In a time when the country was facing a lack of leadership in handling the COVID-19 outbreak due to political uncertainties, one man stepped up to the task of leading not only the frontliners, but also Malaysians during the crisis.
Health director-general Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah may have denied being a ‘hero’, but he is to many Malaysians who were frustrated by the sudden change in government which led to the ousting of former health minister Datuk Dr Dzulkefli Ahmad during a crisis.
Since taking over the role of the point person in the handling of COVID-19, Dr Hisham has shown professionalism, integrity and maturity in handling the situation.
Each day, he appears on our television and computer screens, updating the nation on the latest on COVID-19, answering questions from the reporters and giving advice.
He’s always calm and collected when he is delivering the messages and is well-informed, creating confidence among the public.
For those who have dealt with him before - he has been the health deputy, then the director general since 2008 - wouldn’t be all that surprised by his performance. Dr Hisham has always been someone you could rely on to give you factual answers.
Just scroll through his Twitter and you’ll see plenty of evidence of his capabilities.
The good doctor
Not much is known about Dr. Hisham’s personal life, despite there being unverified sites claiming to know his life story.
The man seems to prefer to let his work speak for him.
What is known about him is that he was born in Sepang on 21 April 1963, and graduated from University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) with a Degree in Medicine in 1988.
He started his career as a house officer at the Kuala Lumpur University Hospital in the same year, and was moved to Hospital Kuala Lumpur’s Accident and Emergency Department to work as a medical officer the following year.
Dr Hisham continued his education and received a Masters in Surgery from UKM, after which he started practicing as a general surgeon at the Kuala Terengganu Hospital in 1994.
He went on to specialise in Breast Endocrine Surgery, a skill he developed while being a fellow at the Royal Adelaide and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals University of Adelaide, Australia.
Upon his return to Malaysia in 1998 after two years in Australia, Dr Hisham became the head of breast endocrine surgery unit at the surgery department of Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
He was then moved to the Putrajaya Hospital, where he has been practicing since.
Subsequently, he was appointed as health deputy director-general (medical) in January of 2008 and was promoted to director-general in March of 2013.
He has also written and co-written many medical journals throughout his career.
Dr Hisham has remained as the director-general till today and has been doing a fantastic job of handling the COVID-19 situation, showing great strength and leadership during these difficult times.
Recently, Chinese media China Global TV Network (CGTN) named Dr Noor Hisham as one of the top three leading doctors in battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
All three doctors were praised for delivering information and facts efficiently to their countrymen, and also for appearing “calm, clear and trustable”.
Dr Hisham also warmed many hearts when he recently replied to a 9-year-old girl's letter to him.
In the letter, the girl also attached a LoomBand as a sign of friendship, which the doctor passed to his granddaughter.
He even signed of the letter with 'your new friend', acknowledging the friendship offered by the little girl. Aww...
Thank you, sir for your dedication.
We Malaysians appreciate all you have done and continue doing.