Deputy Minister of Federal Territories Datuk Seri Dr Edmund Santhara – Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons) 1992 – had his first taste of politics when he campaigned to be voted student representative at UKM.
“I ran as an independent for the post of student representative for Kamsis E. The campaign boosted my self-esteem and I gained the confidence to speak Bahasa Melayu,” recalled the Malaysian MP for Segamat. “I lost, but I was appointed senator anyway. I also learned leadership qualities and what it was like to be part of a team.”
Studying in UKM was quite the experience, he remembered, and those formative years laid the foundation for his ventures in business and politics. It was also at university that he met his wife.
“I was from Johor Bahru and I stayed at Kamsis E (Ibrahim Yaakub) and Kamsis Dato Onn 2. I was part of the debate team that was champion in 1991 and runner-up in 1992. I was also active in chess tournaments,” said Santhara, a second upper honours student who finished his four-year course in three-and-a-half.
“When I feel things are wrong, I dare to say no and make my own decisions,” said Santhara, who was thrust into the limelight when he toppled former MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam for the Segamat seat in the 2018 general elections. Santhara was also the former CEO of Masterskill Education Group Berhad.
He said his lecturers, Prof Dr Nik Rahimah Yaakub and Prof Proom Proomwichit, played an important role in moulding him to become who and what he is today.