24 February 2018
Thank you Professor Graham Kendall, Provost of the University of Nottingham Malaysia campus for the kind introduction earlier.
Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Board of Directors, Graduates and Guests.
First and foremost, I would like to thank the University of Nottingham for conferring on me the Honorary Doctor of Laws this morning.
I am deeply touched to receive this Award from such a well-respected and prestigious institution, the University of Nottingham. This is also an honor for the people of Selangor of which this impressive campus is located in. Thank you.
Thank you Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West. I take this opportunity to extend to you my heartfelt Congratulations on your recent appointment as the Vice-Chancellor of the University in October. With your impressive background in education and research, I am confident that you will continue to take the University of Nottingham to greater heights.
Thank you to Professor Nick Miles, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement. I am honored that you have made the trip to Malaysia to attend this ceremony.
Thank you to the Board of Directors and especially to its Chairman Tengku Tan Sri Ahmad Rithauddeen. Tan Sri has been instrumental in the setting up of this Campus and also in the nation-building of Malaysia and I applaud him for that.
It is especially an honor for me to receive this Award from the University of Nottingham for many reasons.
Firstly, this impressive campus is itself situated in Semenyih, Hulu Langat, in my own State, the State of Selangor. It is the first ever branch campus of a British University established outside of the United Kingdom, earning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and Industry – the first time such an award had been given to an academic institution. This campus is an important part of Nottingham’s vision to become a truly global university for the 21st century and beyond. To have the first campus in my state of Selangor is truly an honor. This continues the long and historic relationship that the United Kingdom has had with Selangor and Malaysia.
I am very proud that most of the top academic institutions in Malaysia are located in Selangor and of course the University of Nottingham is one of them. This of course means that the population is made up mainly of youths. In the capital Shah Alam for example, 70% of the population is under the age of 35 and are mainly students. I am 72 years old but I hope NOT TOO OLD to keep in touch and understand the youth and student population. My son the Raja Muda also helps to update me of what excites the young.
Secondly, this prestigious academic institution has also produced a number of great alumni which includes one of the greatest and one of my favorite novelists D.H. Lawrence.
However, even more impressive is the long list of notable Malaysians that can call the University of Nottingham as their alma mater.
Interestingly, the University of Nottingham has a close link to the Malaysian monarchy.
The fifth Raja Permaisuri Agong, Her Royal Highness Sultanah Bahiyah of Kedah studied Social Science at Nottingham from 1951 to 1954. She was the 2nd Chancellor of the University of Malaya and helped shape the University into what it is today.
The ninth King of Malaysia, His Royal Highness Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak read law at Nottingham. Sultan Azlan of course had a very distinguished and respected career in the judiciary before he ascended as the Sultan of Perak, with his last post as the Lord President. He was also the Chancellor of the University of Malaya.
The tenth King of Malaysia, His Royal Highness Tuanku Jaafar of Negeri Sembilan was also a Law graduate of the University of Nottingham. He was a successful career diplomat serving Malaysia throughout the world before he ascended as the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan. He was also the Chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).
The current Raja Permaisuri of Perak, Her Royal Highness Tuanku Zara Salim studied Engineering at Nottingham, receiving First Class Honours and is the Chancellor of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI).
To complete this link between the Royal households in Malaysia and Nottingham, I should also point out that the Chairman of the Board, who is a member of the Royal family of the states of Kelantan and Perlis, Tengku Tan Sri Ahmad Rithauddeen, also read law at Nottingham. As you all are well aware of, he has done a lot for the establishment of the campus in Malaysia.
Ladies and Gentleman, today I am particularly pleased to join these notable royal families in having a similar link with the University of Nottingham.
It is my hope that this bond between the University of Nottingham and the people of Selangor and Malaysia will get even closer and stronger.
To all the new graduates present here this morning, I congratulate you on your accomplishments. All of your hard work has paid off. You and your families should be very proud of your achievements and excited about the future opportunities that await you. You can now count yourself as part of this prestigious alumni.
I would also like to note the motto of the University – “A city is built on wisdom”. I like this motto very much as it signifies the importance of education in the shaping of all walks of life and society.
It has similar values to the motto of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) where I serve as Chancellor of the university. “Berilmu Berbakti”, or “With Knowledge, We Serve,” in English.
Education is very important as it positions you graduates for possibilities in your career and in your future. The work you have done over the past several years here at the University has provided you with a strong base of information across all disciplines, developed your depth of knowledge, strengthened your critical thinking skills, and opened the doors for your future.
I encourage you to not let your learning end today, instead let today be a springboard for being a lifelong learner. I am a strong believer that you must continue to learn from all experiences whether it is on travel or in the work place, continue to be a learner, and you will see those doors in front of you continue to open.
Now that you are a part of this prestigious alumni, you must always keep up the good name and reputation of this university in whatever career path that you choose to take.
Finally, once again, congratulations to all of you.
I also wish the Vice-Chancellor and the University of Nottingham leadership every continued success.
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