A handsome, very pleasant and distinguished medical doctor, scientist, scientific leader and internationally known and respected, Academician Dato’ Dr Khairul Anuar bin Abdullah was above all a good friend, who used to call me “Abang” or Elder Brother.
At the Malaysian Scientific Council, we all knew that he was not well as he had missed several MSA Council meetings, but his sudden departure due to liver failure or cirrhosis was a shock to us all. He was open with his sickness and often told me in confidence that sometimes he was in pain and apologised for not attending MSA meetings. It was thus a shock on that Sunday morning, 17 January 2022, that I received a call from his son, Faizal, that he had passed away at 4:26 am that morning. After my Subuh prayers, when I said a prayer for his soul, I left to pay my respects at the Petaling Jaya Mosque near University Malaya. I met his widow, Datin Zaidah binte Musa, and expressed condolences on behalf of MSA and the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, where he was also a Senior Fellow; the last post conferred him the title of “Academician”.
Dr Khairul was born on 3 May 1948 in Batu Gajah, Perak. He graduated from Gadja Mada University in 1975, followed by a Master of Public Health in Tulane USA in 1978 and a PhD from the School of Medicine from that same University in 1982. He also did a Post Doctorate at Harvard School of Medicine in 1997.
He held various positions such as Professor and Chair of the Faculty of Medicine University Malaya from 1995 to 2004; President of the Malaysian Society of Tropical Medicine from 1996 to 1998; President of Migrant Workers Malaysia from 1998 to 2004; and held the post of Dean at the Faculty of Medicine of MAHSA University at the time of his demise.
He had been active in several local and international organisations and often attended international meetings overseas. He was President of the Malaysian Scientific Association (MSA) from 2004 to 2008 and continued to be active in MSA as a Council member until his untimely demise. He was also a Council member of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) from 2006 to 2014 and was on the Council of ASM and Vice Chairman of KISM before he passed away. He was also Vice-Chairman of the Dean’s Council for Medicine in UM from 1996 to 1997.
From 2003 to 2004, he was a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Filariasis Elimination Programme. He was also the MAHSA University Foundation Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.
Dato’ Dr Khairul has won many awards, including the Silver Medal from the Malaysian Society of Tropical Medicine (1998), a Fulbright Scholar (1998), The Sandosham Gold Medal for Tropical Medicine (1991), The Toray Science Award Japan (1998) and the FACTM (Australasia College of Tropical Medicine Award (2002).
At the time of his demise at 74 years of age, Dato’ Khairul Anuar was also a Council Member of MSA. He left behind his widow, Datin Zaidah binte Musa, five children (four boys and a girl). His daughter passed away last year, which devastated him as he confided with me on that sad occasion. I lost a good friend. May his soul rest in peace.
Salleh Mohd. Nor
3 February 2022