UTAR awards honorary doctorate to ex-Indonesian president Megawati

Megawati (right) receiving her honorary doctorate from Dr Ting during the conferment ceremony at UTAR Sungai Long campus on Monday. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

KAJANG: Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) has conferred an honorary Doctor of Social Science on former Indonesian president Prof Dr Megawati Soekarnoputri.

This was the first honorary doctorate in social science to be awarded by the varsity.

She received the honorary doctorate from UTAR council chairman Tan Sri Dr Ting Chew Peh on Monday (Oct 2).

The conferment was in recognition of Megawati’s exceptional achievements, visionary leadership, and tireless dedication to advancing social and political discourse in Indonesia and beyond.

In his speech, UTAR president Prof Datuk Dr Ewe Hong Tat said Megawati had helped to promote regional peace and growth, and strengthened bilateral relations between Malaysia and Indonesia.

"Under her administration, Indonesia supported the Asean Declaration on Joint Action in 2001 to counter terrorism and signed a memorandum of understanding on providing natural gas to Malaysia, and creating a consortium to boost rubber prices in the international market," he said at the conferment ceremony held at UTAR Sungai Long campus here.

He added that Megawati had set a true example for women by overcoming norms and perceptions, and by engaging herself actively in pursuit of civil service.

Expressing her appreciation for the honorary doctorate, Megawati said not only was UTAR's name well-known in Malaysia and Indonesia, but its intellectual tradition had been recognised globally.

"This is inseparable from the pioneering of Tunku Abdul Rahman as one of the founding fathers of Malaysia," she said.

She added that the award not only carried academic responsibility, but also responsibility for a better future of the earth and humanity.

Megawati, who is the daughter of Indonesia's first president Sukarno, served as the fifth president of Indonesia from 2001 to 2004.

She is the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman, and the chair of the steering committee of Indonesia’s National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN).

Among Megawati's entourage at the ceremony were Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia Hermono and Indonesia’s House Speaker Puan Maharani, who is also Megawati’s daughter.

Also present to witness the ceremony were Higher Education director-general Prof Dr Azlinda Azman, UTAR chancellor Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and his wife Toh Puan Ena Ling, UTAR council members Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, Tan Sri Dr Fong Chan Onn, Tan Sri Chor Chee Heung, Datuk Lim Si Cheng, Emeritus Prof Tan Sri Dr Chuah Hean Teik, Hew Fen Yee, and Datuk Lee Leck Cheng, who is also board of trustees member, as well as another board of trustees member Datuk Seri Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan.

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