New court honours Chief Minister
The University of Adelaide has named a plaza on North Terrace in honour of one of its distinguished graduates and long-time benefactor, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, the Right Honourable Pehin Sri Dr Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud AO.
The 'Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of Sarawak Court' is a newly landscaped social space adjacent to the Ligertwood Building.
Chief Minister Taib came to the University of Adelaide as one of the Malaysian Colombo Plan scholars in the late 1950s. He graduated with a law degree in 1961 and spent a year in Adelaide as an associate to Justice Mayo, a Judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia, before returning to Malaysia.
He entered politics within Malaysia at a very early age in 1963, holding various Ministerial and other positions before becoming Chief Minister of Sarawak in 1981.
Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha said the University named the court in honour of the Chief Minister to acknowledge and show its appreciation of his significant support, and tireless work in helping to promote and strengthen the links between Australia and Malaysia.
"The Chief Minister's personal generosity has continued in numerous ways over the years," said Professor McWha.
"But perhaps even more importantly has been the continuing support the Chief Minister has provided to help us build links with Malaysia, which are now considerable."
The University of Adelaide has more than 800 international students from Malaysia and another 160 domestic students who were born in Malaysia. There are several thousand Adelaide graduates in Malaysia.
The University has agreements on research collaboration, student exchange and articulation arrangements with various Malaysian universities.
In 2006, the University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the State Government of Sarawak on research collaboration, including postgraduate scholarships. There are currently 10 postgraduate research students in Adelaide under that agreement.
"The Chief Minister has been a powerful force for developing strong and continuing good relations between our two countries," said Professor McWha.
"In his role as Chairman of the Malaysia-Australia Foundation and in other ways he has continuously promoted mutual understanding and goodwill among both peoples."
Story by Robyn Mills