NUS confers honorary degree on the Sultan of Johor

Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, ruler of the state of Johor, was conferred the Honorary Doctor of Laws by NUS on 20 July, in recognition of his integral role in ensuring the peace, progress and prosperity of Johor, as well as strengthening bilateral ties between Malaysia and Singapore.

A special conferment ceremony, presided over by Madam Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore and NUS Chancellor, was held at the Istana.

The Honorary Degree is the University’s highest form of recognition for outstanding individuals who have rendered distinguished service and made significant impact, both locally and globally.

 “NUS is honoured and privileged to confer the Honorary Doctor of Laws on His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim,” said NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye.

“[He] is a distinguished leader and respected monarch of many outstanding attributes − a seasoned soldier, a benevolent philanthropist, and above all, a caring ruler who has the welfare of his subjects at heart.”

Exemplary leadership

Sultan Ibrahim, who has reigned as Sultan of Johor since 2010, was lauded for his numerous contributions as a dedicated leader of the people. A strong champion of Johor’s identity, Sultan Ibrahim is also known for his affinity for his subjects: he originated the Kembara Mahkota Johor in 2001, an annual royal motorcycle tour through the state – led by the Sultan himself – that allows the royal family to meet with and hear from fellow Johoreans, as well as raise funds for charity.


Delivering the citation for Sultan Ibrahim, Professor Simon Chesterman, who is Dean of NUS Law and NUS College, as well as Vice Provost of Educational Innovation, said, “His Majesty’s achievements cut across many fields. He is a wise monarch who has made important contributions to Johor and its people, including most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Sultan Ibrahim’s charity organisation, Yayasan Sultan Ibrahim Johor, had worked throughout the pandemic to ensure that Johoreans in need were provided with face masks, test kits, food, and other essential items. The Singapore government and Temasek Foundation, a Singapore-based non-profit organisation, also partnered with the charity in this endeavour, contributing vaccines and other medical supplies. 

Strong diplomatic relations

Sultan Ibrahim’s contributions in strengthening Singapore-Malaysia relations were also noted. In May this year, the Sultan had conferred Johor’s highest state honour – the First Class, Grand Commander of the Order, Dato’ Sri Paduka Mahkota Johor – on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

On this visit – his first official visit to Singapore as Sultan of Johor – Sultan Ibrahim called on President Halimah Yacob as well as Prime Minister Lee, who touched on Johor’s crucial role in maintaining close cooperation and connectivity between Singapore and Malaysia.

Describing Sultan Ibrahim as “a strong supporter of bringing the people on both sides of the Causeway closer together”, Prof Chesterman said in his citation speech, “As a testament to the strength of our ties and how intertwined we are, both sides worked tirelessly through the pandemic to facilitate cross-border travel and supply chain continuity in a safe manner.”

“Today, with the borders re-opened, families have reunited and Singaporeans and Johoreans have once again reconnected.”

This story is part of NUS News’ coverage of Commencement 2022, which celebrates the achievements of our 13,975 graduates through 28 in-person ceremonies. For more on Commencement, read our story on the opening ceremony, check out the official Commencement website, or look up (and tag) #NUS2022 on our social media channels! 


Read the press release here.