RI Honours for Masidi and Adeline
Article and Photos originally published on print newspaper and online (Daily Express Online)
Kota Kinabalu: Two accomplished Sabahans were conferred honorific titles by the Senior Advisory Council of the Royal Institution (RI), Singapore, in recognition of their professional qualifications, significant achievements and contributions at the RI 8th Global Congress & Conferment Ceremony at the National Culture and Art Department Complex, Sabah, Friday. State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun heads the list of four people who were conferred the title of Honorary Fellow of Royal Institution (HFRI). He was also honoured with Doctor Fellow of Royal Institution (FDr) and Doctor Fellow of Royal Institute of Tourism (DFRIT).
Datuk Adeline Leong, who is Malaysia's Head of Mission to Taiwan as President of the Malaysian Friendship and Trade Centre (MFTC), Taipei, was bestowed the title of Doctor Fellow of Royal Institution (FDr) for prestigious membership in RI, Singapore, as well as Doctor Fellow of Royal Institute of Management (DFRIM) for her contribution to good governance and ethical standards in her chosen field.
President of RI, Singapore, Dr Athena Georgene Ang, who performed the conferment ceremony together with Chancellor FDr Dr Samuel M. Salvador, said the HFRI is the most prestigious and highest membership grade accorded by RI, Singapore in recognition of the Minister's extensive expertise, exemplary achievements and significant contributions.
In his acceptance speech, Masidi said he accepted the honour with humility, deep appreciation and responsibility.
He believes that the best way to contribute for the betterment of society is to leave a legacy of good work.
"Today, the world needs sincerity, honesty and the highest standard of integrity. The world will be better because the policies made by people of the highest integrity will always be policies that are going to benefit Mankind," he asserted.
Masidi graduated with a Bachelor of Law (Honours) degree at London University in 1977, and Barrister-at-Law (Honours) at Lincoln's Inn, London in 1979, and was admitted as Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Borneo at the Sandakan High Court in May 1980.
The former Chairman of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) started his career in the civil service in 1977 as a Legal Adviser/Prosecutor in the Forestry Department, and was subsequently appointed as Tuaran District Officer and then Sandakan District Officer in 1982.
In his meteoric rise, he was made Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports before assuming the post of Senior State Counsel in the State Attorney-General Department in 1987. He left the government service in 1990 to join the private sector.
Masidi has held the ministerial portfolio of Tourism, Culture and Environment since 2007, after his appointment as Minister of Youth and Sports, and presently, is the State Minister responsible for education matters in Sabah.
The Minister is also a strong advocate for regional cooperation in tourism, especially in the Borneo region.
Under his leadership, many airlines are now connecting Sabah with many major cities in Asia with 154 international flights weekly.
Masidi's long involvement in youth-related organisations culminated in his selection as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Malaysians (TOYM) in 1987. Described as a passionate and strong advocate for conservation and the environment, he has worked closely with international NGOs to raise funding for conservation and environmental projects in Sabah.
Other Honorary Fellows of Royal Institution (HFRI) were Ar. Yolanda David-Reyes (Commissioner, Professional Regulation Commission Philippines); FDr. Joel L. Tan-Torres (Chairman, Board of Accountancy, Philippine Professional Regulation Commission); and FDr. Dr Danilo V. Ayap (President, Lyceum of Alabang, Philippines).
Leong has an illustrious 32-year career in the State Civil Service with a string of "firsts", rising from her appointment as the first woman Director of the Sabah State Library in 1975 to being President of Kota Kinabalu Municipal Council (MPKK), now Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK), in 1998, the first Malaysian woman to head a municipal council in the country.
She went on to serve as the first woman President of the Sandakan Municipal Council for five years before her retirement at the end of 2004.
The Executive Director of IEC is also the Founding Chairperson of the Sabah Women's Advisory Council (MPWS, 1988-1990). She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Asian Studies from the Australian National University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Librarianship from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).
Last year, Leong was appointed Malaysia's Head of Mission to Taiwan (with Ambassador status), the first Sabahan woman to be elevated to the post.
She is the Charter President of the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu Pearl, Founding President of the Society of Performing Arts Kota Kinabalu (SPArKS) and a Past President of Sabah Women Entrepreneurs & Professionals Association (Swepa).
"It is a great honour to be conferred Doctor Fellow of the Royal Institution (FDr). I owe this accolade to all the women in Sabah who have supported me all the way in my quest to break the glass ceiling and to pave the way for other young women to accomplish even more.
"I am proud to be inducted into a global, multidisciplinary, professional membership institution (RI), which also serves as a premier platform for more effective global networking," she said when met after the conferment ceremony.
Fourteen other FDr conferees comprised FDr. Gloria T. Baysa, FDr. Dr Carmencita L. Castolo, FDr. Dr Ellinor F. Geronimo, FDr. Ceng Dr Sam Man Keong, FDR. Prof Jose David Lapuz, FDr. Attorney Nasser A. Marohomsalic, FDr. Ahmed Siyam Mohamed, FDR. Dr Horacio M. Montefrio, FDr. Dr Adela Cristeta J. Ruiz, FDr. Dr Ruperto P. Somera and FDr. Dr Maria M. Vicente.
For conferment of Doctor Fellow of the Royal Institution (FDr), Dr Ang said nominees have to fulfil a number of criteria such as having a Doctorate Degree (highest level of academic degree) or its equivalent, or having 16 years of experience in a top executive or professional position or its equivalent, or having 32 years of relevant academic or professional experience.
Dr Ang said all nominations were screened and highly evaluated by a select panel with conferment approved by the RI Board of Directors.
"We have very strict criteria. Academic qualification is only one of the many criteria.
We look at the nominee's performance, experience, talent, achievement, contribution, everything.
Anybody can gain a doctorate through academic pursuit but not everybody can get the Doctor Fellow title (FDr).
Even if you have a PhD, it does not mean you can be conferred the Doctor Fellow membership (FDr).
It is not PhD equal to Doctor Fellow (FDr)," she explained.
Altogether there were 118 conferees from Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Maldives, including titles of Senior Fellow of Royal Institutes (constituents of RI, Singapore); Fellow of Royal Institutes; Senior Member of Royal Institutes; Member of Royal Institutes; Associate Member of Royal Institutes; and Student Members of Royal Institutes.