PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali has been conferred the “Ibu Negara” (Mother of the Nation) award for her decades of sacrifice in support of her husband Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s nation building effort.
The accolade, a brainchild of the Asean Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli), is an award to reflect the recipient’s leadership qualities, elegance and grace, according to its chairman Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah.
At the award presentation ceremony on Wednesday night, Cheah said that Siti Hasmah had broken barriers, one of which was by becoming one of the pioneer doctors in Malaysia.
“She has also campaigned tirelessly for women’s health, family planning, drug abuse control, adult literacy and has contributed to national unity,” he said at the award presentation ceremony.
The award was presented to Siti Hasmah by Mahathir.
Cheah also told the guests that Siti Hasmah had consented to the establishment of a RM10 million scholarship fund for the creative arts and music in her name.
The scholarship will be funded by the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation in perpetuity.
In an impromptu speech after receiving the award, Siti Hasmah said in jest that seated in front of her was “the man in front of a successful woman”.
She recalled her siblings, who helped to bring her up, always thought she was a tomboy but said they would be very proud of her achievements today.
“I wish and hope we can work towards having a stable, peaceful and harmonious country for everyone,” she said.
Siti Hasmah said age was no limit to learning music because it was a universal language that could bring people together in harmony.
At the end of her speech Siti Hasmah played a tune from A Secret Garden on the violin, much to the delight of the guests.