Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman is a health expert and passionate educator. Today Dr Abu Bakar is the current chair of Malaysia’s Covid-19 Expert Advisory Group as well as Chair of the International Medical University Group in Kuala Lumpur. In his youth, Dr Abu Bakar attended Geelong Grammar School in Victoria, Australia and obtained his MBBS from Monash University. He went on to receive the Master of Medicine (Internal Medicine) from the University of Singapore and completed his postgraduate training in nephrology – the study of the structure and function of kidneys – to become a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians. Back in Malaysia, Dr. Abu Bakar joined the Ministry of Health, and by 1991, had attained the position of Director-General of Health. During his decade in this role, he was responsible for overseeing almost 100,000 employees during a time of rapid change, making major contributions to quality assurance, information technology, telehealth and medical school accreditations.
Recognised locally and internationally, Dr Abu Bakar represented Malaysia between 1991-2001 in the World Health Assembly, Geneva, WHO Western Pacific Regional Committee, WHO Committee on Strategic Plan for Health Research Implementation, Coordinating Committee Southeast Asian Medical Information Center, and Governing Board for SEMEO-TROPMED. From 2001 to 2015, Dr Abu Bakar was the President/CEO/Vice-Chancellor of the International Medical University where he led its development from a fledgling new entrant to a major regional education provider in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, biotechnology and nutrition/dietetics, complemented by research-based higher degrees with its university partners, now Malaysia’s most established private medical and health sciences university. Under his stewardship, the IMU has become a pivotal partner for The University of Queensland’s Faculty of Health Sciences, for which he was bestowed an honorary doctorate. He has a substantial published output.