Bachelor of Medicine graduate Wahida Khalid (centre) is congratulated by her parents Omai Kalsom Saad and Khalid Abdullah (left) after the convocation ceremony in UKM. -NSTP/Saifullizan Tamadi

BANGI: Disability is not a hindrance to succeed for two Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) graduates who received their scrolls at the varsity’s main campus in Bangi, Selangor today.

PhD in Environment and Development graduate Dr Mohd Khairi Ismail, 31, who has a physical disability, has defied the odds to achieve his tremendous academic success.

“When I was born, my parents were told that I would not live long. I only started walking at the age of 3, and I could not read until I was 8. But now I am here, with my parents’ blessings,” said Mohd Khairi.

Dr Mohd Khairi Ismail gestures during the convocation ceremony. -NSTP/Saifullizan Tamadi

Meanwhile, Bachelor of Medicine graduate Wahida Khalid, 25, was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation last year after completing her fourth year of med school. She became paralysed.

“It was difficult at first, but I took the challenges in stride. I discussed with my deputy dean and lecturers how to complete my studies while being wheelchair bound, and they helped me a lot,” said Wahida.

Mohd Khairi and Wahida are among 7,655 graduates who will receive their scrolls at UKM’s 47th Convocation Ceremony, which will run from today until Nov 5.

Having worked at UKM for 28 years, Dr Zulkifli Amat, 57, has never missed being on duty at the annual convocation ceremony. But this year, he attended the ceremony as a graduate.

Dr Zulkifli Amat shares a light moment with his daughter Nazatul Husna Zulkafli during the ceremony. - NSTP/Saifullizan Tamadi

It was double the joy for the Doctorate in Business Administration graduate, as he donned the mortarboard on the same day as his daughter, Nazatul Husna Zulkafli, 25, who graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration.

“Firstly, I am thankful to God, as not only did I complete my doctorate, but I also get to celebrate it with my daughter. I am grateful to my wife and children as well as UKM for always supporting me in my PhD journey,” said Zulkifli.

UKM Chancellor Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negri Sembilan, Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir, chaired the first session of the ceremony.

In his speech, Tunku Mukhriz said that the awards given out recognise the exemplary excellence nurtured by UKM, which has produced quality graduates in both academic performance and character.

“The university serves as an open platform for exploration and development in various fields of knowledge. However, academic freedom has to be based on truth, scholarship and high integrity as in the end, academic honour will determine the peace and prosperity of the society,” he said.

UKM Chancellor Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negri Sembilan, Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir delivers his speech during the 47th UKM convocation ceremony in Bangi. - NSTP/Saifullizan Tamadi

UKM also introduced its inaugural Doctorate Gold Award, which was given to Dr Kassim Bahali from the Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation, and Dr Abdullah Amru Indera Luthfi from the Engineering and Built Environment Faculty.

UKM vice chancellor Professor Ir Dr Mohd Hamdi Shukor said: “In line with UKM’s stature as a research university, we are introducing this award as recognition of our PhD graduates’ excellence.

“UKM is at the 160th position in the QS World University Rankings 2020, and at the 41st place in the QS Asia University Ranking, placing us in the top 1 per cent of the best universities in the world. This makes Malaysia one of the countries of choice for higher education.”

The prestigious Anugerah Pelajaran Diraja were conferred on Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences graduate Farahana Mohamed, 27; and Bachelor of Law graduate, Nalina Santhiran, 23.

The Vice-Chancellor's Award was given to Bachelor of Islamic Studies (Arabic Studies and Islamic Civilisation) graduate Muhammad Alif Fitri Abdul Halim, 23. Meanwhile, Bachelor of Dentistry graduate Joshua Peh Jian Ren, 24, received the Tun Razak Award.