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Dato Professor Emeritus Dr. Hajah Asmah Hj. Omar

Translation by Syed Zulfilda S.M. Noor

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Dato' Professor Dr. Hjh. Asmah Hj. Omar was born in Jitra on 5 March 1940 into a family with a tradition of a high level of education. Her early and secondary education started in Kedah. She continued her higher studies at the Universitas Indonesia, where she obtained her Bachelor's as well as her Master's degrees. Subsequently, she obtained her doctorate from the University of London in the field of 'General Linguistics'. In the year 2000, Dato' Prof. Dr. Hjh. Asmah was awarded the Doctor of Literature (D.Litt) by the University of Malaya for her immense contributions in the field of linguistics in Malaysia.


  • Assistant Lecturer, Department of Malay Studies, University of Malaya (1963)
  • Lecturer, Department of Malay Studies, University of Malaya (1966)
  • Director, Centre for Languages, University of Malaya
  • Associate Professor, University of Malaya (1972)
  • Deputy Vice Chancellor (establishment), University of Malaya (1983)
  • Professor of Malay Linguistics, University of Malaya (1976-1995)
  • Professor on Contract, University of Malaya (1995-2000)
  • Dean, Faculty of Language and Linguistics, University of Malaya
  • Guest Lecturer, Centre for Construction and Development of Languages, Jakarta, Indonesia (1977)
  • Guest Lecturer, Institute of Linguistics, University of Hawaii (July 1977)
  • Visiting Professor, University of Qatar (March 1979-April 1979)
  • Visiting Professor, Centre for Southeast Asian Languages and Cultures, Mahidol University, Bangkok (May 1978)
  • Fulbright Visiting Professor under SEASSI plan, Northern Illinois University, USA (2 June 1987-23 August 1987)
  • President, Linguistics Society, Malaysia (1977-1979)
  • President, Society of Modern Malay Language (1986-1994)
  • National Language Committee, Ministry of Education, Malaysia (1980-1986)
  • Coordinating Committee for the Integration of Science and Social Science, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (1978-until now)
  • Director, Institute of Malay Civilization, Sultan Idris University of Education, Tanjung Malim, Perak.

Dato' Prof. Dr. Hjh. Asmah has produced 45 academic books pertaining to linguistics, published by the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, the University of Malaya and the Academy of Malay Studies, University of Malaya. She has Translation the English language dictionary, 'Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary' into the Malay language, which took five years. She is also a contributor of academic articles both for local as well as for the international community, and she has consistently put forward her opinions and interpretations pertaining to problems as regards to Linguistics.

Apart from that, she also conducts research either on her own or in association with other parties and the works include "University of Malay English for Special Purpose Project" (University of Malaya and Thomas Nelson Inc.), 'CICHE ELT 308 Academic Writing and Teaching Package Project', 'University of Malaya Spoken English Project (UMSEP' from 1980 until 1983, and 'Culturally Conditioned Models of Conflict and Conflict Resolution, Malaysia- Sweden (University of Goteborg) from 1989 until 1994.

In appreciation of her services and contributions, she was bestowed several honours and awards and they include the Ahli Mangku Negara (A.M.N.) in 1973, the Setia DiRaja Kedah (S.D.K.) in 1979, the Dato Setia DiRaja Kedah (D.S.D.K.) in 1983, the ASANAL Awards in 1979, 'the Orde Des Palmas Academique Perancis' in 1989, the GRATA HOME NAGEM from the Institute Portugese Do Oriente, Macau in 1990, the 'Boss of the Year' for session 1992/1993 from Society of Secretaries, Malaysia, the 'Charter of Appreciation' from MABBIM Indonesia in 1993, the Certificate of Appreciation from the Ministry of Education, Malaysia in 1995 for promoting MABIM and MABBIM, the first Raja Nazrin Shah Language Award in 1996 from the society of Modern Language, the 'Woman of the Year 1998' Award in 1999 from the American Biographical Institute and the '20th CAA Silver Medal of Honor' Award in 1999 from the International Biographical Center.

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