Five alumni of The University of Western Australia who are prominent citizens in their home nation, Malaysia, will be recognised by the University's Vice-Chancellor tomorrow (September 3) at a function in Kuala Lumpur.
Professor Alan Robson will present Distinguished Alumnus Awards to Mr Ramli Ibrahim; Dr Roland Dom Mattu; Emeritus Professor Dato' Dr Noramly bin Muslim; Emeritus Professor Dato' Dr Hood Mohamed Salleh; and Dato' Sri Wong Soon Koh.
"It is wonderful to be able to celebrate the success of these graduates who have contributed so much to Malaysia and the broader international community," Professor Robson said.
"The global success of our graduates continues to reflect the strength of The University of Western Australia and our commitment to education, research and lifelong learning."
Mr Ibrahim is considered the foremost exponent of Indian classical dance in Malaysia. Through a Colombo Plan scholarship he studied Mechanical Engineering at UWA and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in 1976. While studying, he trained with the West Australian Ballet Company and in 1977 toured worldwide for six years with the Sydney Dance Company, developing as a solo Indian classical dancer. In 1983 he initiated the Sutra Dance Theatre in Malaysia as Artistic Director.
Dr Mattu was the first Indigenous graduate of Medicine from UWA. He is a member of the Kalabit people, one of the small Dayak tribes in Sarawak. He received an Australian Colombo Plan scholarship and graduated in 1976. He became the first Dayak member of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and was elevated to Fellow in 2005. Three years later he was awarded the Academy of Medicine Malaysia in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Dr Noramly was a Colombo Plan scholar at UWA in the 1960s, completing honours in Science as an undergraduate and a PhD in Chemistry. In 1986 he became Deputy Director General and Head of Technical Cooperation at the Vienna Headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency where he was responsible for the implementation and delivery of more than 1,000 projects each year in 78 developing countries.
Dr Hood was awarded a Colombo Plan scholarship in 1963 and graduated from UWA as a Bachelor of Arts with first class honours in Anthropology. During his studies he played squash for UWA's first team and later played for the Malaysian national team, becoming Squash Champion of Malaysia in 1975. He established Departments of Anthropology in two Malaysian universities and received another scholarship to continue his studies at Oxford University, where he gained a PhD. His research focuses on fringe communities and the Indigenous Orang Asli people.
Dr Koh graduated from UWA in 1968 as a Bachelor of Arts and returned to Sarawak with his wife, whom he met on campus. A secondary school teacher and school principal in Malaysia for many years, Dr Koh left the education service for the private sector in 1984 where he became Executive Director of the Delta Group. In 1991 he was elected to the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly and is now Minister of Finance, Environment and Public Health, and Local Government in the State Government of Sarawak.
The awards will be presented at the Bankers Club, Kuala Lumpur, at 6.30pm on Saturday 3 September.
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783