him that is part of yourself.

Here is the 10 most elegant Malaysian men in 2023:

1. Dion-Johan Chai Cools (Footballer)

Photo Credit: Getty

Dion-Johan Chai Cools' elegance isn't just about athleticism or good looks. It's a multifaceted charm woven from poise on the field, articulate communication off it, a refined sense of style, and a genuine commitment to using his platform for good. He navigates the world of football with grace and confidence, scoring his first international goal for Malaysia in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, securing their first qualification by merit in 42 years (and been named Man of the Match in the same game). On 16 November 2023 during the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification match, Dion scored 2 goals against Kyrgyzstan which Malaysia was losing to a 3–1 deficit to the opponents before the Malaysian historic comeback to a 4–3 win. This unique blend of heroic qualities makes him a captivating figure and a compelling emblem of sporty elegance.

2. KYDMM Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah (member of Pahang Royal Family and currently reigning as Regent and Crown Prince of Pahang)

Photo Credit: House of Pahang

Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah's distinct aura and lasting impression stem from a confluence of factors that transcend mere physical appearance:

Lineage and Refinement: As a member of the Malaysian royal family, Tengku Hassanal embodies a legacy of inherited grace and composure. His upbringing likely involved strict etiquette and exposure to fine arts, cultivating a natural air of sophistication.

Classic Elegance Style ("Old-Money" Aesthetic): Tengku Hassanal doesn't rely on flamboyant displays of wealth or ostentatious clothing. Instead, his attire reflects class and understated luxury, opting for well-tailored suits, traditional Malay garments, or tasteful casual wear. This speaks to a deeper sense of confidence and self-assuredness.

Gracious Demeanor: Like President Kennedy, Tengku Hassanal is known for his calm and respectful demeanor, regardless of the situation. This extends to his interactions with both commoners and fellow nobility, showcasing humility and genuine goodwill.

Athletic Prowess: Tengku Hassanal is an avid sportsman, excelling in polo and equestrian pursuits. I can't forget how nonchalance he is at the recent Agong's Cup polo tournament, where his performance brought Pahang to semi-final. This dedication to physical fitness and mastery of skills adds to his aura of effortless charm and self-discipline.

Commitment to Heritage: Tengku Hassanal embraces his Malay heritage and actively participates in cultural events and initiatives, whether in Malaysia or outside of our country. This authenticity and respect for his roots add depth and dimension to his overall elegance, grounding him in a sense of purpose and identity.

Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah's lineage, refined demeanor, understated style, sporting prowess, and cultural engagement combine to make him a compelling example of elegance this year.

Education: Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, National University of Singapore

3. Johan "Jojo" Ghazali (MMA/Muay Thai Fighter)

Describing Johan "Jojo" Ghazali as one of Malaysia's most elegant men requires a non-traditional approach to defining elegance. He embodies a unique kind of elegance that goes beyond conventional notions of appearance, or refinement. Here's why:

Unconventional Grace: Jojo's elegance lies in his youthful confidence and athletic prowess. He carries himself with the poise of a champion, not relying on ostentatious displays of wealth or flashy attire. His grace shines through in the ring with his fluid movements and precise strikes, and in interviews with his respectful demeanor and articulate responses.

Prodigy's Potential: His youthful age adds to his elegance. At 17, he has already achieved remarkable success, showcasing dedication and talent beyond his years. This potential for future greatness adds an aura of excitement and dynamism to his elegant image.

Cultural Ambassador: Jojo represents a new generation of Malaysians, bridging traditional Malay heritage with global aspirations. He embraces his Malay identity while competing on the international stage, inspiring youth and showcasing the potential of Malaysian athletes. This cultural ambassadorship adds a layer of national pride to his elegant image.

Humility and Sportsmanship: Despite his achievements, Jojo remains grounded and humble. He celebrates his victories with graciousness and respects his opponents. This sportsmanship and lack of arrogance further endear him to fans and contribute to his elegant image.

Role Model Inspiration: Jojo serves as a role model for aspiring athletes and youth in general. His dedication to his craft, respectful conduct, and commitment to education exemplify values worth admiring. This inspirational quality adds another dimension to his elegance.

Jojo's youthful confidence, athletic prowess, cultural ambassadorship, humility, and inspirational presence resonate with many Malaysians. He redefines elegance for a new generation, proving that grace can come in unexpected packages and shine brightest on the world stage.

Education: SMK St. Thomas, Kuching

4. Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn (President & Group Chief Executive of Permodalan Nasional Berhad)

Picture Credit: Bloomberg

Merdeka 118 (formerly known as PNB 118) is a symbol of the country's growing elegance on the global stage. But the most important thing is not the façade of the building, but the soul that lives inside it. At the heart of Merdeka 118 is the spirit of its leader, Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn. Zulqarnain glides through the boardroom with an aura of effortless precision. His Harvard pedigree is evident, not through boastful pronouncements, but in the quiet confidence that underscores his every speech, posture, and composure. He communicates with measured precision, focusing on clarity and substance over flamboyance. His calm, collected demeanor and ability to navigate complex conversations with grace inspire respect. Zulqarnain carries the legacy of excellence associated with Merdeka 118 with humility and grace, which in return inspired everyone to embrace the commitment to excellence.

Education: The Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK), Harvard University

5. James Wan (Filmmaker)

Photo Credit: Getty

James Wan's elegance isn't about the traditional trappings of the label. Instead, it stems from a unique blend of factors that make him stand out in the world of filmmaking:

Visionary Talent: His visionary filmmaking style, blending horror and suspense with artistic flair, has carved a niche in Hollywood. The success of franchises like "Aquaman", "Saw", and "The Conjuring" speaks to his masterful storytelling and aesthetic sense.

Quiet Confidence: Despite his global acclaim, Wan doesn't seek the limelight. He maintains a humble and reserved demeanor, letting his work speak for itself. This quiet confidence exudes a unique kind of elegance, far removed from brash showmanship.

Collaborative Spirit: Despite being a directorial powerhouse, Wan values collaboration. He fosters a positive and inclusive environment on set, earning the respect and admiration of his peers and actors. This collaborative spirit reflects an underlying decency and grace.

Cultural Ambassador: As a Malaysian who has carved a successful path in Hollywood, Wan serves as a role model for aspiring filmmakers worldwide. He embraces his heritage while excelling in a global industry, promoting cross-cultural understanding and inspiration.

Unassuming Success: Unlike some high-profile filmmakers, Wan avoids ostentatious displays of wealth or fame. He leads a relatively quiet life, focusing on his craft and family. This grounding in simple values adds an understated elegance to his persona.

Lasting Impact: Wan's influence on the horror genre is undeniable. His innovative techniques and dedication to quality filmmaking have redefined the genre for a new generation. This lasting impact contributes to his legacy and adds another layer to his perceived elegance.

For many, James Wan's visionary talent, quiet confidence, collaborative spirit, cultural ambassadorship, unassuming success, and lasting impact create a compelling and unique form of elegance in 2023.

Education: The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT), Lake Tuggeranong College, RMIT School of Media and Communication

6. YM Tengku Dato’ Seri Zafrul (Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry)

Photo Credit: Getty

Tengku Dato Seri Zafrul's elegance transcends the typical markers of bureaucrat. It's a subtle blend of factors that project an aura of sophistication, composure, and leadership. Tengku Dato' Seri Zafrul radiates a distinct brand of elegance that blends financial acumen, physical fitness with a touch of royal heritage. Despite his high-profile position, Zafrul comes across as approachable and down-to-earth. He engages with the public through his Instagram account and town hall meetings, fostering a sense of connection and relatability. With this relatable humanity, he presents himself as a down to earth bureaucrat with a heart for the people, captivating audiences with his intellect, grace, and genuine concern for Malaysia's economic future.

Education: University of Bristol UK, University of Exeter UK, Tsinghua University, Fellow Chartered Banker with the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers.

7. Sophian Ab Rahman (Penolong Datuk Paduka Maharaja Lela, Royal Palace of Malaysia)

Picture Credit: @sophianabrahman

The phrase "manners maketh the man" emphasizes the importance of good manners and behavior in defining a person's character. In this context, Sophian Ab Rahman's elegance shines through prominently in his constant thought leadership tips and articles on etiquette and decorum, particularly on his Instagram account. A glance at his account reveals a curated and proper representation of his life, where every post exudes a sense of decorum, traditional Malay heritage aesthetic and thoughtful engagement.

Education: Bachelor's Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (B.Ed TESL) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

8. YM Raja Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Arshad B. Raja Tun “Sir” Uda (Group Chairman of Permodalan Nasional Berhad, Chairman of Icon Offshore Bhd, Chairman of Bumi Armada Bhd, board of trustees of Yayasan Raja Muda Selangor and Yayasan Amir, the Chancellor of Universiti Selangor) 

YM Raja Tan Sri Arshad embodies a different kind of elegance, one rooted in tradition, wisdom, and quiet leadership:

Exemplar of Malay Nobility: As a member of Selangor's royal family, he carries the weight of heritage with grace. His demeanor reflects both refinement and humility, upholding the values of chivalry and service associated with Malay royalty. His father, Raja Tun Sir Uda is a prominent Malaysian bureaucrat, a role model to Penang and Selangor society. This lineage and inherited sense of "noblesse oblige" contribute to his aura of elegance.

Distinguished Leadership: His career, spanning business leadership and public service, is marked by success and integrity. He has helmed prominent companies and organizations, navigating complex challenges with composure and strategic foresight and relevancy. This proven track record of effective leadership commands respect and adds depth to his elegant image.

Commitment to Philanthropy: Raja Tan Sri Arshad is a dedicated philanthropist, supporting education, healthcare, and cultural initiatives. His generosity stems from a genuine desire to improve the lives of others, showcasing a compassionate heart that complements his polished exterior. This dedication to social good adds a humanistic dimension to his elegance.

Unassuming Demeanor: Despite his achievements and lineage, Raja Tan Sri Arshad remains down-to-earth and approachable. He avoids ostentatious displays of wealth or privilege, preferring to lead by example and inspire through his actions. This humility further strengthens his elegant image.

Raja Tan Sri Arshad's royal heritage, distinguished leadership, philanthropic commitment, and unassuming demeanor combine to create a unique and respected form of elegance. He serves as a role model for quiet dignity, service, and commitment to national progress.

Education: fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, a member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants and the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants.


9. Hans Isaac (Chairman of Malaysia Stadium Corporation, Chairman of Film Development Corporation)

Picture Credit: @hansisaac

Hans Isaac's elegance extends far beyond the silver screen, weaving together his artistic talent, humanitarian efforts, and genuine connection with the Malaysian community.

Timeless Charm: Hans Isaac's aura is one of refined grace. His smile is disarmingly genuine, his eyes conveying warmth and depth. Whether gracing the red carpet in a crisp suit or sporting a casual look for a charity event, he carries himself with a quiet confidence that transcends trends.

Effortless Charisma: He possesses an inherent ability to connect with people, regardless of background or age. His wit is sharp yet disarming, his humor often self-deprecating. This natural charm shines through in interviews, talk shows, and even casual interactions with fans, making him instantly likable and approachable.

Humanitarian Spirit: Hans Isaac is an active advocate for community, lending his voice and influence to support sports development, social causes, and underprivileged communities. This dedication to giving back showcases a genuine kindness and humanity that adds another layer to his elegant image.

Connection with Malaysia: A true Malaysian heart beats beneath Hans Isaac's charming exterior. He embraces his heritage, often speaking Bahasa Malaysia and participating in cultural events. This deep connection to his roots resonates with Malaysians of all backgrounds, fostering a sense of national pride and cultural appreciation.

Hans Isaac's timeless charm, effortless charisma, dedication to craft, humanitarian spirit, and connection to Malaysia combine to create a unique and endearing form of elegance. He proves that true grace lies in genuine warmth, artistic excellence, and a commitment to something bigger than oneself.

Education: St. John's Institution

10. Khairy Jamaluddin (politician, radio presenter and podcaster)

Describing KJ as one of Malaysia's most elegant men necessitates a multifaceted approach, as his appeal transcends a single factor. Here's why:

Political Acumen with Refinement: He navigates the complex world of Malaysian politics with poise and intellectual dexterity. His sharp debates, articulate arguments, and measured demeanor showcase a political mind honed with years of experience.

Charismatic Public Figure: Khairy carries himself with an easy charm and disarming smile. He connects with diverse audiences effortlessly, engaging in relatable humor and showcasing a genuine warmth that extends beyond his political persona.

Modern Family Man: His public dedication to his family adds a human touch to his political image. He embraces domesticity without shying away from his demanding career, creating a relatable persona that resonates with Malaysians valuing family ties. This modern yet wholesome portrayal adds another layer to his elegant image.

At the age of 47, Khairy constantly pushes boundaries and reinvents himself. From politician to radio host to podcast personality, he embraces diverse roles and media platforms. This dynamism and willingness to explore new avenues showcase an adaptability that adds to his modern elegance.

Education: University of Oxford, United World College of South East Asia, St Hugh's College, University College London

As the curtain closes on 2023, we're left with a profound appreciation for the Malaysian men who have graced this year's list of the most elegant. From the captivating charm of athletes like Dion-Johan Chai Cools to the corporate elegance like Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn, each individual embodies a unique facet of what it truly means to be elegant.

So, as we step into a new year, let us carry with us the lessons imparted by these remarkable gentlemen. May their quiet dignity and unwavering pursuit of excellence continue to inspire us all to embrace our heritage, cultivate inner strength, and strive to leave the world a touch more beautiful than we found it.

Remember, elegance is not a trend; it's a timeless legacy, waiting to be etched by each of us.

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