Press Release: Tunku Imran to be Chancellor of WOU

PENANG: Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar will be installed as the fourth Chancellor of Wawasan Open University during a special ceremony to be held at the main campus on 1 August.  He takes over from Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah whose tenure ended in December 2018.

The ceremony will also witness the proclamation of Dato’ Dr Lim Thuang Seng as the second Pro-Chancellor of WOU, taking over from Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

Two distinguished leaders, Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Dr Gajaraj Dhanarajan and Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Hussain, will be conferred the Honorary Doctor of Education and Honorary Doctor of Business degrees respectively.  Tan Sri Gajaraj is the founding Vice-Chancellor of WOU (2006 – 2009) and Tan Sri Rashid is the former Executive chairman of RHB Group of Companies.

Speaking at the press conference at the main campus today, the WOU Board of Governors Chairman, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, said that the university is greatly privileged to have Tunku Imran as its Chancellor.  He remarked, “The University will definitely benefit tremendously from Tunku’s illustrious leadership experience as an avid promoter and administrator of sports, at the national and international levels, a passionate developer of education and a successful entrepreneur.”

Tan Sri Dr Koh said the Chancellor will carry out a number of important duties for WOU, such as raising the University’s profile and advancing its interests, both nationally and internationally, as well as conferring degrees and other academic awards at University ceremonies.

“WOU is an extraordinary not-for-profit private university known for its mission to serve the public good.  It is a place where students receive an excellent, holistic education that prepares them for life and for careers in the 21st Century.  WOU is indeed honoured to have Tunku Imran as our ambassador to the outside world, linking the University with businesses and international partners in the best way possible.” 

Tunku Imran, born in 1948, is the third child of Tuanku Ja’afar, the tenth Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia and the tenth Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan.  Malaysia’s first king, Tuanku Abdul Rahman was his grandfather.

Tunku Imran’s leadership in sports has been long and most outstanding, having led the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), the Malaysian Cricket Association and the Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia for many years; elected and served as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member, as the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, SEA Games Federation and World Squash Federation, as well as the Vice-President of the Asian Cricket Council, amongst many others.

In education, he is a founder of the prestigious Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar, launched in 1989, serving on its boards of trustees and governors, and as the Chairman of its Development Committee.  In business, he founded and led the Antah Group of Companies, a large conglomerate with diverse interests and was the former Chairman of Lafarge Malaysia Berhad, which is Malaysia’s biggest cement company. Currently, he leads Syarikat Pesaka Antah Sdn Bhd and is the Chairman of Yayasan Sime Darby.

WOU’s new Pro-Chancellor, Dato’ Dr Lim, studied at Chung Ling High School in Penang before pursuing his tertiary studies in the United States, where he obtained a PhD degree in immunology from the University of Oklahoma.  He served for more than 13 years as a medical researcher, and is currently the managing director of holding companies in Kuala Lumpur.

Dato’ Dr Lim was a former Selangor State Executive Councillor for the Health, Tourism and Consumer Affairs portfolio, and the State Assemblyman for Bukit Gasing from 1999 to 2008.  A Central Committee member of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (PGRM) since 1987, he is currently the Chairman of the party’s Immoveable Properties Committee. 

Tan Sri Dr Koh also spoke of the enormous contributions of the two Honorary Degree recipients to their respective fields of education and the financial services. 

“Tan Sri Gajaraj is a principled leader with a steely determination to fight for social justice in the field of education,” said Tan Sri Dr Koh, highlighting that he devoted 14 years of his life to help establish WOU and drive its growth, first as the planner, then as the Founding Vice-Chancellor and finally as the Chairman of the Board of Governors before retiring in 2017.  He had also helped to establish and lead the Open University of Hong Kong, served as the CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning, and contributed to the development of distance education systems in 25 developing countries. 

Tan Sri Dr Koh commended Tan Sri Rashid for his entrepreneurship and philanthropy.  Under his stewardship, the RHB Group “had enjoyed tremendous growth and success”.  He is currently the Executive Chairman of Arah Advisory Services Sdn Bhd, a company which he owns.  He also plays an active role in higher education. A member of the Board of Governors of the International Islamic University Malaysia, he also serves as the Chairman of the Prime Minister of Malaysia’s Fellowship Exchange Foundation that aims to promote education and encourage learning in all fields.

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