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Tun Siti Hasmah Professorial Chair

A prestigious Professorial Chair in Malaysia

Persatuan Siswazah Wanita Malaysia (PSWM) had taken the initiative to establish an endowment chair, Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali Professorial Chair at the Universiti of Malaya. Dr Siti Hasmah’s name was chosen as a sign of respect and honuor towards the academician who has contributed so much to the nation, especially concerning the matters of women and children. The naming of the chair is also to convey the utmost gratitude for Dr Siti Hasmah’s patronage of the organization.

The Professorial Chair was created in order to honor the contribution and the triumphs of Malaysian women in education and research, particularly in science and technology while simultaneously giving a boost of encouragement. This effort is deemed necessary towards the rapid growth of the academic world especially in science and technology, consistent with the country’s goal in reaching Vision 2020.

In the year 1996, the Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali Professorial Chair project was first launched along with the formation of Tabung Dasiswa PSWM. Owing to the generous contributions from various sources, the professorial chair was successfully established in University of Malaya due to its status as the first university to be founded in the country.

The first Professorial Chair, Prof Dr Halijah Ibrahim, B.Sc (UM), PhD (Newcastle, UK), was inaugurated in 26th August 2003. The research conducted was entitled “Biodiversity Studies and Bioprospecting of Zingiberaceae Species for Selected Medicinal Properties”.

The second Professorial Chair, Prof Dr Nik Meriam Nik Sulaiman, BE, MappSc (NSW), PhD (Birm). She was inaugurated on 15th August 2010 with the research title of “Transforming Sustainability Into Action-The Case For Malaysian Process Industry”.

The third Professorial Chair, Prof  Dr Noor Hayaty Binti Abu Kasim BDS (Malaya), MSc (London), PhD (Newcastle), was inaugurated on 20th November 2015 with a research work entitled “Assistive Technology for Independent Living and Active Ageing”. Prof Hayaty is currently a professor at the Department of Restorative Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya.

Professor Dr Noor Hayaty Abu Kassim
BDS (Malaya), MSc (London), PhD (Newcastle)
3rd  Tun Siti Hasmah Professorial Chair

Dr Noor Hayaty is a Professor at the Department of Restorative Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya. She has 26 years of experience in a variety of research, teaching, management and leadership roles at the University of Malaya. She is currently the Dean of Wellness Research Cluster (WRC), where she facilitates an interdisciplinary network of researchers involved in a broad range of research and innovation.

Her research interests include biomaterials, regenerative medicine, clinical dentistry and ageing. Her experience in biomaterials, regenerative medicine, clinical dentistry were the foundation for her involvement in ageing research. At WRC, she spearheads the ‘Active Ageing Grand Challenge Programme’ under which specific areas such as ‘Independent Living, were established to promote the concept of active ageing in Malaysia. She is currently leading a research project entitled ‘Dental Care Pathway for Geriatric Population in Selected ASEAN Countries’ where her team is working closely with the Oral Health Division, Ministry of Health to improve the quality of care for older people. Together with collaborators from the Faculty of Computer Science, she is also interested to create supportive environment that could contribute to the quality of life and better living for elderly population by employing assistive technologies.

She is the past-president of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), Southeast Asian Division and she has contributed towards promoting dental research through IADR Regional Development Program in countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Beyond ASEAN, she is working very closely with collaborators around the globe. Among her recent research works are with the team from Oxford University, John Radcliffe Hospital and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


About Tun Siti Hasmah

Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah binti Haji Mohamad Ali is the wife of the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. She served as wife of the Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years from 1981–2003.  She was born in Klang, Selangor on 12 July 1926. She was one of the first Malay women to enroll for a medical course at the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore.

In 1955, she graduated as a medical doctor from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, which was then located in Singapore. She subsequently joined the government health service. She was one of the first Malay woman doctors in then Malaya. She married Mahathir in August the following year. In the 1960s, she attended a public health certificate program in the University of Michigan.
Ten years later, she became 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.

Tun Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali & Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya

Many are not aware that Tun Dr Siti Hasmah had once taught at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya. During the inauguration of this chair, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah recalled her time at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya.

“...when Dato Sri Dr Mahathir Mohamad became the Prime Minister, I  decided to retire from my work in order to support my husband in performing his duties. Earlier on, I had to take leave whenever I needed to accompany him on official trips. So I thought that it would not be fair to my organization if I continued to take leave. I then retired from my job. However, after a while I became bored and asked Dr Mahathir if I could teach part time at Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya... That’s how the story started’’. She continued with all the nostalgic memories during her time at the Dental Faculty.

About Persatuan Siswazah Wanita Malaysia (PSWM)

25 female graduates from different academic background, who felt it was their calling to contribute towards the nation, founded Persatuan Siswazah Wanita Malaysia (PSWM) on 14th March 1979.

The effort to establish the organization was spearheaded by the first President, (the late) Dato’ Dr Noor Laily Dato’ Abu Bakar, who held the presidential post until 1987. Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Asiah Abu Samah later took over the position until the year 2005 when Datin Fauziah Hj Mohd Ramly was chosen as the third President.

The patron of PSWM is Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Hj Mohd Ali and the advisors of PSWM are Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Puan Sri Nila Inangda Manyam Keumala, Tan Sri Dato Dr Asiah Abu Samah dan Prof Emeritus Datuk Nik Safiah Karim.


Last Update: 09/12/2021