BOT member launches a book

Front row, from left: Prof Ewe, Dato’ Hou, Prof Chuah, Tun Ling, Prof Dato’ Tan, Datin Irene Tan, Ishak Sairozi and Prof Faidz

UTAR Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre for Social and Political Studies (TCLC) organised a book launch and public lecture at 25 January 2018 at Sungai Long Campus. The book titled “Values to Bind and Build: A Reflection” was authored by YBhg Prof Dato’ Dr Tan Chong Tin.  The book is concerned with the ethnic relation and harmony in Malaysia. 

From left: Tun Ling, Prof Dato’ Tan, Dato’ Hou and Prof Chuah at the launching ceremony

Attended to this momentous occasion were UTAR Chancellor Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, Council Member Dato’ Hou Kok Chung, Prof Dato’ Tan spouse Datin Irene Tan, President Ir Prof Academician Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik, Vice President for Internationalisation and Academic Development Prof Ir Dr Ewe Hong Tat, Vice President for R&D and Commercialisation Prof Ts Dr Faidz bin Abd Rahman, Representative of Yayasan Perpaduan Malaysia Ishak Sairozi, distinguished guests, UTAR staff and students. 

Prof Chuah and Tun Ling (from left) delivering their speech

Welcoming guests at the event, Prof Chuah took the opportunity to recognise the contributions of Prof Dato’ Tan in many areas particularly in neurology, and expressed his own deep admiration for him. According to him, 2018 was a year of surprises and changes. It was the year which Malaysia showed the world that change is possible through peaceful democratic process. “The change has happened, whether one likes it or not, we must continue the momentum and move along with the changes ourselves,” he said, adding that the book was released at the right time and has provided an insightful perspective and suggestions on the important values needed to heal this nation and its people.

Tun Ling, on the other hand, shared his personal experience and the turning point that changed his career life. In his speech, he also highlighted the importance of conflict management and said, “It is crucial to understand the fact that this country is a conflict-prone society. However, the most important thing is to learn the art of conflict management.” He believed that the book has tremendous value and he encouraged the participants to read the book.

Prof Dato’ Tan elucidating the values that can bind and build a harmonious society

During the public lecture, Prof Dato’ Tan shared his thoughts on the challenges that the nation faces in cultivating ethnic harmony and the importance of every Malaysian to learn to accept and respect the differences in this multi-ethnic and multicultural society. He stated that people are often driven by emotions, and it is important to appreciate the deeper emotional needs that underlie the search for equality. He also explained the three neglected values, namely strong work ethic, openness and freedom that would determine the development of true competence and economic competitiveness.

Highlighting the importance of goodness, Prof Dato’ Tan explained that it could enhance the dignity and provide a better foundation for ethnic harmony. “Instead of emphasising the win-lose ethno-rivalry mindset, it is better to adopt a non-competitive, generous spirit where all are working together to build a better society,” he explained. He also gave examples that are fundamental to Malaysian life, where the consideration of goodness was highly relevant.

Prof Dato’ Tan was Professor and Head of Neurology at University of Malaya from 1993 to 2017. He was instrumental in building up the neurology service in the University Malaya Medical Centre to one of the best in Asia. Prof Dato’ Tan has also helped to set up many key neurology institutions in the region and has trained many neurologists in Malaysia as well as those from Myanmar. In addition, he has conducted many high impact neurological researches, written many influential articles and publications. He is best known for his efforts as the leader of the Nipah Virus Encephalitis Team who discovered and characterised the Nipah encephalitis. His team was awarded the inaugural Merdeka Award for Health Science and Technology in 2008. Prof Dato' Tan was awarded the Certificate of Excellent Service by University Malaya and the Mahathir Science Award by the Academy of Science Malaysia in 2006.

Prof Dato’ Tan is a very active community member. He is the founder and chairman of the Malaysian Neuroscience Society, ASEAN Neurological Association and editor-in-chief of Neurology Asia. He was the past president of the Centre for Malaysian Chinese Studies, chairman of the Malaysia Bible Seminary and FHL Hospice Care Malaysia. He is currently a member of the UTAR Education Foundation Board of Trustees (BOT).

Prof Chuah (right) presenting a token of appreciation to Prof Dato’ Tan