Tan Sri Dr Palan’s work has been dedicated to helping people learn and perform for the last four decades. He has had a lifelong pursuit of promoting affordable and quality education with equitable access to all. He has been at the forefront of making significant contributions to the world of work, education, healthcare and entrepreneurship.
He is committed to upholding the University’s core mission of quality education and research by ensuring high academic standards. Over the years, he has led efforts to build industry partnerships and talent. As a social entrepreneur, he is enthusiastic about successful graduate outcomes and employability.
Tan Sri Palan, a Malaysian, lives with his family in Cyberjaya, Malaysia.
He is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School (Advanced Management Programme) and has studied on four continents. He studied at Madras University for his Bachelor’s degree in Science (Chemistry at New College) and Master’s degree in Social Work (Medical and Psychiatry at the Madras School of Social Work). He then achieved a Master’s degree in Psychology of Work from Leicester University, United Kingdom, a PhD (Education) from Federation University, Ballarat, Australia and a PhD (Management) from California Coast University, Santa Ana, United States of America (USA).
He is certified and qualified to use several psychometric tools and facilitate several talent development programmes. He is a Certified Speaking Professional, the highest earned award from the National Association of Speakers, USA.
Tan Sri Palan's entrepreneurial success includes taking both his Human Resources (HR) startup and education company public. He has served as the Chairman of SMRT Holdings Berhad, a publicly listed company on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad. He has also served as the Group Managing Director of Minda Global Berhad, a publicly listed company on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad.
Tan Sri Palan is the author of 20 books and has written several articles. He started his career as a lecturer in management studies. Subsequently, he pursued his passion for human resources development, working in various roles in different countries for several progressive organisations before he became an entrepreneur and starting a professional HR services firm.
He has travelled globally to share his work with both the academic community and the business world. He is a keen researcher devoted to improving the quality of learning with his ‘FUN X Content = Results’ model. Currently, his principal research interest is in Skills Gaps and Technical Vocational Education and Training and individual well-being. His first doctoral thesis focused on performance management in Asian Cultures, and his second doctoral thesis was centred on Vocational Education in Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. His Master’s thesis were centred on the effectiveness of primary health care centres and competency management.
He stepped down as part of a succession plan in January 2022. While he considers his domain expertise as being in Entrepreneurship, Education and Human Capital Management, he has significant experience in Corporate Governance and General Management, having served in several board positions and senior management roles.
He has also been recognised for his contributions to society. He was appointed by the King of Malaysia to serve as an independent member of the Emergency Committee during the pandemic crisis. He has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the University Malaya Specialist Centre and Malaysia’s premier Quaternary Hospital, the Director of University Malaya, Malaysia’s oldest University and the Director of UM Holdings Berhad. He served two terms with the Human Resources Development Corporation, Malaysia and a term as the Council Member of the Malaysian Institute of Management and the Chairman of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Chamber of Commerce Working Committee on Human Resources Development.
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