Thursday, 28 March 2013

Obituary: Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail

Abdullah Hamid has emailed to inform me that my granduncle Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid @ Coco or Koko Majid, has passed away on Sunday, 24 March 2013. Tan Sri wrote the Foreword for my book, Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and SingaporeInna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rojiuun.

Dear Prof, assalamu 'alaikum
This is to inform you that Tan Sri Dr A Majid Ismail (Koko Majid) passed away this afternoon.Jenazah akan diuruskan dari rumah allahyarham di Taman Duta KL pagi esok dan akan dikebumikan di Royal Mausoleum Selangor. I recall reading in your blog that you're related to Allahyarham. My wife was classmate with one of the daughters, Elena.

Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail (1921-2013)

Dr Haji Abdul Majid bin Ismail was born on 15 November 1921 in his grandfather's house at Kampong Baru in Kuala Lumpur. The house has ceased to exist. Today, this spot would be at the intersection of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Raja Abdullah. He attended schools in Kuala Lumpur between 1932 and 1939, first Sekolah Melayu Segambut, then Maxwell School, and Batu Road School before he was accepted into the Victoria Institution. He won a Selangor State Scholarship in 1940 to study medicine in Singapore (1940-42 and 1946-1949). He graduated in 1950 with MBBS from the University of Malaya based in Singapore. He was the first Malay Queen’s Scholar and pursued his postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh and then at the University of Liverpool. He became the first Malay Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon in 1958. He had served at General Hospital Kuala Lumpur (1958-1969) and Seremban. He was the first Eisenhower Fellow in 1963. He became the Director of Planning & Research in the Ministry of Health in 1970 before he became the second Director-General of Health Malaysia in 1971 till his retirement in 1976.

Selangor Education Department Scholarship 1932-39; Selangor Government Scholar 1940; enrolled at King Edward VII College of Medicine Singapore 1940-42 (pre-war) and 1946-49 (post-war); Japanese occupation in Malaya and Singapore 1941-45; Japanese Army Medical Corp took charge of hospitals; laboratory assistant to a Japanese chemist; his family home in Kuala Lumpur was bombed, and he lost all his photographs; returned to Ujong Pasir within Kampong Baru in Kuala Lumpur during the Japanese occupation; earned a living by selling salted fish, kerosene, birds, chickens, and tapioca; joined the Ikka Daigaku at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and moved to Malacca General Hospital in 1943; resumed medical studies at College of Medicine Singapore 1946-49; Social Secretary Medical College Union; King Edward VII Medical College and Raffles College merged in 1949 to form University of Malaya based in Singapore 1949; MBBS UM (Singapore) 1950; Medical Officer (MO) General Hospital Kuala Lumpur (GHKL) 1950-53; Program Doktor Radio 1950s; first Malay Queen’s Scholar in Medicine from UM (Singapore) 1950; Queen’s Scholarship 1950; pursued postgraduate studies in Edinburgh and Liverpool; Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh 1953-55; FRCS Edinburgh 1955; returned to Malaya 1955; State Surgeon Negeri Sembilan 1956; University of Liverpool 1957; M.Ch.Orth. Liverpool 1957; returned to Malaysia; first orthopaedician in Malaysia 1958; first Malay Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon in Malaysia 1958; Chief Orthopaedic Surgeon FoM/Malaysia GHKL 1958-69; regarded as Father of Orthopaedics and Orthopaedic Surgery in Malaysia; first Eisenhower Fellow from Malaysia 1963; Eisenhower Fellowship Pennsylvania, USA, 1963; Council Member UM 1959-87; Council Member UKM 1970-78; Chairman Council UM 1978-87; Founder Member and President College of Surgeons Malaysia; Founder Member and first President Malaysian Orthopaedic Association (MOA) 1967-82; Past-President Malaysian Council for Rehabilitation; Past-Chairman/Vice-President National Council of Social Welfare Malaysia; Past-President Persatuan Dato’—Dato’ Di Raja Selangor; Member of Board of Trustees Malaysian Medical Association (MMA); Past-President Selangor Government Servants Cooperative, Thrift and Loan Society; Ahli Dewan Di Raja Selangor (Member of the Ruler’s Advisory Council Selangor) 1996-98; Past-President Senior Government Officers Association (SGOA) Malaya; Founder Member and Past Vice-President Asean Orthopaedic Association; President Yayasan Sultan Abdul Aziz (Sultan Abdul Aziz Foundation); Past-Member of Board of Trustees National Welfare Foundation; Past-President Kelab Taman Perdana Di Raja (Royal Lake Club); Founder and Past-President Western Pacific Orthopaedic Association (WPOA); Founder and Past-President Malaysian Association of Sports Medicine (MASM); Past-Chairman National Medical Research Council (NMRC); Chairman, Campus Life Committee UM 1973; Member of the Board of Visitors GHKL; Chairman The Heart Foundation of Malaysia; Vice-President Eisenhower Fellows Association Malaysia; Foundation Fellow for Medical Science, Academy of Science Malaysia; Founder Chairman Pantai Hospital (later became Pantai Medical Centre); Founder Chairman INTI College; Chairman Director and Shareholder Syarikat Endah Sari Sdn Bhd, Tron Development Sdn Bhd, United Highlands Sdn Bhd, Selesa Health Farm Berhad, Maddusalat Berhad, Inti Universal Bhd, Syarikat Enjah Arif Sdn Bhd, and Syarikat Endah Sari Electronics Sdn Bhd; Hajj 1968; Director of Planning and Research, Ministry of Health (MoH) 1970-71; involved with the development of medical programmes and hospitals for Malaysia; appointed Malaysia’s second Director-General (DG) of Health MoH 1971-76; Hon FRACS 1972; retired as DG MoH 1976; F.A.Sc. Medical Sciences Malaysia 1995; published his book An Old Man Remembers 2006; awarded PPT by Negeri Sembilan 1965; JMN by DYMM SPBYDP Agong 1965; Dato’ Seri Maharaja DiRaja Selangor by DYMM Sultan of Selangor 1966; SPSK by Sultan of Kelantan 1972; PSM (Tan Sri) by DYMM SPBYDP Agong 1973; SSSA by Sultan of Selangor 1985; Board of Governors 1950s; Guest of Honour Victoria Institution Speech Day 1986; Chairman Yayasan Jantung Malaysia (Malaysian Heart Foundation); Board Member Yayasan Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz; Committee Member Rumah Amal Cahaya Tengku Ampuan Rahmah (RACTAR); Director Yayasan Tun Abdul Hamid.

Tan Sri Abdul Majid married Puan Sri To’ Puan Khairany bt Mahyuddin (b. 1924). They have three children, a son and two daughters—Prof Aljafri Majid (retired from UM, KL), Elisha (Perth), and Ellina (KL).

- Faridah Abdul Rashid, 25 March 2013. Reproduced from my book, Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore, 2012, pp248-261.

Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail was healthy and working at his office in Kompleks Jalan Damai, KL in 2007. He was wheelchair bound in 2012 when the Sultan of Selangor visited him at home. He passed away of old age on Sunday, 24 March 2013. He was interred at the Royal Selangor Mausoleum in Shah Alam for his services rendered to the Selangor sultan and royal household.


Coco's mother, Enjah bt Muhammad Ariff, a Quran teacher in Kg Baru, KL. She was Nenek Enjah to my parents. She was my nenek moyang. Photo from a book in Arkib Negara Malaysia.
Coco gifted me his last book which was published in 2006
Available from

I still have the video of 11 May 2007, video-taped during the interview at Tan Sri's office at Kompleks Jalan Damai, KL.

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