KUALA LUMPUR: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V was proclaimed as the Chancellor of the National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM) at the university’s 8th convocation ceremony here today.
At the ceremony, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh presented the instrument of appointment while His Majesty received the UPNM mace fashioned after the Zulfakar sword from the university’s vice-chancellor General Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin.
Zulfiqar is the name of the legendary sword of Ali ibn Abi Talib which is said to have been given to him by Prophet Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad gave this sword to his son-in-law Ali in the Battle of Uhud.
Also present was UPNM pro-chancellor Tunku Puteri Intan Shafinaz Tuanku Abdul Halim.
Sultan Muhammad V then conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Strategic Studies and International Relations to Brigadier General (Rtd) Datuk Abdul Latif Ahmad.
Abdul Latif’s biggest contribution to the Malaysian Armed Forces was during the rescue mission by 113 members of the Malaysian battalion in Somalia to rescue United States rangers surrounded by militants on Oct 3 and 4, 1993. The episode later was made into a film titled “Black Hawk Down”.
Abdul Latif was then commander of MALBATT 1 battalion which served under the United Nations (UN) peace-keeping force in Somalia.
Abdul Latif’s last post before retiring on March 8, 1997 was brigadier general of the First infantry Division.
Meanwhile, in his speech Sultan Muhammad V reminded UPNM staff of their responsibilities in determining the future and continuing the achievements of the university.
“The glorious legacy of UPNM must be maintained and strengthened for the institution to remain relevant in changing times,” he said.
The King also presented doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees to 116 graduates.
At the event, 29 outstanding students received special awards from Sultan Muhammad V, among them Nor Syamira Mohd Firdaus and N.Thachnatharen who received the Royal Education Award, Noor Fazliena Baharin (Chancellor’s Gold Medal) and Intan Noor Suhada Saari (Vice-Chancellor’s Gold Medal). - Bernama