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Brief Biography of Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Binti Hj Mohd Ali

Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah was the first MMU Chancellor. She served MMU for 15 years from 20 June 1997 to 19 June 2012.

One of the first Malay women doctors in Malaysia and the second Malay woman to be appointed a medical officer in government service for the State of Kedah, Dr Siti Hasmah has set an example of personal and professional achievement for all women in her country. Since the appointment of her husband as Prime Minister in 1981, she has used her position as the wife of the Prime Minister to campaign tirelessly for women's health, family planning, drug abuse control and adult literacy.

Often a pioneer in her profession, Dr Siti Hasmah was one of the first Malay women to enroll for a medical course at the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore after the war. In 1955 she graduated as a medical doctor from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya in Singapore and then joined the government health service. She became, in 1965, the first woman to be appointed Medical Officer in the Maternal and Child Health Department, and in 1974 she was the first woman to be appointed the State Maternal and Child Health Officer.

Dr Siti Hasmah is the author of several articles on family medicine and the socioeconomic factors associated with pregnancy and childbearing in Malaysia. She has served as President of the Malaysian Girl Guides Association, Chairwoman of the Kedah Family Planning Association, President of the Malaysian Medical Association Foundation, President of the Association for the Rehabilitation of Handicapped Children, Vice-president of the Federation of Family Planning Associations of Malaysia, Patron of the Malaysian Association of Maternal Health and Neonatal and Patron of the Malaysian Paediatric Association.

As President of BAKTI (Welfare Association of Wives of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, 1981-2003), Dr Siti Hasmah has been active in efforts to educate young people about the dangers of drug abuse. In 1985, at the invitation of First Lady Nancy Reagan, she attended the First Ladies' Conference on Drug Abuse in Washington, D C. She also represented Malaysia at the International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Vienna in 1987.

For her 23 years of public service, her voluntary work, and her leadership in the fields of public health, literacy and drug abuse control, Dr Siti Hasmah has received many honours and awards. His Majesty The Yang Di Pertuan Agong (Supreme Ruler of Malaysia) as well as Their Royal Highnesses the Sultan of Selangor and the Sultan of Kedah and Their Excellencies the Governors of the States of Sabah, Sarawak, Pulau Pinang and Melaka have bestowed titles upon her. On 31st October 2003, Dr Siti Hasmah was bestowed the distinguished Federal Award of Seri Setia Mahkota Malaysia (SSM) which carries the title of Tun. This is the first time the wife of the Prime Minister of Malaysia was awarded by the Agung the Tun ship together with the Prime Minister who was awarded the SMN (Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara) on his retirement.

Dr Siti Hasmah received Honorary Doctorate from Universities in Indiana, USA, Victoria, Canada and from the Royal College of Physician in Dublin, Ireland and Edinburgh, Scotland. In Malaysia, Dr Siti Hasmah received Honorary Doctorate from UKM, UM, USM, IMU, Uni Mas, UiTM, UIAM, UUM, UMS and UPSI from 1991 till 2004 in various fields of Medicines and Education. She was awarded the Kazue McLaren Award by the Asia Pacific Consortium for Public Health in 1988. Dr Siti Hasmah is currently the Chancellor of the Multimedia University in Cyberjaya.

Dr Siti Hasmah is also active internationally to promote the cause of rural women. In 1992, at the invitation of Her Majesty Queen Fabiola of Belgium, she attended the First Ladies Summit for the Economic Advancement of Rural Women in Geneva. She was chosen as one of the six Core-Group Initiators of First Ladies representing the Asia-Pacific Region. This summit was initiated by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) under the patronage of Queen Fabiola.

At the end of the Summit the First Ladies endorsed the Geneva Declaration on Rural Women, an instrument to formulate policies and programmes to enhance the economic advancement and welfare of rural women and their families. At the summit, Dr Siti Hasmah stressed that "with proper education and training, rural women can help raise literate and productive children who, in turn, can be positive contributors to a nation's growth and prosperity." In February 1994, Dr Siti Hasmah attended the ISC Council Meeting in Brussels at the invitation of H M Queen Fabiola.

In May 1996, at the 2nd ISC Council Meeting in Amman, Jordan hosted by Her Majesty Queen Noor Hussain, the Presidency of the ISC was handed over to Malaysia and Dr Siti Hasmah presided the 3rd ISC Conference in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

Dr Siti Hasmah is also interested in mental health. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter invited Dr Siti Hasmah to serve on the National Committee of the World Federation of Mental Health which Mrs Carter chairs. Dr Siti Hasmah hopes that this committee will focus on the problems of mental health faced by a lot of people today.

As Patron of the Pan Pacific South East Asia Women's Association, (PPSEAWA) Malaysia, Dr Siti Hasmah attended and presented keynote addresses at the Triennial Conferences in Tokyo (1984), Bangkok (1991) and Tonga (1994). In August 1997, she hosted the 20th Triennial Conference in Kuala Lumpur.

In September 1995 Dr Siti Hasmah led the Malaysian delegation to the UN Fourth World Conference on Women at Beijing where she spoke on "Equality, Development and Peace : A Caring World".

Besides accompanying her husband, then and now, on domestic and foreign travels, Dr Siti Hasmah finds the time to be with her seven children and fifteen grandchildren and to pursue her hobbies which include reading, listening to light classical music and playing badminton.

Tun Dr Mahathir's Office
April 2005

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