The founding of IIUM was first proposed by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, during a visit to the United Arab Emirates in January 1982. On January 12, 1982, the Prime Minister, in a meeting with Datuk Amar Dr. Sulaiman Daud, the Director-General of Education, Tan Sri Dato’ Hj. Murad bin Mohd. Nor, and senior civil servants and officials from local universites, formalized the decision. A committee made up of vice-chancellors, senior officers of the Ministery of Education, and representatives from the Prime Minister’s department was the formed. The initial concept paer was prepared by Tan Sri Prof. Dr. Kamal Hassan, and it was accepted after deliberation by the Ministry of Education and approved by the Prime Minister on February, 12, 198. Eventually, Dato’ Dr. Ariffin Suhaimi, who later became deputy rector- cum-acting rector at IIUM, was made chairman of the coordinating committee and project coordinator. Tan Sri Prof. Dr. Kamal Hassan was made a member of the curriculum committee which included the high profile personality who was then in the Ministry of Education, Dato’ Dr. Abdul Hamid Othman.
On may 20, 1983, the International Islamic University
Malaysia received the Establishment Order from His Majesty, the King, Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Abu Bakar Ri’ayatuddin al-Mu’adzam Shah, after diplomatic notes and co-sponsorship were exchanged between the Malaysian goverment and Bangladesh, Egypt, Libya, Maldives, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
The university was formed and incorporated according to the Companies Act (1965) on May, 10, 1982 at which thr Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association were accepted as the constitution of the University and the name “The International Islamic University Malaysia” established.
With the formation of the university under the Companies Act, the project coordiantor, who was given thr authority by the Ministry of Education, no longer had jurisdictio. The authority now belonged to the University board. The temporary Board of Directors, now the Board of Governors, convened on May 21.1983 and decided to make the project coordinator the Company Secretary. The Company Secretary was given the power by the Board to from a selection committee to recruit personnel and prepare the groundwork to set up the physical infrastructure of the university. The permanent members of the Board of Directors was formed after the subscribers registered the names of members with the Registrar of Companies. This permanent Board, in its inaugural meeting, held on September 3, 1983, made a rectification “to make official all the work carried out by the Project Task Committee of the University which had previously used the the power of the Company Secretary under the authority of the subscribers”. The University Council was also formed on this occasion and a meeting held. The Council unanimously moved to call upon the first President of the University, Y.A.B. Tun Hussien Onn, the third Prime Minister of Malaysia, to appoint “the Project Coodinator” the Deputy Rector of the University, “and act in place of the Rector. As Acting Rector and Project Coodinator, Prof Dato’ Dr. Ariffin Suhaimi was able to convene the first Senate meeting on September 16, 1983 and announce the establishment of the following faculties :
1. Faculty of Law
2. Faculty of Economics
3. Centre of Funamental Studies
4. Quranic Language Unit
5. English Language Unit
The courses that were to be offered in the first semester were approved in this meeting. The Senate also established that these academic programmes be set up :
1. Bachelor of Law (LLB)
2. Bachelor of Economics (B.Ec.)
3. Bachelor of Business Studies (B.B.S)
In this historic meeting, the following commitee were also established :
1. The Board of Studies of the Faculty of Law.
2. Library Committee
3. Computer Committee
4. Student Affairs Committee
5. Committee for Academic Developement 1984
It was also at this time that the draft of the Examination Regulations was reviewed. In December, 1983, Tan Sri Prof. Dr. Muhammad M.Abdul Rauf , the world reowned scholar, was made IIUM’s first Rector. The first heads for different centres, departments, and kulliyyahs were subsequently appointed: Prof. Dato’ Dr. Ismail Ibrahim for the Language Centre, Dato’ Wan Umar for the English Department, Ustaz Razali Nawawi for the Kulliyyah of Laws, Professor Datuk Dr. Syed Othman Al-Habshee for the Kulliyyah of Economics and Ustaz Mokhtar Shafie for the Centre of Fundamental Knowledge.
In administration, apart from Prof. Dato’ Dr. Ariffin Suhaimi, Haji Nawawi was made Registrar and Secretary of the Majlis, Haji Ahmad Affandy the Deputy Registrar, Mr. Adnan the Bursar, and Hajjah Kalthom the librarian. Under the leadership of Tan Sri Prof. Dr. M.Abdul Rauf, The Rector, the university forged ahead. On the demise of Tun Hussein Onn, Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim became the second President. After Prof. M.Abdul Rauf completed his term, the new President appointed Dr.Abdul Hamid Abu Sulayman, a Saudi Arabian living in the United States, to take over the helm. Under his leadership, new academic programmers were added and the Gombak campus built. In 1998, Dato’ Dr. Abdul Hamid Abu Sulayman left, and the leadership of the university was taken over by Tan Sri Prof. Kamal Hassan and the Presidency fell to Dato’ Seri Najib b. Tun Abdul Razak for a short spell before it was passed on to Tan Sri Sanusi Junid.
Venue of the University
The International Islamic University Malaysia started out by renting a building in Petaling Jaya from Lembaga Kolej Islam, Malaya, a premise which is still occupied even today. In the search for a site for the permanent campus, the goverment suggested a number of places. It was initially determined that Janda Baik was a suitable location. This decision was later abandoned for Pelesong Paip 3, which was close to Bentong. However, His Majesty, the Sultan of Pahang, the Constitutional Head of the University magnanimously offered land in Indera Mahkota, a new city close to Kuantan. At this juncture, the 800-acre land in Janda Baik had remained untouched for years, and the Petaling Jaya campus in 1989, had 1600 students which near full capacity. After some deliberation, it was decided that the campus would be built in Gombak. Issues on the effect of building a university on a 700-acre piece of land on the enviroment was quickly put to rest. The urgency to build a new campus was mounting, and His Majesty had pronounced reminders on various occasions to OIC member countries to make good on their promise to help build IIUM. Finally, in 1990, Tun Dr. Mahathir laid the foundation stone and this was followed by a rapid building of the campus.