Dr. Mohd. Sharkawi Abang Hj. Jaya

On April 6th, 2021 we received the sad news of the unexpected death of Dr. Sharkawi, an AOEMM Fellow who passed away following a collision with a car while indulging in one of his favourite pastimes of cycling in Kuala Lumpur. He was 77 years old and in tip top physical health.

For those who may not know him, it is noteworthy that Dr. Sharkawi was one of the early advocates of Occupational Health in Malaysia. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Alberta, Canada and went on to earn his occupational health credentials at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine as well as picked up specializations in Hyperbaric and Aviation Medicine before returning to Malaysia to join Shell in 1979 in various local and international positions until he retired in 1998. PETRONAS then appointed him to be its Group Health Advisor until 2004. He then decided to take a more leisurely pace of life as an occupational health consultant.

Dr. Sharkawi has had a pivotal role in the development of occupational health in Malaysia amongst medical practitioners. In 1993 he was instrumental in the setting up of the Society of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (SOEM) within the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA). Dr. Sharkawi also instrumental in the development of the present Occupational Health Doctor’s (OHD) competency course which is being conducted by NIOSH. He provided a great deal of effort to ensure that the course would be fit for purpose.

When the Academy of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Malaysia (AOEMM) was mooted in 2006, Dr. Sharkawi again took a leading role in the pro-tem Committee to ensure that the Academy was successfully established.

There is no doubt that AOEMM, in particular, owes a debt to Dr. Sharkawi for his tremendous contributions to the establishment and to the present status of the Academy today. In 2007, AOEMM awarded him fellowship in recognition of his contributions to occupational health and AOEMM.

In his dealings within AOEMM Dr. Sharkawi was a no-nonsense force that ensured that all that need to be done were done. His commitment to the cause of the Academy was never in doubt. Hence, we shall miss him.

Outside of work, Dr. Sharkawi walked the talk where health promotion was concerned. He ate healthily and exercised regularly to maintain his level of fitness. He and his wife, Mary, were both health and wellness devotees. Dr. Sharkawi went as far as becoming a triathlete!

Hence, it was doubly sad that he had the accident while indulging in one of his favourite pastimes, cycling.

AOEMM salutes Dr. Mohd. Sharkawi b. Abang Hj. Jaya! May he rest in peace.

6th May 2021