UCSI-UTM duo wins the highest state prize in scientific writing

PUTRAJAYA: Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi, a professor at UCSI University (UCSI) and Dr Gurupiah Mursib, an associate professor at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) recently received the Prize for Scientific Work 2016 from Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) as an appreciation of their book at Dewan Sri Siantan, Perbadanan Putrajaya, Putrajaya. 

The prize given annually by DBP represents the highest state prize in scientific writing in the Malay language. From the success of the book classed under the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities category, the professors won an award certificate and a cheque worth RM5,000 each. 

Prof Tajuddin said he was thrilled to receive the prize on the collaborative work from an organisation that serves as an excellent platform to encourage scientific writing in the Malay language among academics. 

“I have won several book awards in the past but this one is special. In the past, there were not many architecture books out there. Today, more and more are being published and the competition is getting tougher. I’m truly honoured to be part of this collaborative work and receive this prize,” he said. 

According to the professor, the book entitled ‘Regionalisma Dalam Seni Bina Malaysia Era Moden, Pascamoden dan Global’ published by DBP is about the regionalism approaches in Malaysian architecture and design. The book is part of a research by Dr Gurupiah from UTM’s Department of Architecture in the Faculty of Built Environment. 

The prize was presented by the Minister of Education, Dato’ Seri Mahdzir bin Khalid at the launch of DBP’s ‘Lori Ujana Buku’ project – a mobile bookstore that will be touring the country in conjunction with the National Language Month, organised nationally by DBP and the Ministry of Education. 

Prof Tajuddin has been a professor at UCSI’s School of Architecture and Built Environment since 2015. He is a renowned academic who specialises in the theory and history of architecture. He is also an authority in national architectural identity, Islamic architecture, the framework of early Western modernist architecture and mosque design. 

To date, he has published over 50 books and articles focusing on Islamic architecture, Western modernist architecture and mosque design. He also anchored a monthly column in The Star on the related topics for four years since the year 2000. 

When asked about what drives him, the professor said, “I choose to write books rather than journal publications because I want to spread my ideas to the people and the policymakers. In a democracy, I believe you have to educate the masses rather than in an autocracy where you pander to the whims of the King or monarch or dictator.” 

Professor Tajuddin also spoke about his take on the significance of Islamic architecture. 

“My understanding of Islamic architecture has evolved with my understanding of Islam in the modern world with democracy as the political framework. My theory and idea are governed strongly with my progressive and liberal outlook on Islam in the modern world and as part of the global society. Regionalism is also one of the answers for this approach to Islamic Architecture.” 

Also present at the ceremony were Minister of Federal Territories, YB Datuk Seri Utama Tengku Adnan bin Tengku Mansor and Director-General of DBP, Tuan Haji Abdul Adzis bin Abas.

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