In NUS homecoming, Dr M meets old friends, gets honorary doctorate

Zurairi Ar

Malaysia's Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Singapore's President Halimah Yacob at the National University of Singapore November 13, 2018. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE, Nov 13 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad returned to his alma mater National University of Singapore (NUS) today, where he was conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition on his contribution to Malaysia and the republic’s bilateral relations.

This morning, the prime minister visited the King Edward VII College of Medicine building and met seven former classmates at the Medical Alumni Association, before heading to NUS for the conferment ceremony by Singapore President Halimah Yaacob.

His wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, was also awarded the Distinguished Alumni Service Award in recognition for her service in public health and as a role model for women doctors.

“Tun Dr Siti Hasmah is a pioneer and an inspiring role model for women doctors in Malaysia. She has also been a strong champion for public health issues in Malaysia and beyond,” NUS president Prof Tan Eng Chye said in a statement.

“Her life partner, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is a charismatic and visionary statesman who has shaped the history of Malaysia and the region in many ways.

“In their golden years, this popular couple continues to serve their country and communities with dedication and distinction. Their amazing energy and the impact of their combined accomplishments serve as an inspiration for the NUS community,” he added.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali chat with their old classmates from King Edward VII College of Medicine at the Natioanal University of Singapore November 13, 2018. — Picture courtesy of the Information Department of Malaysia

In his speech for the ceremony, Tan praised Dr Mahathir’s “legendary” curiosity, which he said should inspire NUS as an institution of learning.

“We will look at Dr Mahathir’s zeal for learning, and his zest for life for inspiration. At 93, he is still always on the go, reading, learning, and sharing his insights on a wide range of issues,” said Tan.

While reading Dr Mahathir’s citation, the School of Medicine’s Prof Chong Yap Seng has described the former’s return to politics as “a stunning demonstration of his abiding love for Malaysia, and his desire to enhance growth and prosperity for his countrymen”.

“He is, in many eyes, a living example of bold leadership and steadfast resilience,” said the school’s dean designate.

Also present at the ceremony was Singapore’s emeritus senior minister Goh Chok Tong, who will host a lunch for Dr Mahathir at noon.

The King Edward VII College of Medicine was established in the early 20th century and became the University of Malaya’s Faculty of Medicine in 1949. Following the Malaysia-Singapore split, the college became part of the University of Singapore, and later the NUS.

Past recipients of the NUS Honorary Doctor of Laws include the republic’s late founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew as well as Goh and Halimah.

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