Saturday, August 29, 2009

Malaysia's first disabled legislator dies

From Bernama:

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- The country’s first disabled senator, Prof Datuk Dr Ismail Md Salleh (pictured), died on a flight from China to Singapore. He was 61.

An officer at the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore said Ismail was pronounced dead on arrival at the Singapore General Hospital at about 8 a.m. August 27.

He was laid to rest at the Sungai Kantan Muslim cemetery in Kajang. Ismail leaves behind wife Datin Hasnah Wahab and six children between ages of 12 and 26.

The visually challenged Ismail became the first person from the disabled community to be appointed senator in December 2007.

Born in Pasir Mas, Kelantan, he was totally blind since he was 13, but the limitation did not stop him from getting his degree, masters and PhD, all in the United States.

His achieve-ments were recognised by the Gui-nness Book of World Records, which na-med Ismail as the first blind person to receive a doctorate.

He also held various key positions, including Twintech Inter-national University College vice-chancellor, Twintech Holdings Sdn Bhd chief executive officer and National Association of Bumiputra Private Colleges president.

He was a member of the National Implementation Task Force in the Prime Minister’s Department and former deputy director-general of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies.