The Late Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim
By Chan Kok Keong
The late Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim was closely involved in the early days of the founding of the Perak Academy.
Born in Teluk Intan, when it was a royal town, he never missed a chance to help promote the State in which he was born and had his early education.
Driven by a passion to revive Perak, he was one of the prime movers of the Perak Academy. It was upon his suggestion that the Academy adopted the motto to make Perak a centre of thought.
With the early inputs provided by Professor Khoo’s enthusiasm and love of Perak, the Academy provided a platform for a broad range of speakers on subjects as far out as bio-engineering, economics, local history and botany.
Professor Khoo was a fellow of the Perak Academy alongside his mentor Professor Wang GungWu with whom he enjoyed close ties and a happy working relationship despite both being away from their alma mater, the University of Malaya.
Professor Khoo delivered a talk on Perak: The Last 50 years on 6th March 2000. It was well attended and held in the Ipoh Swimming Club. In 2007, he delivered another talk on 50 years of Merdeka to the Perak Academy. In the audience during the lecture was the Raja di Hilir of Perak DYAM Raja Dato’ Seri Ja’afar bin Raja Muda Musa.
Apart from Perak, Professor Khoo was also deeply interested in South East Asia History and affairs. He was primarily instrumental in helping to organize the seminar on “Alternative Perspectives of Southeast Asia” held in the Syuen Hotel on 6th – 8th April 2001.
Through his influences and networking, many academicians came to address the seminar and exchange their views, namely Mr Michael L.R. Smith, Mr Andrew Tan, Mr Nicholas Tarling, Mr Davit Martin Jones, Mr Mike Lawrence Smith, Mr K. Kesavapany, Ms Miriam Coronel Ferrer, Mr Jun Tsunekawa, etc. The result of that seminar was the publication of a book entitled “Seeking Alternative Perspectives of Southeast Asia”.
His many visits to Ipoh were indeed fruitful and all those who came to associate with him during the discussions, seminars and events were charmed and elated by his affable demeanour, deep learning and unassuming manner.
He truly deserved the title of Professor Emeritus, which was awarded for his sustained works on the history of Perak and South East Asia.
The Perak Academy extends its sympathies to Puan Sri Rathi Khoo and three children Eddin, Rubin and Mavin Khoo and family on their bereavement. The Perak Academy wishes to put on record their immense gratitude to the late Professor Khoo for his contribution in developing Perak after his retirement.