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Malaysian politician and academic Dr Zambry receives honorary doctorate

UEL graduation ceremony

Son of a fisherman says he feels strong affinity with UEL

The son of a fisherman who rose to become a government chief minister says he felt a ‘deep affinity’ with students from the University of East London (UEL) graduating today at a packed ceremony held at London’s indigo at The O2. 

Malaysian academic and politician Dato' Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry bin Abdul Kadir was guest of honour at the ceremony, where he received an honorary doctorate in business administration from the University.

“I felt a deep affinity with the students graduating, as my own story began as the son of a fisherman from a small village, so I feel honoured to be accepted by the University, and I feel humbled to have been nominated.”

Dr Zambry grew up on the island of Pangkor in the Malaysian state of Perak, later becoming the state’s chief minister in 2004, and was re-elected in 2008 and 2013. 

He said the ceremony gave him valuable insight into the nature of UEL.

“I saw students here from different backgrounds and countries, and UEL is trying to give opportunities to every one of them,” he said.

Having gained postgraduate qualifications in Malaysia, Dr Zambry went on to receive a PhD in political thought from Temple University, Philadelphia.

He told the hundreds of business students gathered that education was vital in today’s knowledge and information age.

He said, “Look at past and present ministers of government, CEOs of companies, and captains of industry, and you see that their parents were humble, ordinary people working as fishermen, railway workers, these sorts of jobs.

“You can be a successful person, regardless of your background or family beginnings, but you must have that determination to succeed, that’s my key point to UEL graduates.”

The University’s Royal Docks School of Business and Law nominated Dr Zambry for his outstanding contributions to education, politics and civil society leadership, matched by a passion for learning and dedicated service to political office.

Dr Zambry taught political science at the Islamic University of Malaysia, before going on win the Perak State legislative assembly seat for Pangkor in 2004, securing re-election in 2008 and 2013.

He is an avid writer, authoring, editing, and translating numerous academic books and papers, articles for newspapers and an anthology of his own poetry. He has also embraced modern social media, regularly using Facebook and Twitter.

Dr Zambry concluded by saying, “I hope that I’ve given some inspiration to the students, so that one day there will be UEL students who become successful leaders in their respective countries."