Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik
YABhg Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik was born in Kuala Kangsar, Perak on 18 September 1943. He received his primary education at King Edward VII School in Taiping, Perak from 1950 to 1957 and his secondary education at the Royal Military College in Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan from 1958 to 1960. He went on to pursue his higher education at the University of Singapore, Singapore in 1961, graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in 1966. His first post-varsity occupation involved a move to the Pearl of the Orient, where he was stationed as a medical doctor in General Hospital, Penang from 1966 to 1968. He later left the hospital to set up his own private practice in Butterworth, Province Wellesley from 1968 to 1975.
His political career began as the MP for Mata Kuching, Butterworth, a seat which he successfully won re-election for two more terms in 1978 and 1982. Furthermore, he had the honour of serving as the Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Local Government & Federal Territory from 1976 to 1977. His successful stint as a parliamentary secretary won him good repute and he was subsequently appointed as the Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Information from 1978 to 1982. From there he was promoted to the role of Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Finance, serving from May 1982 to March 1984. Without slowing down, Tun continued to expand his portfolio by taking on the position of Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Education from March 1985 to January 1986. His standout performance in all these roles culminated in his selection as the Minister for Ministry of Transport in January 1986. He tirelessly performed his entrusted duty until the end of his tenure in June 2003, at which point he retired with grace.
Even in his youth, Tun Ling’s remarkable vigour and drive was already evident. As a student who underwent training, he was presented the Honours Award by the Outward Bound School in Lumut, Perak. He served as President of the University of Singapore Student Union in 1964 and President of the Royal Military College Old Boys’ Association from 1979 to 1981. Other positions of leadership that Tun Ling held were Chairman of Asia-Pacific for Communications from 1979 to 1982, President of the Malaysian Rugby Union from 1980 to 1984, Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (Malaysia branch) and Inter- Parliamentary Union from 1987 to 1992, and President of the Malaysian Bodybuilding Federation from 1989 to 2000. Among them all, Tun is perhaps best known for his tenure as the President of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), a role spanning nearly two decades from 1986 to 2003. As such, his impact on the political landscape and development of Malaysia cannot be understated.
Even so, what remains dearest to Tun Ling’s heart is his passion to provide quality education to all. He administrated as Chairman of the Tunku Abdul Rahman College Council from 1986 to 2004, during which he succeeded in establishing five new campus branches in Penang, Perak, Johor, Pahang and Sabah.
UTAR was established in 2002 and Tun Ling played a vital role in the formation of UTAR. He obtained a piece of land from the Perak state government to build the UTAR Kampar Campus in Perak. When approval from the government was given to set up UTAR in July 2001, fulfilling MCA’s 30-year old dream, the party attributed this momentous achievement personally to Tun Ling for his unceasing endeavour and lobbying over the previous three years. Such praise was also echoed by Nanyang Siang Pau on 26 March 2002 just before UTAR was formally launched, calling Tun Ling as the Father of UTAR’s development with an indomitable dedication to education.
The establishment of UTAR will surely remain as Tun Ling’s most lasting contribution to the community, society, Malaysia and the world. He has been the Council Chairman of UTAR from 1 October 2002 to 18 January 2017, a commitment he has doggedly fulfilled with great passion and dedication.
In recognition of his long and illustrious career in serving the society and nation, Tun Ling has been conferred numerous titles from the government. He was awarded the Darjah Datuk Kebesaran Paduka Mahkota Perak (DPMP) which carries the title of Dato’ in 1982. In 1989, he received the Darjah Seri Paduka Mahkota Perak (SPMP), which carries the title of Dato’ Seri. This was soon followed by the Darjah Gemilang Seri Melaka (DGSM) which awards the title Datuk Seri in 1993. From East Malaysia, he was awarded the Panglima Negara Bintang Sarawak (PNBS) in 2003, which grants the title of Dato’ Sri. During May of the same year, Tun was made Honorary Life President of MCA. But the highest honour was to come in 2004, when Tun Ling was awarded by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong the Darjah Yang Mulia Setia Mahkota Malaysia (SSM), which bestows the title of Tun.
Tun Ling’s myriad of achievements have not gone unnoticed by the academia. The awards conferred on him include the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by Campbell University, USA in 1993, the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University by Sheffield Hallam University, UK in 24 March 2002, the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Engineering Management by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in 2004, the Honorary Doctorate in Political Science by Universiti Malaya in 2005 and the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Education by University of Abertay Dundee, UK in 2007.
Tun Ling is also a family man who is happily married to Toh Puan Ong Ee Nah and they have two sons together, Ling Hee Leong and Ling Hee Kiat.
In recognition of Tun Ling’s immense efforts, dedication and contribution to the University, UTAR at its Council meeting on 18 January 2017, decided to appoint YABhg Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik as the Chancellor of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman.