Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah binti Haji Mohamad Ali is the wife of the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. She served as wife of the Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years from 1981–2003.
She is currently the chancellor of the Multimedia University of Malaysia.
Born in Klang, Selangor on 12 July 1926, Siti Hasmah was an ethnic Malay of Minangkabau descent from Rao, West Sumatera. She obtained her MBBS from the University of Malaya in Singapore. Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah was one of the first Malay women to enroll for a medical course at the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore (now the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine) after World War II.
In 1955 she graduated as a medical doctor from the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya, which was then located in Singapore. She subsequently joined the government health service. She was one of the first Malay woman doctors in then Malaya. She married Mahathir the following year in August. Their first child, Marina, was born in 1957.
In the 1960s, she attended a public health certificate program in the University of Michigan.
Ten years later, she became the first woman to be appointed Medical Officer in the Maternal and Child Health Department, and in 1974, she was the first woman to be appointed the State Maternal and Child Health Officer.
Siti Hasmah is the author of several articles on family medicine and the socioeconomic factors associated with pregnancy and childbearing in Malaysia.
Siti Hasmah became the wife of Malaysia prime minister following the appointment of her husband as Prime Minister in 1981.
She used her position as the wife of the Prime Minister to campaign tirelessly for women's health, family planning, drug abuse control and adult literacy. She also served in various positions as follows:President of the Malaysian Girl Guides Association
Chairman of the Kedah Family Planning Association
President of the Malaysian Medical Association Foundation
President of the Association for the Rehabilitation of Handicapped Children
Vice-President of the Federation of Family Planning Associations of Malaysia
Patron of the Malaysian Association of Maternal Health and Neonate
Patron of the Malaysian Pediatric Association
Patron of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM)
As Patron of the Pan Pacific South Asia Women's Association, (PPSEAWA) Malaysia, Siti Hasmah attended and presented keynote addresses at the Triennial Conferences in Tokyo (1984), Bangkok (1991) and Tonga (1994).
As President of BAKTI (Welfare Club of the Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers), Siti Hasmah was active in efforts to educate young people about the dangers of drug abuse. In 1985, at the invitation of United States First Lady Nancy Reagan, she attended the First Ladies' Conference on Drug Abuse in Washington D.C. She also represented Malaysia at the International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Vienna in 1987.
Siti Hasmah was also active internationally in promoting the cause of rural women. In 1992, at the invitation of Queen Fabiola of Belgium, she attended the First Ladies Summit for the Economic Advancement of Rural Women in Geneva. She was chosen as one of the six Core-Group Initiators of First Ladies representing the Asia-Pacific Region.
The summit was initiated by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) under the patronage of Queen Fabiola. At the end of the Summit, the First Ladies endorsed the Geneva Declaration on Rural Women, an instrument to formulate policies and programmes to enhance the economic advancement and welfare of rural women and their familĞies.
At the summit, Siti Hasmah stressed the "with proper education and training, rural women can help raise literate and productive children who, in turn, can be positive contributors to a nation's growth and prosperity."
In February 1994, Siti Hasmah attended the ISC Council Meeting in Brussels at the invitation of Queen Fabiola. Then, in September 1995, she was appointed as Chairperson of Regional Steering Committee on the Economic Advancement of Rural and Island Women for Asia Pacific Region.
Eventually, in November 1996, she took over the presidency of the International Steering Committee for Economic Advancement of Rural and Island Women for Asia Pacific Region.
Being a medical doctor by training, Siti Hasmah also has an interest in mental health. Former First Lady of the United States, Rosalynn Carter invited Siti Hasmah to serve on the National Committee of the World Federation of Mental Health which Mrs Carter chaired.
For her 23 years of public service, her voluntary work, and her leadership in the fields of public health, literacy and drug abuse control, Siti Hasmah has received many honours. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, as well as the Sultan of Selangor and the Sultan of Kedah, have bestowed titles upon her.
In 1988, she was awarded the Kazue McLaren Award by the Asia Pacific Consortium for Public Health.
In 1991, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia conferred on her the Honorary Doctorate in Medical Science.
In 1992, the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland, conferred on her the Honorary Doctorate in Public Health.
In May 1994, Indiana University, Bloomington conferred on Siti Hasmah the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, and in August the same year, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
On 20 June 1997 she was appointed as the Chancellor, Multimedia University (MMU) and patrons MESCORP.
In 2003, she was conferred the highest honorary title of Tun along with her husband, Dr Mahathir, by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaysia. Malaysia : Grand Commander of the Order of Loyalty to the Crown of Malaysia (2003)
My Name is Hasmah. Karangkraf Group, 2016.