Biography Muhammad Haji Salleh

Profesor Emeritus (Universiti Sains Malaysia); Adjung Professor (Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan); Cert. Ed. (Brinsford), BA (Sing.), MA (Malaya), Am, Ph.D (Michigan)


Muhammad Haji Salleh, at present an emeritus  professor, in USM, has had a long and illustrious career in the schools and universities, in Malaysia, the U.S.A, Europe and Brunei—for about 45 years long.

He has taught and guided students at the undergraduate and post-graduate degrees—masters and PhD. However, on the other side of the academic he is a poet, translator, critic, theoretician, a founder president of at least three academic and  profesional associations. He has written, edited and translated more than 50 books in all, some of them academic and ground breaking, others experiments with new forms of poetic expression. He is a well known translator who tackles big narratives like the Hikayat Hang Tuah, Mishima’ s Spring Snow, Fauconnier’s Malaisie, contemporary Malaysian poetry and contemporary Western literary theories.

To date he is arguably the most well known Malaysian writer and literary scholar internationally. He has given papers and read poetry in Malaysia and in not less than 20 countries overseas. His works have been translated into at least 15 languages.

Muhammad’s  scholastic works dig deep into the soul of Malaysian literature, describing the genius of local oral as well as written works. They give a face and heart of a people in  dialogue with nature and man, sensitive and insightful, and often witty and humourous. These works also provide a concept of nature that is kind and sustainable.

He is at present working on describing a Malay philosophy which will include a concept of nature,  native ethno-aesthetics, a concept of a community and nation, governance, basic values and a social base of human  interaction.

Prof Muhammad has been awarded the Sasterawan Negara Malaysia (1991), Tokoh Akademik Negara (2008), Tokoh Majlis Sastera Asia Tenggara (2015), S.E.A. Write Award (1997), ASEAN Literary Prize (1977). On 18th March 2016 he is to receive the NUMERA International Literary Award.



Cert. Ed. (Brinsford), BA (Sing.), MA (Malaya), Am, Ph.D (Michigan)



1960Guru/Teacher, Trade School, Butterworth
1962Guru/Teacher, Government English School, Bagan Serai
1965Teacher, Sekolah Memengah Kebangsaan, Ipoh
1968Teacher, Sultan Abu Bakar School, Kuantan
1968-1970Tutor, Department of English, University of Malaya
1970Pensyarah dan Ketua, /Lecturer and Head of Department of English Language and Literature, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
1973-1974Pensyarah, IBKKM/Lecturer, Institute of Malay Language, Literature and Culture
1975-1976Pengarah/Director, IBKKM/Institute of Malay Language, Literature and Culture
1976-1977Ketua/Head, Jabatan Persuratan Melayu,/Department of Malay Letters, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
1978-1979Timbalan Dekan/Associate Dean, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
1976Profesor Madya/Associate Professor, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
1978-1999Profesor, Jabatan Persuratan Melayu/Professor, Department of Malay Letters, National University of Malaysia
1977-1978Visiting Professor, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Corolina
1981-1982“Asian Scholar-in-Residence”, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
1992-1993Fullbright Visiting Researcher, University of California, Berkeley
1993-1994Chair of Malay Studies, University of Leiden, Netherlands
1995-1999Director, Institut Alam dan Tamadun Melayu, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
1999-2000Senior Fellow, Center for SEAsian Stuides, Kyoto University, Kyoto
2000-2006Profesor, Pusat Pengajian Ilmu Kemanusiaan/School of Humanities, USM
2006-2008Penulis Tamu, Penerbit USM, Resident Writer, USM Press
2009Felo Kanan/Senior Fellow, Pusat Penyelidikan Dasar dan KajianAntarabangsa/Centre for Policy Research and International Studies, USM
2010-PresentPresident, Asian Folklore Association

Literary Involvement

Year Involvement
Setiausaha/Secretary, Jawatankuasa Puisi/Poetry Committee, Persatuan Penulis Nasional/National Writers Association.

Ahli/Member, Jawatankuasa Kerja/Working Committee, Persatuan Penulis Nasional/ National Writers Association
Pengerusi/Chairman, Kumpulan Penterjemah/Translators' Group
Chairman, Comparative Study of the Southeast Asian Literary Hero Project of the UNESCO Malay Culture Programme
Presiden Pengasas/Founder President, Persatuan Penterjemah Malaysia/Translators' Association of Malaysia
Yang Di Pertua/President, Persatuan Pengajian Melayu Malaysia/Malay Studies Association of Malaysia
Ahli/Member, Panel Anugerah Sastera Malaysia/ Panel of Judges for the Malaysian National Literary Awards
Timbalan Pengerusi/Vice Chairman, Yayasan Penataran Ilmu/ Foundation for the Development of Science
Ahli/Member, Panel Hakim Golden Award Panel, Panel of Judges for Tourist Development Corporation Golden Award
Ahli/Member, Panel Hakim Peraduan Cerpen New Straits Times- present Shell/Panel Judges for New Straits Times, Shell Short Story Competition