Academic giant Royal Prof Ungku Aziz dies at 98

Royal Professor Ungku Abdul Aziz Abdul Hamid died at 98 of old age December 15, 2020. — Bernama pic
Royal Professor Ungku Abdul Aziz Abdul Hamid died at 98 of old age December 15, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — Royal Professor Ungku Abdul Aziz Abdul Hamid, the first Malaysian appointed as the vice-chancellor of University of Malaya and its longest-serving, has died today at 98 of old age.

Ungku Aziz, who was also the father of former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar, was earlier admitted to Prince Court Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4.30pm today.

Astro Awani quoted the late academic’s wife, Rohayah Ahmad Bahiran, saying that the body will be taken to Masjid At-Taqwa in Taman Tun Dr Ismail here where he will be buried tonight.

Ungku Aziz held his post at the UM between 1968 and 1988, and was awarded the title of Royal Professor in 1978 — the sole Malaysian so far to hold the title.

He had taught economics there, and was also the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and then Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Administration.

He has been bestowed numerous awards including the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France, the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure (Japan) and the Tun Abdul Razak Foundation Award (Malaysia) as well as many honorary degrees from universities worldwide.

Among his most significant contributions was the creation of Lembaga Tabung Haji, which was established to provide funds for Muslims to travel and perform their Haj.

Ungku Aziz was born on January 28, 1922 in London, England, before spending most of his childhood years in Johor Baru.

Among his alma mater were the English College in Johor Baru, Raffles College in Singapore and Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.

His previous wife and mother to Zeti, Sharifah Azah Mohammad Alsagoff, also known as Norazah Abdul Aziz, had passed away in 2012.

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