Assoc Prof Dr Abdullah Ghazali, head of the Muamalat Administrative Department of Universiti Utara Malaysia’s Business Management Faculty, has been named the university’s first Tokoh Maal Hijrah.

Abdullah, 51, known affectionately as “Pak Lah” among friends and the campus population was chosen because of his vast contribution in education at the university and his untiring involvement in community work.

Born in Kampung Belukar in Hutan Kampung on the outskirts of Alor Star, Abdullah was conferred the award by UUM deputy vice-chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni), Assoc Prof Datuk Dr Ahmad Faiz Ahmad, in conjunction with the Maal Hijrah celebration at UUM, Monday.

Abdullah said the award would encourage him to step up his efforts to instil educational excellence among the students and be involved even more in community work.

He is the imam and assistant marriage registrar for Hutan Kampung and also a member of the Islamic Welfare Council Committee of Changlun, Kedah.