The concept of JAGAM,
the acronym for Japan Graduates═ Association of Malaysia was conceived
as early as 1970 by a group of 22 Malaysian graduates from Japanese
Universities at a meeting in Mirama Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The pro-tem
committee was led by the late Mr. Yeo Yan Kim and Mr. Gan Kok Eng
as President and Secretary General respectively. Initially, only
graduates with a degree were eligible for membership while those
who graduated from Tandai (2 year university or college diploma
courses) were disqualified from membership in accordance with the
strict definition of a ˝Graduateţ. Another reason was the main objectives
of the association to seek government recognition of members═ university
degrees and to ensure better treatment to Japan graduates by business
firms so that the disparity of treatment between Japan graduates
and those who graduated from the West would be reduced.
The idea of restricting JAGAM═s membership to only those with ˝Gakku-shi
or Bachelor═s degreeţ was not too well received by many other Japan
graduates who preferred a wider definition of the word ˝Graduateţ,
to include those with ˝diplomasţ achieved after a period of not
less than two years at an institution of higher learning in Japan.
Thus the first Executive Committee of JAGAM elected in 1972 registered
JAGAM with the Registrar of Society on 9 January 1973 under the
Society Act 1966, Rules of Association, 1966. The official name
and address of the association then was Persatuan Bekas Mahasiswa
Jepun, Malaysia (Japan Graduates═ Association of Malaysia), c/o
Japan Information Service, No. 1, Jalan Medan Tuanku, Kuala Lumpur.
The late Dr. Ngeow Jin Sin who was President of JAGAM from 1978-1979
together with Michael Lim Hong Chin, Mr. Eric Foo Ah Chai and Mr.
Toh Kiat Chuan made a historic visit to Penang on 17 June 1979 for
discussion with the President of PAJA (Penang Association of Japan
Alumni), Mr. Ooi Seoh Lin and his committee members regarding the
dissolution of PAJA to form JAGAM NORTHERN BRANCH. A technical problem
prevented the immediate dissolution of PAJA. On 27 April 1980, a
pro-tem committee led by Dr. Lau Poh Yok and Dr. Siow Kuang Ling
was formed by a small group of Japan graduates in Johor Bahru to
establish an association for Japan Alumni in the Southern Region.
However, the late Dr. Ngeow and Mr. Michael Lim who represented
JAGAM at their inaugural meeting held on 1 June 1980 at the Orchid
Hotel, Johor Bahru successfully convinced the delegates to join
JAGAM as JAGAM SOUTHERN BRANCH instead. Finally, on 10 January 1982
PAJA was dissolved and the establishment of JAGAM NORTHERN BRANCH
brought a united JAGAM for the country.