To Prof Azad, the University of Malaya is more than a place where he received his undergraduate MBBS, completed housemanship and surgical training, and became lecturer and consultant in Urology until retirement. To him, UM is home. And much has this home benefited from his presence.
Graduating from UM in 1986, he moved quickly through the surgical ranks, passing the FRCS (Edinburgh) examinations in 1991 and earning a scholarship from Petronas in 1993 to pursue higher surgical training in Urology which took him to London, UK, and Mansoura, Egypt. He returned to the university in 1996, and thus began his long career in the education and training of surgeons, while expanding clinical services in Urology and spearheading basic science and clinical research.
In his tenures as Head of Surgery, Prof Azad’s goal was to bridge the gap between scientists and clinicians, particularly surgeons. In those days, few surgeons had personal experience of basic science research and many could not see its practical applications in the tactile world of surgery. Prof Azad had the vision to bring on non-surgeons as staff in the Department of Surgery, such as medical laboratory technicians, research assistants and scientists, and was possibly the first in the country to do so. He collaborated with academic staff from pre-clinical and para-clinical departments to further build research capacity. As Deputy Dean of Development of the Faculty of Medicine, Prof Azad was responsible for infrastructure and human resource planning and development.
If there is anything even more impressive than his resume, it is Prof Azad’s intense and long-lasting love for the football team that he has supported since his childhood. It was therefore no surprise that when the time came for a retirement present, the selected farewell gift was a football jersey emblazoned with the name of this club – Manchester United! Prof Azad remains a beloved honorary member of the department and returns regularly to assist with the renal transplant service. The culture of teamwork and collaboration he nurtured carries on in the Urology unit and in the department.