PUTRAJAYA: Prof Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram was named the National Academic Laureate at the Education Ministry’s 12th National Academic Awards (AAN) tonight.
The economist, who is also a member of the Council of Eminent Persons, was accorded the honour in recognition of his contributions in the field of education and economy.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad presented him the award, which also came with a RM200,000 cash prize, a certificate and trophy.
Jomo was among seven academicians honoured at the event for excellence in various categories.
The others are Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Roslan Mohd Nor (Book Publication); Faizul Noorizan (Art and Creativity - Craft Cluster); Assoc Prof Dr Mawar Safei (Art and Creativity - Creative Writing); Assoc Prof Dr Wan Zuhainis (Teaching - Pure Science Cluster); Assoc Prof Dr Fauziah Abdul Rahim (Teaching - Applied Literature and Applied Social Science); and Assoc Prof Dr Juan Joon Ching (Future Academician Award).
They each received a RM50,000 cash prize plus a certificate and a trophy.
In his speech earlier, Dr Mahathir said despite being a target of criticism, the government was still proud of the achievements shown by local higher learning institutions and academicians.
“Their achievements contribute to the country’s education system and are known at international level.
“Academicians are the key people behind the development of talented future-proof graduates, who not only have a strong command of their respective fields but also have the necessary values and intelligence to face complex challenges.
“Efforts to culturalise knowledge and moral values among graduates should not only rely on impressive institutional infrastructure and facilities, there must also be academicians who understand and internalise the country’s education philosophy by fully using contemporary teaching materials and applying the latest learning and teaching modes,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said this is where the challenges lie for academicians in higher education institutions.
Among the challenges involved, he said, include juggle between their responsibilities as educators and producing academic papers; conduct high-impact researches; work on becoming the main sources of reference for their respective fields; as well as develop creative products that can be commercialised.
Also present were Dr Mahathir’s wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik and Higher Education Department director-general Datin Paduka Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir