Degree Speeches
Summer 2003

Dr Tan Sri Dutak Ahmad Zaharudin Bin Idrus

Public Orator, Professor David Wallace, presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony in Kular Lumpar held on Sunday 24 August.

Malaysia’s tremendous economic development during the last 20 years has moved it from a mainly agrarian economy to one that thoroughly embraces modern technology and industrial enterprise.

The prosperity of the whole population has been increased through exploiting, and adding value to, the natural resources of the country. Expertise in agriculture, oil and gas production and now in high technology enterprises has been the cornerstone of this growth. Those responsible, under the direction of a visionary Prime Minister, are themselves products of this country, which is now blessed with high quality strategic leaders.

Such a person is Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ahmad Zaharudin, a graduate of Agricultural Science from the University of Malaya in 1969. He started work as a government agricultural officer and subsequently obtained both his Masters and PhD degrees from the University of Aberdeen. On his return home he served as Director General of the Department of Food Technology with the Minister of Agriculture (1974) and then as Director of Food Technology at the Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute 1975-81.

His next career move took him to the heart of the country’s Science and Technology agenda, as Secretary of the National Council of Scientific Research and Development within the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment 1981-86.

From 1986-89 he was controller of the Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia SIRIM. During this time he initiated a programme to develop techno-business incubators and Technology Park Malaysia.

He was appointed Director of Petronas Petroleum Research Institute in 1998, and Managing Director of Petronas Scientific Services in 1992 and he was a Board Member of Petronas Refineries Pte Ltd from 1989 to 1994.

As Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia from 1994 to 2001, he actively promoted the concept of technology and innovation through the establishment of the Technovation Park and the concept of Industry-University Partnerships so essential for the future prosperity of a country.

In 2001 he was appointed to be the Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, responsible to the chief secretary to the government. He is Joint Chairman of MIGHT, Malaysian Industry – Government Group for High Technology representing the public sector, the committee which is the engine room of high technology development - in areas such as: aerospace; photonics; alternative and renewable energy; pharmaceuticals; automotive; general aviation and advanced manufacturing.

Dr Zaharudin has been much honoured throughout his career. He was appointed a fellow of the Malaysian Institute of Food Technology 1980, and a Foundation Fellow of the Academy of Sciences 1995 of which he is currently President. In 1993 he received the Norway Award for outstanding contribution in the field of technology and the ASEAN achievement Award for Science in 1997. His titles of Datuk, and Tan Sri reflect the highest esteem in which he is rightly held in his own country.

Therefore Vice-Chancellor I present to you YBhg. Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ahmad Zaharudin bin Idris, expert in agriculture, oil and gas and a leading proponent of advanced technology as an essential part of future economic growth, for the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.

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