GEORGE TOWN (Bernama) – Malaysia Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad became the first person to receive the University Sains Malaysia (USM) Special Chancellor Sustainability Award at the university’s Commemorative Convocation ceremony in conjunction with its 50th anniversary yesterday.
The USM Chancellor Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail, who is also the Raja of Perlis, consented to confer the award during the ceremony.
However, Dr Mahathir could not attend the convocation ceremony yesterday.
The Prime Minister, in his speech, through video, screened at the convocation ceremony, thanked USM at being bestowed the highest award.
Dr Mahathir said he was humbled and thankful at the consent of the Raja of Perlis to confer the Special Chancellor Sustainability Award which was introduced for the first time and accepted the award with full responsibility and would uphold its honour filled with realisation and humility.
‘’Indeed, receiving the Special Chancellor Sustainability Award is very meaningful to me personally especially when it is a recognition by a university which has turned 50. Prior to this, USM had granted me an Honorary Doctorate in Science.
‘’I thank USM for considering that I am qualified to receive such prestigious and high valued awards,’’ he said.
Dr Mahathir also congratulated USM for its 50th anniversary celebration and hoped the university could reevaluate its successes and shortcomings during the period and seek a new strategy to determine its future direction.
‘’The direction should be capable of maintaining and developing the university as a driving force towards a change in mind set and education for sustainability. The direction should not remain merely as an academic thinking concept and philosophy,’’ he said.
He said that the role of a university is not merely being creative and innovative in seeking new knowledge, but also to have the capability to move alongside with society in understanding and utilising science, engineering and technology for the benefit of humanity.
According to Dr Mahathir, firm cooperation between academicians and those working outside the academic circle should be given a boost to understand the true demand of the nation in the current of modernisation and the industrial revolution era of 4.0.
He also reminded students to exit their comfort zone and change the existing knowledge culture to mound more mature and critical thinking.
Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin also consented to confer the Honorary Doctorate of Sports Science to national sport figure Datuk Nicol Ann David, Honorary Doctorate of Science to the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014 Professor Shuji Nakamura and the Honorary Master’s Degree Award in Public Administration to USM’s first female registrar Datuk Siti Mazenah Saad.