A tribute to Malaysian automotive doyen Aishah Ahmad

THE Malaysian automotive industry has lost a ‘legend’ in Datuk Aishah Ahmad Badjunaid who breathed her last in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Thursday (Feb 2).

Aishah, 71, who has helmed the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) as its president since 2000 had just finished performing umrah (mini haj) and was due to return to Malaysia today (Feb 4). She was laid to rest in Saudi Arabia yesterday (Feb 3).

“Datuk Aishah’s passing is indeed a great loss, not only to all members of the MAA but also the entire automotive industry,” noted the association in a media statement.

“Highly respected within the local automotive industry as well as by her foreign counterparts in ASEAN, APEC, and the Malaysian government, Datuk Aishah was a legend and one of the leading automotive personalities who devoted the best years of her life to contributing to the growth and development of the Malaysian automotive industry with her vision, dedication, and passion.”

Aishah has proven her mettle as the first woman chairman of the Malaysian Motor Traders Association (MMTA) from 1991 until MMTA merged with the Malaysian Motor Vehicle Assemblers Association (MMVAA) in 2000 to form MAA.

Aside from her capacity as MAA president, Aishah also served from 1998 until now as chairman of the Automotive Federation Malaysia (AFM), the umbrella association for MAA, the Malaysian Automotive Component Parts Manufacturers, and the Motorcycle and Scooter Assemblers & Distributors Association of Malaysia.

At the regional level, Aishah was president of the ASEAN Automotive Federation (AAF) for three terms: 2000–2002, 2008–2010, and 2015–2017.

“Under her stewardship, the MAA had grown in terms of stature, memberships, and resources. With her leadership and strong commitment, the association has engaged in numerous dialogues, discussions and proposals with the government to resolve industrial issues and review policies to support the expansion and sustenance of the automotive industry in Malaysia,” said the association.

According to the automotive portal, CarSifu, Aishah started her career in the mid-1970s with the Inchcape Group of Companies in Malaysia, at a time when senior positions in automotive companies were occupied by men.

She rose through the ranks of the industry, working for Ford Malaysia and Tractors Malaysia before retiring in 2021 as part of the Sime Darby Motors Division.

Despite her retirement, Aishah continued to serve as a board member for the Sime Darby Group of Companies.

Meanwhile, DRB-Hicom Group in a statement described Aishah as an industry stalwart who made substantial contributions to the Malaysian motor industry throughout her career.

“Her leadership, vision, and dedication in running the MAA have made a lasting impact on the industry and she will be remembered as a tireless champion for the growth and development of the automotive sector in Malaysia,” shared group managing director Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar.

“Her passing is a great loss to the industry and the entire community. DRB-Hicome extends its deepest sympathies to Datuk Aishah’s family, friends and colleagues. May Allah bless her soul and place her in Jannah (heaven).” – Feb 4, 2023

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