Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Great Guy

Yesterday afternoon, I was engrossed in my work when I received a call from a friend (and distant relative). He said, “I have some bad news. Dato’ has passed away.” I was shocked for a while and even though I knew whom he was talking about, replied “Who?”

Brigadier-general Professor Dato' Dr. Ahmad Fawzi Mohd Basri passed away at 4.47pm yesterday afternoon at Hospital Selayang, Kuala Lumpur. He was buried around 11am this morning at the Muslim cemetery at Kampung Hijrah, Jitra, Kedah. He was 56.

He was also one of the hardest working people I had ever known in my life. Even though some people accused him of being too strict, I guess one needs to be if you were in a position like his.

He was the vice-chancellor of Universiti Utara Malaysia, a position he has held since Oct 2, 2001. He was also the National Service Training Council chairman.

He is the first vice-chancellor of a public university to hold the rank of brigadier-general in the Territorial Army, which he had served for 30 years. According to him, one thing he learnt from the Army, was loyalty to the organisation (UUM) and giving it the highest commitment.

Dr Ahmad Fawzi's started his academic career in 1972 as a tutor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. He joined Universiti Utara Malaysia as a lecturer in 1984. He became UUM's deputy vice-chancellor (student affairs) in 1997 and was later promoted to vice-chancellor in May 2001.

You can view his profile in the university website here (It might not be active for long).

His death really took me by surprise because he was recovering the last time I saw him. He put his full faith in me when others thought otherwise and I tried my best not to let him down. I will always be indebted to him.


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