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UPM expresses condolences

SERDANG, 30 Mac - Universiti Putra Malaysia’s (UPM) staff and students would like to express their heartfelt condolences to the family of Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Mohd Rashdan Hj. Baba upon his demise today on 30 March 2020. May Allah s.w.t bless his soul and place him among the believers. Al Fatihah.

His passing marks the loss of a leader and strong supporter in agriculture to UPM and the country. His efforts and contributions to UPM, the people and the nation will continue as beneficence that will not be forgotten.


Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Mohd Rashdan bin Hj. Baba, a well-known academic figure in agronomy was born on October 31, 1935 in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan. He received his early education at Chembong School and went on to study at Government English School, Tampin.

He completed his Diploma in Agriculture from the College of Agriculture Malaya, Serdang before continuing his studies at the University of Reading, United Kingdom in agricultural science. He then furthered his studies at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom where he obtained his doctoral degree in Agricultural Science.

Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Mohd Rashdan bin Hj. Baba’s profound knowledge and leadership in the country's education history shone with his appoinment as the first local to hold the post of Principal of the College of Agriculture Malaya from 1965 to 1969 and brought it to its glory with the establishment of Universiti Pertanian Malaysia. He was also  named as "Father of Development of the College of Agriculture Malaya".

He received strong encouragement and support from his former teacher Pak Rashid or Mohd Rashid Ahmad, the Farm Director (1964-1969) and was once a board member of Yayasan Pak Rashid.

His success in leading and developing the College of Agriculture Malaya had attracted the attention of the Second Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdul Razak, and this had led to his appointment as the first Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia for three (3) years beginning in 1969. Nevertheless, his passion in the agricultural field had contributed to his appointment as the first Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Pertanian Malaysia from 1971 to 1982.

As the first Vice-Chancellor, he had successfully established nine (9) faculties and two (2) centres that handled nineteen (19) degree programmes, nine (9) diploma programmes and one (1) professional and advanced degree programme.


The naming of Rashdan Baba Auditorium is UPM's tribute towards Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Mohd Rashdan Hj. Baba for his dedication in developing the university, apart from being a dedicated academic icon who had inspired all UPM members.

Personally, he gave many ideas to UPM Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Datin Paduka Dato' Dr. Aini Ideris, on ways to promote UPM as a leading university in the field of agriculture.


According to Prof. Aini, Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Mohd Rashdan Hj. Baba was very fond of UPM and had always given ideas to help UPM to excel. Although he had long left UPM, he continued to support UPM, attended many UPM events and those organised by the UPM Alumni Association.

When Prof. Aini visited him on 23 January 2020 at Ampang Puteri Hospital, the late Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Mohd Rashdan Hj. Baba continued to give advice and suggestions to further empower UPM especially in the field of agriculture.

He had also sponsored a University prize, the Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr. Rashdan Baba Gold Award Medal (for Bachelor's Degree) that is awarded annually to a graduate in an Agriculture-related education programme who excels academically, participates actively in co-curricular activities and demonstrates good achievement in industrial training. The prize consists of a medal worths RM1,000 and RM3,000 in cash.

Prof. Aini described him as a pioneer in agricultural development and advancement and as a very generous person when it comes to money and sharing of knowledge and experience. Most recently, despite his poor health, he was still excited about research efforts and introduction of new crop products.

At the national level, Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Mohd Rashdan bin Hj. Baba had also collaborated in leading the country's first privatisation effort which involved Telekom Malaysia Berhad. He acted as the Executive Chairman from 1987 to 1995. He was also the Executive Chairman of the Guthrie Berhad Group and also served on the board of directors of several subsidiaries of Guthrie Berhad Group from 1982 to 1987. He was also awarded the Malaysia's CEO of the Year.

His appointment as an Independent Director at Unisem (M) Berhad in 1998 continued to this day. He reached the pinacle of his profession as an educator with the conferrement of the Professor Emeritus title from Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (UPM) in 1982 and an honourary degree of Doctor of Law from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in 1999.

Other academic honours he received were Doctor of Science from the University of Reading, United Kingdom (1986), Doctor of Law from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom (1989), and Doctor of Science from Multimedia University (2006). 

Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Mohd Rashdan bin Hj. Baba’s leadership also shone as he held important posts at the national level such as being a member of the Board of Trustees, Tun Abdul Razak Foundation (1972-1989); Member, Court of Fellow of Malaysia Institute of Management (MIM) (1979); President, Harvard Business School Alumni Club Malaysia (1983-1984); Chairman of the Advisory Board, Library of Malaysia (1984); Lifetime Honorary Member, Librarian Association of Malaysia (2005); Senior Fellow, Malaysian Academy of Sciences (ASM); First Honorary Member, Malaysian Society of Agricultural Engineers (MSAE); and Honorary Fellow, British Graduates Association Malaysia. At the international level, he was appointed as a member of the Advisory Council, Regional Cooperation in Education in Asia and The Pacific (UNESCO) (1979-1982); Fellow, Telecommunications Executive Management, Institute of Canada (1988); Chairman of the Telecommunication Development Advisory Board, United Nations, New York (1993-1995); and President, Asian Association of Agricultural Colleges and Universities (AAACU) (1977).

In recognition of his services and contributions in the​​ field of higher education and his contribution to the development of the country's privatisation policy, Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Mohd Rashdan bin Hj. Baba was awarded the Anugerah Bintang Kebesaran Panglima Setia Mahkota award which carries a 'Tan Sri' title in 1974. In addition, he was  awarded Malaysia's CEO of the Year by Business Times and American Express Corporate Services in 1995. - UPM

Date of Input: 30/03/2020 | Updated: 30/03/2020 | hairul_nizam


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