Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Dr Mohamed Din bin Ahmad

Tan Sri Dr Mohamed Din bin Ahmad was our first Director-General of Health, Ministry of Health, Malaysia. I had obtained information about Tan Sri Dr Mohamed Din from Mr Chung Chee Ming, a webmaster who operates the Victoria Institution website.

VI website: http://www.viweb.cjb.net/
Wikipedia Victoria Institution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Institution

Mr Chung Chee Ming resides in Vancouver, Canada. At first I had thought he was joking but it is true, he resides in Vancouver. We communicate by e-mail. He was the first person (and a very resourceful person) who helped me obtain the names of the first 11 early Malay doctors from the King Edward VII College of Medicine old bulletins which are still lying around in the homes of Victorians/KE VII graduates/ex-workers.

With Mr Chung Chee Ming's help, I was able to contact Shahriza Hussein (author of the novel Legacy), another Victorian who is a cousin of Tan Sri Dr Mohamed Din. Shahriza gave me the link to Tan Sri Din's eldest son, architect Haji Kamal Din. Shahriza died soon after we corresponded. His youngest daughter informed of Shahriza's death. I was horrified!! Shahriza was gone for good but he left me an important contact.

I contacted Ar Haji Kamal Din. I called his half office to fix an appointment to interview him about his father. The girl at the office said it is hard to locate Tuan Haji Kamal Din as he was involved with a lot of construction projects - the most recent are the IJN extension project and another was a residential tower project near KL Sentral. He could be at any of the construction sites, and there were other sites too. I had no idea about constructions in KL so I didn't know what to do and how else to meet with Ar Haji Kamal Din. I asked the girl whether Tuan Haji Kamal Din was young or old. She said neither!! Ha ha ha.... I asked her again "Dia tua ke muda?" Again she said it is hard to tell. She said he is both old but looks young!!! Ha ha ha ....!!! How do you think I must fix an appointment with a man who is both old and yet looks young? I can help but laugh. I asked her for Ar Haji Kamal Din's mobile. I then passed her an e-mail and Tan Sri Dr Mohamed Din's biography for her to print and to pass on to Ar Haji Kamal Din if he comes in to office. I waited till I got a positive response from Ar Haji Kamal Din and then fixed an appointment date for us to meet and discuss his father's biography (at last).

The information below is from a contributor (Sellene @ Mohd Izrin Muaz bin Adnan, a former Research Officer with USM) who gave me a link and info from a website that contained Tan Sri's biography which I circulated earlier to the family members for checking. The write-up looks better in Malay.

From Sellene:
May i respectfully refer you to this link below? There is information on the above personality that you might find useful.

Ketua Pengarah Kesihatan pertama

Lahir di Siputeh Kinta,Perak pada tahun 1913 dan bersekolah di Sekolah Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur. Beliau melanjutkan pelajarannya ke Raffles College Of Medicine di Singapura dan telah berjaya memperolehi ijazah Doktor Perubatan dengan cemerlang. Kemudian beliau bertugas sebagai Pegawai Perubatan di Hospital Daerah Kuala Kangsar, Hospital Taiping, Pegawai Perubatan Negeri di Ipoh dan di Kuala Terengganu. Kemudian beliau ditukarkan ke Kuala Lumpur sebagai Pengarah Perubatan.

Kesungguhan beliau memikul segala tanggungjawab dalam apa juga keadaan telah memantapkan keperibadian beliau sebagai seorang Pegawai Perubatan dan pemimpin yang berupaya. Dalam konteks Negara yang baru mencapai kemerdekaan pastinya banyak proses perubahan berlaku dan inilah waktu dan ketikanya anak-anak bangsa diberi kepercayaan untuk mengambil alih jawatan jawatan penting daripada pihak-pihak penjajah yang pernah memerintah Negara ini. Lantas itu allahyarham telah dilantik untuk mengambil alih jawatan sebagai Ketua Pengarah Kesihatan Malaysia yang pertama daripada anak bangsa Melayu. Kecemerlangan beliau memimpin Kementerian Kesihatan ini telah mendapat pengiktirafan yang sangat terpuji dan telah menerima enam bintang Dato' dan Dato' Seri. Justeru, beliau telah dianugerahkan bintang tertinggi Tan Sri oleh D.Y.M.M Yang Di Petuan Agong.

Ibu beliau Hajah Esah binti Hussin dari Siputih, Perak adalah keturunan Talu dan ayahnya Haji Ahmad JP juga orang Talu. Isteri pertama beliau, Puan Sofia binti Abdullah memperolehi lapan orang anak seperti berikut Pn. Halimah (M), En. Kamal Md. Din (64), Datin Mahanom (63), Pn. Jamaliah (62), En. Jamal Md. Din (M), Pn. Zarina (58), Maimunah (M) dan En. Rosman Md. Din (55). Isteri beliau yang kedua Puan Sri Kamsiah binti Ali mendapat dua orang anak seperti berikut, En. Rahim Md. Din (50), dan Pn. Noraini (48). Allahyarham Tan Sri Dr. Mohamad Din bin Haji Ahamd teIah kembali ke rahmahtullah di Kuala Lumpur ketika berusia 87 tahun 2000. Semoga Allah mencucuri rahmat ke atas rohnya. Amin...
He was a School Prefect and a School Captain in 1930 at the VI.
Photo from Mr Chung Chee Min, ex-VI and VI webmaster

Dr Mohamed Din bin Ahmad graduated with LMS from the King Edward VII College of Medicine, Singapore in 1937. Subsequently he joined the British Malayan colonial Government service in 1937 as a Medical Officer (MO) and served mainly in Perak and Terengganu. 

In the post-war, he was the first Malay Queen's Scholar as well as an NAPT Scholar in 1949 and pursued his postgraduate studies for 2 years in the UK (1951-52). [NAPT is National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis.] He eventually obtained a Diploma in Public Health (DPH) from Edinburgh University, UK (1950). He also obtained a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTMH) from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, UK (1951). 

Dr Mohamed Din bin Ahmad (1912-1999)
Portrait from Mr Chung Chee Ming, ex-VI and VI webmaster.
Biodata in The Who's Who in Malaysia 1963
Biodata in The Who's Who in Malaysia 1965 (continued below)

Receiving the PMN award (which carries the title Tan Sri) from DYMM SPB YDP Agong, Raja Perlis on 4 January 1961. Photo from his sons.

Immediately after Independence, he was appointed the first Director of Medical Services. Later, he was promoted and appointed the first Director-General of Medical Services, Malaysia (6 December 1967-71) and Permanent Secretary. He was succeeded by Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Haji Abdul Majid bin Ismail as second DG (1971-76). Photo from NewspaperSG, National Library Singapore. I read the terms that it will cost S$1,500 for single use of this photo. I think this is too expensive.
He was appointed as Clinical Professor of Public Health at University of Hawaii in May 1968.
Photo from his sons.
As elected First Master of the Academy of Medicine, Malaysia (AMM) 1966-69.
Photo from AMM.

University of Malaya awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Medicine (MD) in September 1972. Photo from his sons.


First marriage to Sophia Abdullah, Perak
Photo from his sons.
Second marriage to Kamsiah bte Mohd Ali , KL.
Second marriage for both of them.
Photo from his sons.
Ar Haji Kamal Din, the eldest son of Tan Sri Dr Mohamed Din bin Ahmad.
I interviewed him on 30 December 2008. Photo by me.

His daughter Fatimah Dinna bt Tan Sri Mohd Din is a Senior Lecturer in the English Language at UiTM.

I have not met the rest of the children of Tan Sri Dr Mohamed Din, not even the one who e-mails me the photos on behalf of the family. He is Rosman Din. His brother tells me he's busy with work. What is important is the sons write very well about their father. They supplied a lot of anecdotes which I included in my book. These liven up the book and give a lovely feeling to what Malaysian life was like in the good old days. We don't get them this nice today. Life today is a whole lot different from what it was in the past.

Legacy by Shahriza Hussein
Biodata of Shahriza Hussein. From VI website.
Shahriza Hussein. From Star Magazine.

Mak Iti pula di-adu ka-PSC
- Tan Sri (Dr.) Mohamed Din bin Haji Ahmad
  Setiausaha Tetap, Kementerian Kesihatan
- Siti Hawa Zain (better known as Mak Iti) suffered from diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
  She had complained directly about the rough treatment accorded to her at GHKL, 
  the plate and glass were dirty and there were a lot of mosquitoes.