Historian, Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim was cremated at the Nirvana Memorial Park here today. NSTP File pic/ASYRAF HAMZAH

SHAH ALAM: Historian, Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim was cremated at the Nirvana Memorial Park here today.

The 82-year-old eminent academician died on Wednesday at Universiti Malaya Medical Centre due to lung failure.

Relatives and friends came to pay their respects at the Nirvana Memorial Centre in Sungai Besi over the last two days.

Khoo's remains were taken to the Nirvana Memorial Park this morning. Following final rites, he was cremated at 11.55am.

Bidding farewell was his widow Puan Sri Rathi Khoo, and their three sons Eddin, Rubin and Mavin as well as host of relatives and friends.

Khoo was one of the instrumental figures in formulating the Rukun Negara to foster national cohesion following the aftermath of the 1969 riots.

He pursued his undergraduate degree in University of Malaya, Singapore, in 1959, and subsequently obtained a master in history from the Faculty of Arts, University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur in 1967, In 1974, he became the first Malaysian to obtain a PhD for his thesis titled The Beginnings of Political Extremism in Malaya 1915-1935.

He was appointed as a lecturer in University of Malaya in 1967 after two years of tutorship and gained his professorship and appointment as the Chair of Malaysian History from 1974 up to his retirement in 1992.

He was also the first lecturer outside of Malay Studies to conduct lectures in the national language.

He served more than 50 years in University of Malaya and throughout his tenure there, he taught many current leaders of the country.

For his outstanding service, Khoo was honoured with the “Emeritus Professor” title by University of Malaya in 2001.

In April 2017, he published his autobiography titled 'I, KKK - The Autobiography of a Historian‘ where he shared his earliest memories growing up in pre-independence Malaya, all through his journey to becoming a beloved teacher among many of Malaysia's prominent figures.

He said that the book was dedicated to Malaysians for them to have insights about the country, particularly the youths.

“I want young people to know and be proud of Malaysia. Many foreigners praise Malaysia and it is something that many people don't know, Malaya was a rich country in the whole of the British empire before World War Two,” he said.

He also won the prestigious 2018 Merdeka Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement for his contribution to scholarly research, development of reinterpretation of Malaysian history and lifetime dedication in history education in the country that has shaped post-independence study of history in modern Malaysia.