Distinguished Science Alumni Awards 2004
Politician, Public Servant, Community Leader
Dr Ahmad MATTAR was educated at Raffles Institution and the then University of Singapore where he entered the Faculty of Science in 1959 and obtained a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Physics in 1963.
He then joined the teaching staff of the Department of Building Science at the University of Singapore and while a staff member he completed his PhD in 1977 with a thesis on the topic "A statistical study of traffic noise in private housing estates in Singapore." His work on traffic noise in Singapore was the first such large-scale study to have been done in Singapore, and its results formed the basis for later studies as well as for later legislation on traffic noise.
In 1972, he entered politics and successfully contested for a seat in Parliament, representing the constituency of Brickworks, and was to remain in Parliament until 1996.
During his long and distinguished political career, he has held many senior government positions, first as Parliamentary Secretary for Education and then as Minister for Social Affairs, and finally as Minister for the Environment. During his tenure as Minister for the Environment, Dr MATTAR made substantial contributions to the preservation and enhancement of the environment in Singapore.
He has also made significant contributions to the welfare of the Malay/Muslim community in Singapore.
In 1981, he led several Malay leaders in forming the Malay Children Steering Committee which was to be the precursor of MENDAKI, the Council for the Education of Muslim Children. When Yayasan MENDAKI was founded in 1982, he was its first President. MENDAKI was subsequently restructured in 1989 to become the Council for the Development of the Singapore Muslim Community, with Dr MATTAR as its first Chairman.
In 1996, he retired from Politics and went into the private sector, as Chairman of Mabetex Enviro-World Pte Ltd and also served on the National Council on the Environment, where he continued to serve environmental interests. He is currently the Chairman of IMC Technologies, a private educational institution, where he continues to make contributions to education in Singapore.
"Science has taught me to be methodical in my approach to things in life. Once you form the habit, it just becomes ingrained in your lifestyle."