Monday, 17 January 2011

36. Dr Abdul Wahab bin Mohamed Ariff (1919-2006)

Dr Abdul Wahab bin Mohamed Ariff (1919-2006)

Date of birth: 24 December 1919
Place of birth: Georgetown, Penang
Date of demise: 9 March 2006
Place of death: At home in Tanjung Bungah, Penang

Notes from the author:
Please refer to my book, Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore, pages 262-276, for his full biography.

Government Service

  • 1950 - entered government service
  • 1950-58 - MO Penang, MO Butterworth, MO Perlis (Kangar), MO Kuala Pilah
  • 1954 - got rid of gastroenteritis epidemic
  • 1953-55 - CMHO Perlis; established Snake Unit in Perlis
  • 1955 - his snake venom research was published in BMJ
  • 28 Feb 1956 - Straits Echo Times of Malaya published about snake poisoning
  • 1955-1957 - CMHO Kuala Pilah (separate male & female hospitals)
  • 1957 - CMHO Penang; riots in Penang on New Year's Day
  • 1955 - recipient of Queen's Fellowship in Public Health, Child Health, and Midwifery
  • 1957 - left Malaya to go to England for MRCPE and DCH
  • 5 Jan 1957 - April 1959 - U of London, London Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene, and Rotunda Hospital in Dublin
  • Returned to Ministry of Health, Malaya
  • April 1959 - April 1960 - CMHO Terengganu
  • 15 April 1960 - 1963 - Head of Medical and Health Services in Brunei
  • 1963 - Brunei Legislative Council
  • 1964 - CMHO Kelantan
  • 1967 - CMHO Pahang
  • 1968 - CMHO Penang, attended a display, "A History of Medicine in Pictures" (below). Dr Abdul Wahab Mohd Ariff and wife knew Dr MJ Che Lah and wife.

Top photo, from left: Dr Abdul Wahab bin Mohd Ariff (CMHO Penang 1968), man who?, Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos (holding camera), Datin Intan bte Haji Mustapha (wife of Dr Abdul Wahab) and a nurse/matron at rear.

Bottom photo: Display on "A History of Medicine in Pictures" 1968. Could be at General Hospital Penang. The sign on the wall at left says "Blood Transfusion, Maternal & Child Health," etc. The man in turban could be Dr Lakbir Chall Singh of the Rural Clinic in Penang? Both photos are from the collection of Dr MJ Che Lah.

  • 1969 - CMHO Johor
  • 1970 - CMHO Kuala Lumpur
  • 1970 - 1973(?) - Director of Health Services, Director of Planning and Development at MOH Malaysia
  • 1973 - 1974 - Deputy Director-General of Health Malaysia (Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail was 2nd DG)
  • 24 December 1974 - Retired at age 55 years

Post Retirement

  • 1975 - 1978 - Acting VC UKM, first Professor of Social and Preventive Medicine at UKM, HOD Social and Preventive Medicine (now Community Health)
  • 1 June 1975 - May 1978 - second Dean, Faculty of Medicine at UKM
  • May 1978 - Retired at age 59 years


  1. Father - Mohd Ariff bin Ghouse , worked at Finance Dept in Penang Municipal Council, passed away when Abdul Wahab was 18 months old (infant) in 1921.
  2. Mother - Sharifah Aminah bt Syed Mohamed @ Mak Kechik, housewife, passed away at age 72 in Kelantan in 1964 when Dr Abdul Wahab was CMHO Kelantan.
  3. Sibs - 3 brothers: Mohamed (family in Penang), Abu Bakar (family in Kuala Lumpur), and Dr Abdul Wahab (youngest, family in Penang). All 3 brothers are deceased.

Unions - married twice

  1. Sona Baboo: 1 son and 2 daughters: Ahmad Fathil (deceased 1 March 1964), Siti Rohani (deceased in 2013), and Nazli Hanoum.
  2. Datin Intan bte Haji Mustapha (married 1952, Tanjong Bungah; deceased): 1 son: Dato' Mohzani bin Dr Abdul Wahab. Datin Intan was 83 in 2013, 84 in 2014, 85 in 2015, is 86 in 2016.

Dr Abdul Wahab passed away at home in Tanjong Bungah on 9 March 2006, aged 86.

The title of Dr Abdul Wahab's book is given on page 199 of my book, Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore.

The title of his book is "Medical Students during the Japanese Invasion of Singapore, 1941-1942," published in 1987.

Book link

The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 13 February 1930, Page 12

Muslim Scholarships

Muslim Students' Aid Society Scholarship
- by Muslim Students' Aid Society of Singapore
- for Muslim boys attending English schools in the colony
- 5 scholarships of $120 per annum
  3 for Singapore, 1 for Penang and 1 for Malacca
- need Principal's recommendation
- write to Mr. M. S. Marican, secretary of Society
- office address: No. 4, Raffles Place, Singapore

M. S. E. Angullia Scholarship
- from Wakaf Estate of Mr. M. S. E. Angullia, father of
  Mr. A. M. S. Angullia, J.P. of Robinson Road
- awarded alternately to a Muslim boy at Raffles Institution
  and at King Edward VII College of Medicine
- for 2 years

Penang Mohamedan and Hindu Endowments Board Scholarships
- from funds of Captain Kling Mosque
- must be permanent residents of Penang
- for poor orphans

A List of scholarships to and from English schools and Colleges
in the Straits Settlements
- issued by Education Department, Government scholarships for Malay boys
- annual
- 3 for Singapore, 10 for Penang, 10 for Malacca
- $6 a month for Singapore and Penang
- $10 a month for Malacca


Anonymous said...

Salam Prof,

He was married to Sona Jan, daughter of Dr.SM Baboo for a short while before the marriage ended in a divorce. One son died in an accident if my memory serves me right. He then married a chinese nurse and his final years were spent in a bungalow in Tanjung Bungah. He was given a scholarship by the Masjid Kapitan Keling fund or a Muslim Endowment Fund to study medicine. A true first class gentleman whom i have had the honour of meeting personally over dinner some 25 years ago with his chinese wife at Gurney Drive together with the son of son in law of Shakerei Rawther, one of the richest man in Penang during the pre war days.

September 6 7.53 pm

Prof Faridah said...


TQ for writing in. I have not met any of the persons mentioned. I have only spoken to Datin Mariam on the phone. I have visited Masjid Kapitan Keling in Penang. What business was Shakerei Rawther into?

Anonymous said...

Salam Prof.

Shakerei Rawther was in the shipping business...known locally as the tongkang business. He was in the same league as R.E. Mohamed Kassim who used to own a big bungalow in Kelawei. Shakerei Rawther used to stay in a 3 storey bungalow in Irving Road. He was also a Justice of Peace. The CAP President MR.S.M.
Idris should be able to tell u more about Shakerei Rawther as their families know one another and was in the same trade.

September 9 3.59 AM

Prof Faridah said...


TQ for your info on Shakerei Rawther. Where are his family members today? He was also at Al-Mashoor school when the Raja of Kelantan (HH Tengku Ibrahim) visited the school on 1 May 1931. An early doctor involved at the time of the visit was (Sir) Dr KM Ariff. I have not had the opportunity to meet CAP President, Mr SM Idris but I have heard about him. I have not heard about RE Mohamed Kassim. There was a steel trunk on display at the Cheng Ho Expo in Kota Bharu, Kelantan on 21-26 Nov 2010, that had the name Mahomed Cassim. There is also a Captain Kassim who runs a shipping business in modern Singapore today.

Anonymous said...

Salam Prof.
It wud be great if u cud make an appointment to meet or speak with Mr SM Idris. His younger brother is the famous lawyer Mr. Mohideen Abdul Kader who stays somewhere in Bukit Pemanchar now. The late Tuan Haji HAR Mohd Mastan (who bears a striking resemblance to Mr SM Idris) was married to the brother in law of Shakerei Rawther. Mr. Mastan used to own and manage an antique and second hand furniture shop in Kampong Kolam..within the heritage trail area in Georgetown. His son Mustakim Mastan is still around but he too has retired from the family business. He should be able to shed more light on the names of all these once famous individuals that we have mentioned. There were a few Mohamed Kassim during the pre war days and also during the post 1786 era when the Francis Light founded Penang. It is a popular Indian Muslim name in respect of Mohamed Bin Qasim who brought Islam to India if i am correct. The Al Mashoor was the most popular and influential Arabic school in Malaysia at one time and was set up by some Arab families..among the pioneers that i cud remember was Sheikh Hussein Bakar Rafee whose brother Sheikh Mahmood Bakar Rafee was a former principal of Kolej Ugama Zainal Abidan KUZA in Terengganu. Another brother was Sheikh Sulaiman Bakar Rafee who is the father of Tan Sri Khalid Ahmad and Datuk Yasmin Sulaiman the Medical Director of Penang Hospital. Another principal and former teacher of Al Mashoor is the late Sheikh Ahmad Bajunaid the former imam of Masjid Kelawei. Among his sons are Dato Prof Sheikh Inrahim Bajunaid and Prof Sheikh Omar Farouk Bajunid who is now in Japan married to a japanese lady. Even the late Tan Sri P.Ramlee studied at Al mashoor besides studying at PFS.Since u r now in kelantan may i ask u was there a Dr.Aziz once in Kota Bharu because if my memory serves me right he was originaly from Penang. Salam.

September 9 10.52 PM

Prof Faridah said...


TQ for writing again. I still don't have your name or ID. I don't know most of the names mentioned except 2. I met with Datuk Yasmin Sulaiman at Penang GH and wrote a post in this blog about my visit there. She was interested in what I was researching on. I will have to ask her again. Yes, there was Dr Abdul Aziz in Kelantan when I grew up here. At the time his clinic was still operating in front of the bus station in KB. I have written Dr Abdul Aziz's biography in my 2 books on the early Malay doctors. He was originally from Penang. One doctor in KL informed me that Dr Abdul Aziz, Dr SM Baboo, and Dr MJ Che Lah were very close. I was also informed that the Malay doctors' families were related somewhat by marriage. I am one of Dr MJ Che Lah's grand-daughters. Salam.

Prof Faridah said...

I have visited the residence of arwah Dr Abdul Aziz bin Omar at 3955 Jalan Telipot on 17 March 2018. The house is hidden from view from the main road by garden trees and from Google Earth. It is in front of Grace Garden. I met his daughter, Hjh Rashidah and her husband Hj Shamshuddin, and interviewed them about Dr Abdul Aziz.

Anonymous said...

Dear Prof,

I would like to inform you that the housemaid of Dato Seri Paduka Dr. Abdul Wahab at Tanjong Bungah's house who is starting to clearing off and throwing out all of the Dato Seri Paduka Dr.Abdul Wahab's possessions.This is very disguisting jobs.Can you please try to inform his relatives regarding about these matters.