From Surgeon To National Hero: Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah Set To Retire After 35 Yrs Of Service
In bittersweet news, Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has announced that he is preparing to retire this month after serving the nation for 35 years, during which he famously worked diligently to safeguard Malaysians at the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak.
He confirmed that his retirement will begin on April 21, the day he turns 60 – the legal retirement age for public service employees.
Apart from his efforts to lead Malaysia through the pandemic, Dr. Noor Hisham played a key role in the Malaysian healthcare system throughout his tenure and has made several other impactful contributions to public health. He was the Director of the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) at the Ministry of Health prior to his position as the Director-General of Health, where he oversaw the response to a number of disease outbreaks, namely H1N1, MERS, and Zika.
With his reputation as a ‘workhorse’, when asked if he would enjoy retirement, he humorously retorted to The Star, “Let me experience retirement first and I will share with you my experience later.”
Following retirement, Dr. Noor Hisham anticipates spending more time with his family. He is currently a father of six.
Notably, he was a surgeon before assuming administrative and executive positions inside the Malaysian healthcare system. He graduated from the University of Malaya with a medical degree in 1988, and he started to work as a house officer in the Klang Valley. Then, in 1997, he finished his Master of Surgery at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, and in 2000, the University of Sydney granted him a fellowship in endocrine surgery.
As the Director of the Surgical Department at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, where he was in charge of overseeing surgical services and training programmes, Dr. Noor Hisham’s surgical experience was crucial. His surgical background was particularly helpful during the Covid-19 epidemic when he operated on Covid-19 patients while donning full PPE.
Despite having accomplished much in his field, Dr. Noor Hisham said there is still one thing he hopes to achieve: the implementation of the Health White Paper, which aims to enhance the nation’s health system holistically, as well as carry out significant systematic reforms and address all problems relating to the delivery of healthcare services.
The White Paper is anticipated to be introduced in Parliament in June, as per Health Minister Dr. Zaliha Mustafa.
Dr. Noor Hisham emphasised the importance of the paper’s submission and stated it will serve as the nation’s official entry point for health reforms.
We warmly commemorate Dr. Noor Hisham’s leadership and tireless efforts in combating the pandemic, and recognise that his legacy will persist for years to come.