Tuesday, 18 January 2011

18. Dr Megat Khas bin Megat Omar (1908-1979)

Dr Megat Khas bin Megat Omar (1908-1979)

Date of birth: 1 April 1908
Place of birth: Istana Tallang, Kampung Tallang, Kuala Kangsar, Perak
Date of death: 21 June 1979
Place of death: Ipoh General Hospital, Ipoh, Perak
Place of burial: Muslim Cemetery at Gurap, along Jalan Kuala Kangsar, Ipoh, Perak


(1914-1918)? - Sekolah Melayu at 3 places: 1. Batu Gajah, 2. Chemor, 3. Kuala Kangsar
1919 - Malay College Kuala Kangsar
1924 - passed Senior Cambridge Examination with honours
1925 - attended Straits and Federated Malay States Government Medical School in Singapore (later renamed King Edward VII College of Medicine).
1931 - graduated with LMS in August 1931
LMS = Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery

Government Service

1932 - Assistant Medical Officer (AMO) Taiping March 1932
AMO Kuala Kangsar
AMO Teluk Anson
AMO Ipoh

1941-1945 - WW2 and Japanese occupation in Malaya
AMO Kuantan (1 year)
Medical Officer Kuala Kangsar and Department of Health (remaining years)

1945 - (post-war) - Teluk Anson (now Teluk Intan)

Postgraduate Studies

August 1947-50 - Queen's Scholar to pursue studies in England
1) Rotunda Maternity Hospital, Dublin (6 months). Obtained Licentiate of Midwifery, Rotunda (LM(ROT)) (in February 1948)?
2) Medical Faculty, Great Ormond Street, London; he was attached to the Children's Hospital. Obtained Diploma of Child Health (DCH)
3) Edinburgh University (6 months)
4) University Hospital, Gower Street. Obtained Diploma of O&G (DRCOG)
5) Health Department. Obtained Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTMH)
6) Pall Mall, near Lord Nelson Column in Trafalgar Square (2 months). Obtained MRCP in 1950. First Malay Doctor with M.R.C.P. (Member of the Royal College of Physicians based in London)

Resumed Work in Malaya

1950-57 - State Physician of Perak, stationed at Ipoh General Hospital

He retired in 1957.

Private Practice

Shifa Medical Hall, Ipoh at 2 locations: 1. Cockman Street, 2. Jalan Foo Yet Kai

Political Involvement

1946 - Founding Member of UMNO Perak
1950 - joined UMNO while in Teluk Anson
1950 - 55 - member of Perak State Executive Council
Founding fathers of Perikatan Melayu Perak, to oppose the Malayan Union and to establish a united front. He led Telok Anson Division.

Contributions to Society

Commissioner of St John Ambulance Brigade of West Malaysia
Supreme Commander of St John Ambulance, Asia Region
President Persatuan Islam Perak
Hajj Doctor; headed the Malayan Medical Mission to Makkah in 1949


4 wives: 1. Puteri Hawa, 2. Hajah Jamnah, 3. Salmah, 4. Zaiton
Son - Tan Sri Dato' Seri Haji Megat Najmuddin bin Megat Khas
Daughter - Putri Rafidah bt Megat Khas


Please refer to my book for more details - Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore (Xlibris 2012)


Newspaper articles on Dr Megat Khas

Pilgrims To Have Full Medical Care
The Straits Times, 24 August 1949, Page 9
From Our Staff Correspondent
Dr. Megat Khas of Perak has arrived in the Middle East
to lead the Malayan Medical Mission to Mecca, which will
look after the health of the pilgrims from Malaya.
The last pilgrim ship for Jeddah this year left Penang yesterday.
Assisting Dr. Megat Khas in the Mission are a grade II
hospital assistant, Che Ibrahim bin Abdul Aziz of the
General Hospital Johore, and the hospital attendant,
Che Mohamed Noor bin Samat of the District Hospital, Ipoh.
Che Ibrahim and Che Mohamed Noor left Malaya early this month
with a load of medical supplies for the needs of the pilgrims.

19. Dr Mohamed Said bin Mohamed (1907-1996)

Dr Mohamed Said bin Mohamed (1907-1996)

Date of birth: 31 October 1907
Place of birth: At home in Kampung Tengah, Linggi, Negeri Sembilan
Date of death: 22 July 1996
Place of death: -
Place of burial: -

Family Background:
Ancestry: Bugis
Customs: Adhered to Adat Temenggong
Father: Mohamed (deceased in 1912, aged 30)
Mother: Hajjah Majidah (widowed at age 26)
Position: second of 6 siblings
Raised in Linggi, Negeri Sembilan
Schooled at Sekolah Melayu Kg Linggi till Std 5
Secondary school at MCKK 1919-24; passed Senior Cambridge 1924

Undergraduate Medical Education:
Enrolled into the Straits and Federated Malay States Govt Medical School, Singapore, June 1925
Graduated from the King Edward VII College of Medicine with Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery (LMS) in March 1932

  1. Assistant Medical Officer (AMO) Taiping General Hospital 1 July 1932 (1 week)
  2. Sg Buloh Settlement July-October 1932 (3 months), under Dr Ryne (British Med Sptt)
  3. AMO Pekan District Hospital November 1932-35 (>2 years); replaced Dr Pandak Ahmad
  4. Kuala Lumpur District Hospital 1935-37 (2 years)
  5. Pekan District Hospital and Kuantan District Hospital, Pahang 1937-46 (9 years)
  6. Contributed to elephantiasis survey of Sg Pahang riverine settlements
  7. Royal physician to Sultan Sir Abu Bakar of Pahang (his former classmate at MCKK)
  8. - followed the royal family to Mentakab and Kerdau in Pahang
  9. - served the royal family in Pahang during Japanese occupation (1941-45)

Postgraduate Studies:
Won Queen's Scholarship 1941
LSHTM, University of London 1947
O&G, Rotunda Lying-in Hospital, Dublin; obtained Licentiate in Midwifery 1948
Inspired by Prof. O'Donel Browne

Resumed Work:
MO and then Clinical Specialist (O&G) 1949-55 (6 years)
Also attended to pediatric cases - gangrene in infancy and childhood
Problems of malnutrition (kwashiorkor) with high infant mortality
Published papers on malnutrition

  1. MS Mohamed (1952). Gangrene of unknown aetiology in the foot. British Medical Journal. January issue.
  2. MS Mohamed (1954). Bilateral pedal gangrene of unknown aetiology. The Medical Journal of Malaya. March issue.
  3. MS Mohamed (1955). Kwashiorkor in Negeri Sembilan. The Medical Journal of Malaya. September issue.
  4. MS Mohamed, translator (undated). In: Malay translation of Wilkinson’s Sungai Ujong
  5. MS Mohamed, translator (undated). In: A partial Malay translation of Parr and McRay’s Rembau. Published in Majallah Guru
  6. MS Mohamed, translator (undated). In: Translation of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. Unpublished.
  7. The Straits Times published ten articles of his schooldays at MCKK in 1973-74.
  8. MS Mohamed (1982). Memoirs of a Menteri Besar. Early Days. Heinemann Asia.
  9. MS Mohamed. Memoirs of a Menteri Besar. The Medical Student and the Doctor. Published (post-humously) November 2011.

Retired early at age 48 in 1955, to do private practice, and entered into politics.

Private Practice:
Private practice 1955-70s?
Initially practised at home in Hose Road
Later practised at Said Clinic, Cameron Street, Seremban (The Straits Times, 7 June 1969, p9)
Cameron Street became Jalan Dato Lee Fong Yee

Political Involvement:
  1. Political life 1959-69 (10 years)
  2. He was the first elected Menteri Besar Negeri Sembilan after Merdeka and served as Menteri Besar for two terms (1959-64 and 1964-69). 
  3. His cousins in Linggi (Za’ba  and Mohd Yusof) supported his fight for a better socio-economic status of the Malays. 
  4. He was the advisor to the Yang Di Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan despite intentions to oust him since he had observed Adat Temenggong
  5. He steadfastly refused a federal cabinet post as Health Minister under YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj.
  6. He also refused the post of Finance Minister under YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj; Tun Tan Siew Sin became the Finance Minister instead.
  7. Retired as MB in 1969

His old wooden kampung bungalow houses a kindergarten (taman asuhan kanak-kanak, TASKA) while the house itself is now a gallery. Galeri Jasa Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Mohamed Said bin Mohamed was named in his honour and was launched by his daughter (Datin Halimah) in Gedung Lalang, Ampangan, Negeri Sembilan on 18 October 2008. The launch was officiated by Tun Dato’ Seri Ahmad Sarji bin Abdul Hamid.


Pendeta Za'ba
Relationship: Cousin of Dr Mohamed Said
Tan Sri Zainal Abidin bin Ahmad @ Za’ba was born at Kg Bukit Kerdas, Batu Kikir, Negeri Sembilan on 16 September 1895. He was a renowned Malay scholar (pendeta) who was popularly known as Pendeta Za’ba. Za'ba was a Bugis and not a Minangkabau as cited in Wikipedia.

Mohd Yusof
Relationship: Cousin of Dr Mohamed Said

Captain Yusof Ahmad
Relationship: Nephew of Dr Mohamed Said. Deceased.
He was a captain at Port Swettenham (now Port Klang).

Prof. Dr Fauziah bt Abdul Aziz
Relationship: Niece of Dr Mohamed Said
Workplace: Universiti Pertahanan Negara Malaysia (UPNM)

Assoc. Prof. Dr Mustafa Fadzil bin Farid Wajidi
Relationship: Grandson of Dr Mohamed Said, son of Maznah (Dr Mohamed Said's eldest daughter)
Workplace: PPJJ, USM, Penang
USM pic

External links:

20. Dr Mohamed Salleh bin Haji Abdul Hamid

Dr Mohamed Salleh bin Haji Abdul Hamid

Date of birth: c1909/1910?
Place of birth: Johor?
Date of demise: 16 January 1960
Place of demise: Hospital Besar Johor Bahru (GH JB)
Place of burial:

Published data about Dr Mohamed Salleh:
  1. “Salleh Mohamed, LMS 1933”
  2. Dr Mohamed Salleh bin Haji Abdul Hamid
  3. He practiced in Johore 1933-1953 (18 years)
  4. Postgraduate course in England; passed D.P.H., London in Dec 1936; allowed 4 months' extension leave before returning to Johore in April 1937 (Malaya Tribune, 4 January 1937, Page 12. Untitled)
  5. Elected office-bearers of the Malay Students' Aid Association, Malaya, and the head office is at 45, Bussorah Road, Singapore. The Straits Times, 25 April 1948, Page 3. MALAY STUDENTS' AID BODY
  6. Appointed as advisers to the Johore Bahru Juvenile Court. The Straits Times, 27 January 1950, Page 7. JUVENILE COURT ADVISERS
  7. Appointed Principal Medical Officer Johore (The Straits Times, 24 Dec 1952 p6), making him the 1st Malay and 1st Malaysian Chief of Health and Medical Services in Johore.
  8. The Straits Times, 24 March 1953, Page 5. Malay gets top Johore medical job
  9. Appointed Unofficial members of the Johore Council of State for 1 year form Feb 1 1952. The Straits Times, 28 February 1952, Page 4. UNOFFICIALS APPOINTED
  10. He was Dato (Dr.) Salleh bin Haji Abdul Hamid.. Appointed official members of the Johore Executive Council till end Nov 1957. The Straits Times, 14 December 1956, Page 7. New Council officials
  11. Two doctors, Dato Dr. HBC Wallace and Dato Dr Mohd Salleh bin Haji Abdul Hamid, attended to the Sultan. The Straits Times, 25 January 1958, Page 1. Two doctors in attendance
  12. He died after being injected with penicillin. He died at GH JB. Berita Harian, 12 April 1960, Page 1. Kesan dari ubat

Author's notes:
Managed to text his daughter, Habibah Salleh on Facebook (22 May 2018).

21. Dr Awang bin Hassan (1910-1998)

Dr Awang bin Hassan (1910-1998)

Date of birth: 9 November 1910
Place of birth: Muar, Johor
Date of death: 12 September 1998
Place of death: Johor Bharu
Place of burial: -

Malaysian High Commissioner to Australia (1973-1980)
5th Governor of Penang (May 1981-May 1989)

Family tree:
From Salasilah Tok Abdul Jabbar (limited info)

From pages 383-396, Biography of the Early Malay Doctors (2012):
His grandfather was from China
His father was of Bugis ancestry from Celebes
His mother was of Chinese ancestry

His brother, Ali bin Hassan, graduated in Law in England, and served in Malaysian Govt. He then became a judge in Malaysia.

Union: Tun Awang married on 18 March 1934
Wife #1: Toh Puan Khatijah bt Abdul Rahman bin Mohamed Yassin
      Children: 7 (4 boys and 3 girls)

  1. Puan Zahrah bt Awang (KL) - retired
  2. Dato' Dr Hussein Awang - urologist, Hospital Tawakkal, KL, performed first kidney transplant in Malaysia
  3. En Mohamad bin Awang (Melbourne) - teacher
  4. Puan Animah bt Awang (KL) - retired accountant
  5. Tan Sri Dr Yahya bin Awang (KL) - cardiologist; married to Puan Sri Datuk Dr Suraya Hani bt Tun Hussein*
  6. En Mazlan Awang - businessman; father of Dr Luqman Mazlan (HUKM)
  7. Fatimah Awang
Toh Puan Khatijah passed away and Tun Dr Awang remarried.
Wife #2: Dr Zubaidah bt Abdul Rahman (younger sister of Toh Puan Khatijah)

----------------- Other updates ------------------
Hayati Meah was a former Penang state cricketer and hockey player. He was an engineer at JKR Butterworth. His son Zainuddin Meah bin Hayati Meah was also a Penang state cricketer and married to one of Tun Dr Awang's daughters, and settled at Harta Emas in KL. - from Abdul Mutalib Wahab in Facebook.

Hayati Meah and Zainuddin Meah in Malay cricket:


*Daughter of PM weds doctor today
The Straits Times, 24 November 1977, Page 13

Kuala Lumpur, Wed.-
Dr. Suraiya Hani binti Hussein, 26, daughter of the Prime Minister, will marry Dr. Yahya Awang, 27, son of the Malaysian High Commissioner to Australia, Dr. Awang Hassan, at Seri Taman here tomorrow.

The akad nikah will be followed by the bersanding ceremony on Friday evening to which over 3,000 guests have been invited.

Dr. Suraiya, who is doing her housemanship, is the second of Datuk Hussein Onn's and Datin Suhaila's six children.

The wedding culminates in a none-year courtship between the couple, who are now both attached to the General Hospital in Johore Baru.

A wedding party will also be held at the home of Dr. Yahya, the second youngest of seven children, in Johore Baru on Dec 1.


22. Dr Mohamed bin Mohamed Ibrahim (1906-1964)

Dr Mohamed bin Mohamed Ibrahim (1906-1964)

Date of birth: 22 October 1906
Place of birth: Kuala Lumpur
Date of death: 30 April 1964
Place of death: -
Place of burial: -

Author's notes:
Managed to obtain family contact but family has withdrawn all details.
No update from his family, relatives, colleagues, MMA or the Malaysian public.

23. Dr Syed Mahmood bin Abdul Rahman Alkuds

Dr Syed Mahmood bin Abdul Rahman Alkuds

Date of birth: 19 October 1912
Place of birth:
Date of demise: mid-1970s
Place of demise: Asia Dispensary, Batu Pahat, Johor
Place of burial:

From: Who’s Who in Malaysia 1971-1972

Portrait from Who's Who
Dr Syed Mahmood Al-Kudcy

L.M.S. (S’pore), DCH (Lond), P.I.S.
Born 19 Oct 1912
Married Aishah bt Abdullah, a Singapore Chinese nurse*
Children: 3 - Hasnah, Farida and Syed Zain*

Educated Batu Pahat High School and English College, Johore
In Johore Govt Service 1935-46
Resigned to do private practice

Member Batu Pahat Town Board 1948-54, and Town Council 1955
Member of Johore State Council 1949
Chairman Board of Governors, Sekolah Dato Bentara Luar, Batu Pahat and Sekolah Menengah Rendah I., Batu Pahat
Member of Board of Governors of High School, Batu Pahat
President, Johore State AAA and Batu Pahat District AAA

Recreation: Golf
Address: Asia Dispensary, 103, Jalan Sultanah, Batu Pahat, Johore
Telephone: 556 Batu Pahat

Dr Lim Ju Boo's father's hotel at the corner of Jalan Ismail and Jalan Sultanah, Batu Pahat. Johor. Photo by Dr Lim Ju Boo, 15 May 2012.
Landmarks in Batu Pahat, from left - hotel at the corner, blue doors of Asia Dispensary, and a money-changer's shop. Photo by Dr Lim Ju Boo, 15 May 2012.

Author's notes:
  1. Unable to locate family or members. Both Dr Syed Mahmood and his wife have passed away. His 3 children could not be located before the 2 books on The Early Malay Doctors were published in 2012.
  2. Searched for 'Kudcy' in Facebook, and managed to contact Raudhah Kudcy, a young female relative but she hardly knew him first-hand. She had heard about him from her aunt, who had helped him with his medical studies.
  3. Received information on Dr Syed Mahmood Al-Kudcy from Dr Lim Ju Boo who retired from IMR, KL in 1994. Dr Lim Ju Boo knows the family and 2 daughters from his childhood days. According to Dr Lim Ju Boo, Asia Dispensary premise is extant, but the clinic has ceased to function. Dr Lim Ju Boo photographed the Dispensary and its vicinity (3 photos).
  4. Two books were published about The Early Malay Doctors: the first on 17 July 2012 and the second on 21 November 2012. Both books contained little information about Dr Syed Mahmood AlKudcy.
  5. His daughter Farida Herzog AlKudcy (fherzog@streamyx.com) contacted me via OnePage on 17 December 2012 and offered to assist with her father's missing information.
  6. I looked at Sharifah Noor Azian Syed Ahmad's Facebook today, 28 May 2014. My colleague Sharifah Azian Syed Yassin (Vienna, Austria) told me that Sharifah Noor Azian is Tun Syed Ahmad's daughter. The other daughter uses the nickname Anaruz Ahmad in Facebook. 
  7. From Sharifah Noor Azian's Facebook, I saw Sharifah Raudhah AlQudsy's name (she was formerly Raudhah Kudcy in Facebook). I re-looked at Sharifah Raudhah AlQudsy's Facebook to see who she is. She was born in Johor and studied at RMIT in Melbourne. She started her own company when her son attended school. An article about her appears in the New Straits Times. She looks familiar.

Power of networking. by Rozana Sani. New Straits Times. 12 December 2011

24. Dr Amir Burhanuddin bin Ungku Muhammad Noor (1911-1969)

Dr (H) Amir Burhanuddin bin Ungku Muhammad Noor (1911-1969)
MD Hom 1936 IMC, India

Date of birth: 28 August 1911
Place of birth: Changkat Tualang, Perak
Date of death: 25 October 1969
Place of death: -
Place of burial: Tanah Perkuburan Masjid Lama Taiping, Perak

Father of Homeopathy in Malaya/Malaysia
Better known as "Dr Burhanuddin al-Helmy"
Third President of PAS (1956-1969)

Author's notes:
His family lives in Perak (18 March 2011). Unable to obtain family contact.
No update from his colleagues, MPHM, PAS or the Malaysian public.
See Comments.

25. Dr Abdul Karim bin Nawab Din (1912-1970)

Dr Abdul Karim bin Nawab Din (1912-1970)

Date of birth: 14 June 1911
Place of birth: Taiping, Perak
Date of death: 17 August 1970
Place of death: Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
Place of burial: Masjid Lama Bandar Taiping, Jalan Masjid, Taiping, Perak

Source of Info:  
Prof Datuk Dr Wazir Jahan Karim (USM, UM)
Datuk Dr Raj Karim (SUHAKAM)

The Who's Who in Malaysia 1965 (available in USM main library in Penang)

The Who's Who in Malaysia 1965
The Who's Who in Malaysia (undated). Received from  Prof  Wazir

26. Dr Abbas bin Haji Alias (1914-2004)

Dr Abbas bin Haji Alias (1914-2004)

Date of birth: 1914
Place of birth: Banting, Selangor
Date of demise: 2004
Place of demise: Petaling Jaya

Author's notes:
I managed to contact one of his daughters, Dr Siti Fathimah bt Datuk Dr Haji Abbas. She is in LinkedIn and Facebook. A few close friends wrote about him.

Dr Siti Fathimah bt Datuk Dr Haji Abbas 
Dr Abbas' daughter followed his footsteps and became a doctor. Dr Siti Fathimah bt Datuk Dr Haji Abbas was a Senior Consultant Radiologist with the Department of Diagnostic Imaging, General Hospital Melaka. She is now retired and continues to work in her post-retirement. She was conferred the Johan Setia Mahkota (JSM) federal award in 2008.

Source of Dr Abbas's biodata:
The Who's Who in Malaysia 1963 (available in USM main library in Penang)

The Who's Who in Malaysia 1963
Edited images for Dr Abbas's biography (also see separate post/Technical Note on this).
The photos came out alright but they are clearer in the ebook compared to printed books.
Most of the original photos were provided by his daughter Dr Siti Fathimah. The 1947 football image and his image at 80 were from Fadli Ghani. The other photos were from Arkib Negara Malaysia.
A collage of some of the photos in Dr Abbas's biography
External links:
Football Association of Malaya

27. Dr Mohamed Din bin Ahmad (1912-1999)

Dr Mohamed Din bin Ahmad (1912-1999)

Date of birth: 26 January 1912
Place of birth: Seputeh, Perak, Federated Malay States
Date of death: 28 February 1999
Place of death: Kuala Lumpur
Place of burial: Bukit Kiara Cemetery

First Director-General of Health, Ministry of Health Malaysia (1967-1971)

28. Dr Sulaiman bin Mohd Attas (1913-1972)

Dr Sulaiman bin Mohd Attas (1913-1972)

Date of birth: 31 March 1913
Place of birth: Linggi, Negeri Sembilan
Date of death: 9 May 1972
Place of death: London, UK
Place of burial: Linggi ancestral graveyard, Negeri Sembilan

29. Dr Abdullah bin Ahmad (1913-1992)

Dr Abdullah bin Ahmad (1913-1992)

Date of birth: 2 January 1913
Place of birth: Linggi, Negeri Sembilan
Date of death: Friday, 18 September 1992
Place of death: At his daughter's house in Kampung Melayu, Ampang, Kuala Lumpur

30. Dr Nuruddin bin Mohamed Salleh (1915-1983)

Dr Nuruddin bin Mohamed Salleh (1915-1983)

Date of birth: 20 March 1916
Place of birth: Kerdau, near Temerloh, Pahang
Date of death: 10 April 1983
Place of death: -

Contact: His son - Assoc Prof Sr Azlan Raofuddin bin Haji Nuruddin, Housing, Building and Planning (HBP), Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Article found about Dr Nuruddin in The Straits Times, 1 July 1949, page 1:

The Straits Times, 1 July 1949, Page 1
...at the Dental College, Melbourne. Inche Nuruddin and Dr. Au Kee Hock of Singapore, who is doing post-graduate work on the ear, nose and throat in Melbourne, were the first two to be awarded Senior Fellowships under the East Asian Fellowships and Scholarships fund introduced by UNESCO. Australian Official photo. (78 words)

31. Dr Mohamed bin Taib (1916-2002)

Dr Mohamed bin Taib (1916-2002)

Date of birth: 15 June 1916
Place of birth: Pulau Maulana, Pekan, Pahang
Date of death: Sunday, 22 September 2002 (Ahad, 15 Rejab 1423 Hijrah)
Place of death: Kuantan, Pahang

32. Dr Kandati bin Seka

Dr Kandati bin Seka

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Date of death:
Place of death:

Author's note:
Unable to locate family.
No update from his colleagues, MMA or Malaysian public.

33. Dr Latifah Bee Ghows (1911-2005)

Dr Latifah Bee Ghows (1911-2005)

Date of birth: 1911
Place of birth: Taiping, Perak
Date of death: 11 October 2005
Place of death: Taiping Hospital, Taiping, Perak
Place of burial: Muslim Cemetery, Old Taiping Mosque

Latifah Bee was born in Taiping in 1911. She studied at Treacher Methodist Girls School in Taiping until she completed her senior Cambridge Exams. She then proceeded to Singapore. She studied at a college before studying medicine.

Undergraduate Medical Education
Latifah Bee then pursued medical studies at the King Edward VII Medical College in Singapore. However, her father decided to send her overseas. She left Singapore in 1937. Dr Latifah related her story to Professor Dato’ Dr Wazir Jahan Karim that she was on her way to study medicine at the University of Dublin but the Second World War broke out and she was stranded in Hong Kong. In May 1939, The Straits Times reported names of passengers who arrived in the P&O liner Carthage from Yokohama, Shanghai and Hong Kong.1 Among the passengers due for Penang was ‘Miss L. Ghows’.2

Japanese Occupation
During World War II, the Japanese army entered Hong Kong in 1941. At Hong Kong, Dr Latifah worked in the hospital until the war was over. She recollected bitter memories while at Hong Kong Hospital. The condition in Hong Kong became worse and in 1943, the British Government transferred foreign students from the University of Hong Kong to India. She stayed in India for a few months before she returned to Tanah Melayu. She returned to the University of Hong Kong after it was safe. Dr Latifah pursued her studies in medicine at the University of Hong Kong until she finally obtained her medical degree. Dr Latifah’s work at Hong Kong Hospital entitled her for the conferment of a medical degree. The British Colonial Government granted her a degree in medicine from the University of Hong Kong. Dr Latifah Bee Ghows graduated from the University of Hong Kong on 23 January 1942 with the MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree during World War II. 

Postgraduate Overseas Service and Studies
After she graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Hong Kong, Dr Latifah joined the Hong Kong Civil Hospital where she worked alongside British doctors from 1942 to 1945 (end of World War II). After the war, Dr Latifah returned to India for a few years to gain additional experience. Also after the war, Dr Latifah Bee Ghows left for England to further her studies. She went to Dublin for extra courses in public health. As she was a keen traveller, Dr Latifah Bee Ghows had gone to Australia and served for a few years. She was an alumnus of the University of Hong Kong in 1950.3

Government Service
Dr Latifah Bee Ghows returned to Malaya and joined the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital as a Medical Officer in March 1949. She worked for three years. She then shifted to the Malacca General Hospital. Dr Latifah went to England again shortly after to pursue postgraduate studies in Child Health (1954-55). After her postgraduate studies, Dr Latifah returned to Malaya in 1956 and served as a Senior Medical Officer at the Penang Municipal Council (Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang, MPPP) for a few years until she retired in 1966. While in Penang, Dr Latifah lived at No. 2, Ariff Crescent in Green Lane.

Dr Latifah Bee Ghows retired from government service in 1966 as Senior Medical Officer in Penang. She had contemplated on quitting earlier on 17 April 1952, due to health reasons.4

First Muslim Woman Doctor in Malaya
Dr Latifah Bee bt Ismail Mohamad Ghows of Taiping became the first Muslim female doctor in Malaya when she graduated in January 1942 from the University of Hong Kong during World War II. She was the first Malayan Muslim female doctor to undertake undergraduate medical training at an overseas institution and the first to graduate during World War II. During her time, it was rare that females went overseas; they only studied locally. She was the first Malayan Muslim female doctor to undertake postgraduate training in England. 

Female Doctors at the Time of Merdeka
Among the Muslim female doctors at the time of Independence on 31 August 1957 were Dr Latifah Bee Ghows (UHK Class of January 1942), Tan Sri Datuk Paduka Dr Salma Ismail (KE VII Class of 1947), and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali (UM Class of 1955).

Dr Latifah's parents were Dr Ismail Mohamad Ghows and Zohara Bee bt Shaik Nannameah Sahib, from Ipoh. Latifah Bee was born before her father went to Singapore to study medicine.  Latifah was the elder of two girls and the eldest of seven siblings. The sisters were Dr Latifah Bee and Datin Sharifah Bee. Her brothers were Hanif Ghows, Hashim Ghows, Rashid Ghows, Osman Ghows and Ismail Ghows. All her brothers were active and good sportsmen.

In her late seventies5 and eighties, Dr Latifah Bee Ghows had stayed at her sister’s house in Taiping. She was still alert and healthy as reported by a local historian, Mr DM Ponnusamy of Taiping.6  Dr Latifah Bee Ghows remained at Taiping Hospital in Perak since 5 October 2005. She had passed away at 2 am on Tuesday, 11 October 2005 at age 94 years. Dr Latifah Bee Ghows was laid to rest at the old Taiping Mosque (Masjid Lama Bandar Taiping) Muslim cemetery after zohor prayer. Her nephew, YBhg Dato’ Abdul Mutalib bin Razak, was among those who paid their last respects

Headstone of Dr Latifah Bee bt Ismail Ghows. She graduated with MBBS from the University of Hong Kong on 23 January 1942. She was Taiping's first female doctor. She was the first Indian Muslim and Malay female doctor in British Malaya and the Federation of Malaya. The headstone reads: Al-Fatihah. (In Jawi script) Doktor Latifah binti Ghows. Dr. Latifah bt. Ghows kembali ke Rahmatullah pada 8 Ramadhan 1426 (Hijrah) bersamaan 11.10.2005, umur 92 tahun. Amin. Note: Her age should be 94 on the headstone. She is written as Dr Latifah Bee Ghows (1911-2005) on page 516 in Biography of the Early Malay Doctors. She was hospitalised at Hospital Taiping since 5 October 2005 and passed away of old age at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, 11 October 2005, aged 94. She was interred here after Zohor prayer (refer page 520 in Biography of the Early Malay Doctors).
Pusara Dr Latifah Bee bt Ismail Ghows, Masjid Lama Bandar Taiping. Her nephew is Dato' Abdul Mutalib bin Razak. Dr Latifah's demise was published in the local newspaper - New Straits Times, Wednesday, 12 October 2005. The obituary was written by Mr D. M. Ponnusamy. During my visit to First Galleria, I was informed by the Senior Curator, Anuar Isa, that Mr D. M. Ponnusamy had also passed away, aged early 70s; his wife is still around. I have never met Mr D. M. Ponnusamy who contributed many photos and articles for Dr Latifah's biography in Biography of the Early Malay Doctors.

References and Notes

  1. Boyd Cable, A Hundred Year History of the P&O: Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, 1837–1937 (London, 1937), 218, 228
  2. The Straits Times, 19 May 1939, Page 4. Page 4. Miscellaneous Column 1.
  3. The Singapore Free Press, 13 February 1950, page 5. “H.K. University Alumni.”
  4. The Straits Times, 25 July 1952, page 7. “Why the doctor quit -Govt.”
  5. Utusan Malaysia
  6. Mr DM Ponnusamy had passed away by 2013.

    Author's files for Dr Latifah's biography in
    Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore.