Royal Professor Ungku A. Aziz: The Renaissance Man is an attempt by essentially former colleagues and subordinates to provide a canvas of a man who has been described as a polymath and a dominant personality in the intellectual and cultural life of our beloved country. Royal Professor Ungku A. Aziz, a reputed world scholar, has had a significant effect, since the decade of the fifties, on the growth and development of the nation in general and the University of Malaya in particular. The term The Renaissance Man is a most befitting and appropriate description of him who has multidimensional and varied interests. His relentless work on rural poverty has established his reputation as a scholar.
At his golden age of 88 Royal Professor Ungku A. Aziz contributes the Afterword which mirrors his sharp thinking and strong belief on three important issues concerning our Malaysian nation.
He discusses how National Unity can be fostered, how the Language issue can be solved and how rural poverty can be mitigated.
Share hisvision on the need for teaching and learning in two languages which are chosen for equal but different reasons. Malay is needed for the realization of National Unity via one language that can be comfortably used by all Malaysian citizens. English is needed to enable Malaysians to be internationally connected to the world where English is the one of the most commonly used languages. Education policy must embrace both languages with equal enthusiasm. Both languages need to be taught and learned with equal intensity.
The Extreme Poverty Group includes about 800,000 individuals dwelling in the state of extreme poverty. Although many suggestions have been bandied about, it is believed that the whole group lives on an average RM3 per day per household. Thus he strongly advocates that development programmes must be sincere so that extreme poverty can be eliminated as described in his pantun:
Kelapa puan di dalam jalur,
Kelapa jantan dibuat titian;
Usaha pembangunan hendaklah jujur, Supaya kemiskinan dapat dihapuskan.
The publication of this book is in celebration of the 88th birthday of Royal Professor Ungku A. Aziz