AN ICONIC moment in the history of Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) was replayed when family members of the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and Tun Tan Siew Sin planted two trees.
Over 40 years earlier, Malaysia’s founding father had planted a tree on the campus of TAR UC in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur, as a symbolic gesture.
The present day tree-planting ceremony by their descendants was to commemorate the gesture and contribution of the late Tunku and Siew Sin, the two most important and significant leaders in the history of TAR UC.
Siew Sin, who served as Malaysia’s second Finance Minister, proposed the setting up of TAR UC and was also its first president.
Rain trees were chosen to commemorate the occasion and planted outside TAR UC’s administrative building named after Siew Sin.
Representing Tunku’s family was grandson and granddaughter, Tunku Muinuddin Putra Tunku Ahmad Nerang and Datin Seri Sharifah Menyalara Hussein, respectively.
“Tunku would have been so proud to know that the college has come so far...going beyond its 50th year milestone, with many great achievements in fulfilling his promise to educate young Malaysians, ” said Tunku Muinuddin.
“May TAR UC continue to grow by leaps and bounds and achieve much more success.
“It is a shame that this pandemic has prevented a few more of our family members like my father and my auntie (Tunku Datuk Paduka Khadijah) from being here, ” he added.
Meanwhile, representing the late Siew Sin’s family were his daughters Tan Siok Eng, Datin Paduka Tan Siok Choo and Tan Siok Lee.
“TAR UC is special to our family because it is an institution initiated by our late father to provide affordable education to all Malaysians, ” said Siok Choo.
She recalled that her father would always emphasise that a country’s wealth was not its land mass, skyscrapers and natural resources, but its people.
“Educating Malaysians is a twofold challenge: Firstly, the education provided must be of international standard so that Malaysians are employable in this country and worldwide.
“Secondly, education from primary school to university level must be affordable to all, particularly to families who are not high income earners.
“My sisters and I are pleased that TAR UC has more than fulfilled both requirements, ” she said, noting that TAR UC graduates were immediately employable while some had become leaders in the corporate sector and politics.
TAR UC board of governors chairman Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the progress and success of TAR UC was owed to both the late icons.
“The newly planted trees by the family members of the two leaders will be memorable symbols of what they represent to TAR UC, namely Tun Tan Siew Sin’s noble aspirations to continue providing quality tertiary education for Malaysians, which are deeply rooted in the life of TAR UC, as well as its credibility to continue upholding the esteemed and respected name of Tunku Abdul Rahman.”
The ceremony was also attended by members of TAR UC’s board of trustees and board of governors along with its president Prof Dr Lee Sze Wei.
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