Photo by Haidar Abu Bakar (Professional Photographer)


Allahyarham Tun Ahmad Sarji
Abdul Hamid

Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Management

Even in his absence, the aura Allahyarham Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid leaves behind in terms of his work and his persona still overwhelms you with immense respect. A man who was passionate about reading, education, work, sports, nation building and his family. He exudes a calm but commanding presence; demonstrating in his every conversation, his stature as a highly educated and knowledgeable man.

Humble Beginnings

Born on 16 September 1938 at Kampung Batu Tiga, Tapah, Perak, Allahyarham was the eldest of 8 siblings. He came from a modest background; his father encouraged him to study hard and speak English while his mother taught him religion and family values.

Growing up close to Tapah town, his home was the typical kampung home. His father built their wooden home in 1945, surrounded by fruit trees. There were no electricity or water until 14 years later. Water was filled in pails from the school nearby and carried home for his family to use. Kerosene lamps lighted the night and water from the river behind his home provided baths. Floods during rainy seasons reached as high as seven feet, which was how high his home was raised.

It was common for those living in the era when independence was being negotiated, to be encouraged to study hard so they may hold positions in the civil service in order to serve the country later.

Beside studying hard, the late Tun was also exposed to sports at a young age. He played football and cricket in the large field near his father’s district office. His father himself was the state’s hockey star.


" I hope to see a
prosperous and
developed Malaysia
where its people are
religious, morally upright,
skillful, compassionate,
corruption-free and
intensely patriotic." 

" I hope to see a
prosperous and
developed Malaysia
where its people are
religious, morally upright,
skillful, compassionate,
corruption-free and
intensely patriotic." 

A Man of Gracious and Good Character

The late Tun’s zeal to serve the country, his parents’ guidance in building good character, his humble beginnings in the small town of Tapah and his determination to continue his education to the highest level, has made him into a man of high character, a gracious soul and a well-spoken individual.

His love of reading is evident when one visits his home office. It’s like walking into a corner of an ivy league university’s library with books from wall to wall. He was also a well accomplished writer and a sportsman who later brought glory to lawn bowling as the President of the Malaysian Lawn Bowls Federation.

 A Harvard graduate with a Masters in Public Administration, he has long been revered for his soft-spoken demeanour, strong ethics, concern for his team members, interest in developing the  young, forward vision, creativity, inspiring leadership and most of all, his resilience to see through every task or project. His desire to see the country and the nation develop, to direct sights towards activities that deliver nation building goals, and his determination to ensure success in what he does; shines in every speech he gives and every meeting he chairs.

An Inspiring Leader

The late Tun retired as the Chief Secretary to the Government of Malaysia, the top most position in civil service, having led and demonstrated excellent governance structure. His leadership was so successful that he was sought after by many organisations upon retirement. He led Permodalan Nasional Berhad through another wave of success with new product launches, syariah-compliant processes, and ensuring high standards of corporate governance in order to maintain public trust. He earned many leadership roles be it in a non-profit organisation or a corporation, received numerous awards and was conferred various honorary degrees from many universities.

His visions for UNIRAZAK led the university into the new digital era, helping the university turn the pandemic fate around with an increasing enrolment rate. In fact, the university has continued its trajectory with its highest enrolment rate for 2022, thanks to his forward-thinking leadership. The late Tun Ahmad Sarji’s contributions to the nation, to the business community and to the university; his life and his achievements; demands an entire series of books.

Through this summary of his lifetime, the university hopes that it can inspire the youth of today, in particular, UNIRAZAK graduands, to seek excellence and to practise strong work ethics in whatever you do. Emulate him as much as you can and always be forward-thinking, empathetic and inspiring.

A Tribute Video for Allahyarham Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid







Empowering Dreams


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