Nobel Prize Domination

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Abdullah Badawi

Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah

One of the first Malay woman doctors in Malaysia and the first woman to be appointed a Medical Officer in government service for the State of Kedah, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah bt Mohd Ali has set an example of personal and professional achievement for all women in her country. Since the appointment of her husband as Prime Minister in 1981, she has used her position as the wife of the Prime Minister to campaign tirelessly for women's health, family planning, drug abuse control and adult literacy.

Often a pioneer in her profession, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah was one of the first Malay women to enroll for a medical course at the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore after the war.

In 1955 she graduated as a medical doctor from the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya, in Singapore and then joined the government health service. Ten years later, she became the first woman to be appointed Medical Officer in the Maternal and Child Health Department, and in 1974, she was the first woman to be appointed the State Maternal and Child Health Officer. Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah is the author of several articles on family medicine and the socioeconomic factors associated with pregnancy and childbearing in Malaysia. She has served in various positions as follows:

President of the Malaysian Girl Guides Association Chairman of the Kedah Family Planning Association President of the Malaysian Medical Association Foundation President of the Association for the Rehabilitation of Handicapped Children Vice President of the Federation of Family Planning Associations of Malaysia Patron of the Malaysian Association of Maternal Health and Neonate Patron of the Malaysian Pediatric Association

As President of BAKTI (Welfare Club of the Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers), Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah has been active in efforts to educate young people about the dangers of drug abuse. In 1985, at the invitation of First Lady Nancy Reagan, she attended the First Ladies' Conference on Drug Abuse in Washington, D.C. She also represented Malaysia at the International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Vienna in 1987.

For her 23 years of public service, her voluntary work, and her leadership in the fields of public health, literacy and drug abuse control, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah has received many honours. The Yang Di Pertuan Agong, as well as the Sultan of Selangor and the Sultan of Kedah, have bestowed titles upon her.

In addition, she was awarded the Kazue McLaren Award by the Asia Pacific Consortium for Public Health in 1988 and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia conferred on her the Honorary Doctorate in Medical Science in 1991. In 1992, the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland, conferred on her the Honorary Doctorate in Public Health.

In May 1994, Indiana University, Bloomington conferred on Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, and in August the same year, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah is also active internationally in promoting the cause of rural women. In 1992, at the invitation of Queen Fabiola of Belgium, she attended the First LadiesŐ Summit for the Economic Advancement of Rural Women in Geneva. She was chosen as one of the six Core-Group Initiators of First Ladies representing the Asia-Pacific Region.

The summit was initiated by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) under the patronage of Queen Fabiola. At the end of the Summit, the First Ladies endorsed the Geneva Declaration on Rural Women, an instrument to formulate policies and programmes to enhance the economic advancement and welfare of rural women and their families.

At the summit, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah stressed the "with proper education and training, rural women can help raise literate and productive children who, in turn, can be positive contributors to a nation's growth and prosperity."

In February 1994, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah attended the ISC Council Meeting in Brussels at the invitation of Queen Fabiola. Then, in September 1995, she was appointed as Chairperson of Regional Steering Committee on the Economic Advancement of Rural and Island Women for Asia Pacific Region.

Eventually, in November 1996, she took over the presidency of the International Steering Committee for Economic Advancement of Rural and Island Women for Asia Pacific Region.

Dr. Siti Hasmah also has an interest in mental health. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter invited Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah to serve on the National Committee of the World Federation of Mental Health which Mrs Carter chaired.

As Patron of the Pan Pacific South Asia Women's Association, (PPSEAWA) Malaysia, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah attended and presented keynote addresses at the Triennial Conferences in Tokyo (1984), Bangkok (1991) and Tonga (1994).

In June 20, 1997 she was appointed as the Chancellor, Multimedia University (MMU).

Besides accompanying her husband, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, on domestic and foreign travels, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah finds the time to be with her seven children and numerous grandchildren and to pursue her hobbies and other interests