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Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Zakri Abdul Hamid was the recipient of the prestigious National Academic Laureate Award at the Education Ministry’s 13th National Academic Awards tonight. (Pics by Aizuddin Saad)

SERDANG: Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Zakri Abdul Hamid was the recipient of the prestigious National Academic Laureate Award at the Education Ministry’s 13th National Academic Awards tonight.

Zakri was accorded the honour in recognition for his contributions in the academic field.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad presented the award to him, which also came with a RM200,000 cash prize, certificate and trophy.

Zakri had served as the Science Adviser to the Prime Minister, and is a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board.

He was appointed by the United Nations as the Co-Chairman of STI Advisory Board of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Zakri, who is also a columnist with the New Straits Times, was among nine academicians honoured at the event for excellence in various categories.

Other award recipients included Assoc. Prof Dr Oon Chern Ein of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), who was named the recipient of the Promising Academician Award.

Prof Dr Lai Oi Ming of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Dr Shahreza Md Sheriff of Universiti Malaysia Terengganu were the recipients of the Innovation and Products Commercialisation Award and Teaching Award, respectively.

The Arts and Creativity Award went to Dr Ang Mei Foong of UPM (Performing Arts Cluster), Assoc Prof Jalaini Abu Hassan of Universiti Teknologi MARA (Visual Arts Cluster) and Assoc Prof Dr Kamariah Kamarudin, who is also from UPM (Creative Writing Cluster).

The two recipients of Journal Literature Publication Award (Anugerah Penerbitan Makalah Journal) are Prof Datuk Dr Abdul Khalil H P Shawkataly of USM (Science field) and Prof Dr Sherina Mohd Sidik (Literature and Social Science field) of UPM.

They each received a RM50,000 cash prize together with a certificate and a trophy.

Present were Dr Mahathir’s wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching and Higher Education Department director-general Datuk Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir.

Earlier in his speech, Dr Mahathir said rapid development in the higher education landscape brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution requires academicians to adapt and keep abreast with such changes.

He said this was to ensure the knowledge acquired by the students remain relevant and that their talents match meet the demands of the industry.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution has made the role of academicians become more challenging.

“The presence of what is known as disruptive technology demands academicians to be prepared to face new challenges as well as embracing new developments to remain relevant,” he said.

Teo, meanwhile, said the ministry is committed towards empowering higher education institutions in the country in line with the three core objectives of the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.

She said this would be achieved by upholding the principles of autonomy-plus-accountability, lifelong learning, strengthening of governance, research, innovation as well as inclusive education and flexibility.

“Collaborations between higher education institutions and industries are equally important in order to formulate joint ownership modules such as Two University Two Industries (2u2i), apprenticeships and teaching factory as well as competency centre.

“This collaboration will enable the ministry to transform the country’s higher education landscape as the nation is in the process of embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The advancement in technology has also changed the role of academicians, transforming them into curators of knowledge alongside the university students,” she said.

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