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Y.T.M Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj
Ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid

Translation by Syed Zulfilda S.M. Noor

The First Prime Minister of Malaysia

Fondly known as "The Father of Malaysia"
The First Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC)
The First President of PERKIM
The First President of Football Association of Malaysia (FAM)

Photo Album


Y.T.M Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Shah was born on the 8th of February, 1903 at Istana Pelamin, Alor Setar, Kedah. Tunku Abdul Rahman had his early education in 1909 at a Malay Primary School, Jalan Baharu, Alor Setar and was later transferred to the Government English School, currently known as Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Setar. Two years later, when he was just eight years old, he was sent to study at the Thebsurian School in Bangkok. In 1915, he continued his studies at Penang Free School.

In 1918, Tunku was awarded a Kedah State Scholarship to further his studies at St. Catherine College, University of Cambridge, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree. Tunku was the first student from Kedah to study in the United Kingdom under the sponsorship of the Kedah State Government.

Tunku's Career

  • Cadet Officer at the State Legal Office, Alor Setar.
  • Assistant District Officer, Sungai Petani and Kulim.
  • District Officer of Sungai Petani.
  • District Officer of Langkawi.
  • Deputy Director of Public Security, Kedah. (1940)
  • State Education Superintendent, Kedah. (1943)
  • Deputy Public Prosecutor, Federal Legal Department.
  • Chief Minister, Federation of Malaya. (1955)
  • Minister of Home Affairs.
  • The First Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Involvement in Politics

  • Division Head of UMNO, Kedah Division.
  • President of UMNO. (26 August, 1951)

Involvement in Social and Professional Organisations

  • Chancellor, University of Malaya (1962)
  • First President of PERKIM (Nov. 1982)
  • First Secretary-General of the Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC)
  • President, Football Association of Malaysia (FAM)

Tunku Abdul Rahman resigned from the Government Service on 26th August, 1951 to become the President of UMNO, replacing Dato' Onn Jaafar. As the President of UMNO, he has managed to solve numerous political problems in the Federation of Malaya, with the cooperation of various races. As a result, he succeeded in forging an alliance between the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC) and this was known as the Alliance, Party.

In the first general election held in July 1955, the Alliance won 51 of the 52 seats contested. After winning the said election, Tunku's next aim was to achieve independence. After consultations with the Malay Rulers, an agreement was reached between the various parties and a special mission left for London to negotiate for independence with the British government. The negotiation covered various problems which include the position of the Malay Rulers, the status of British civil servants currently serving in Malaya States, and the various steps that need to be taken during the transitional period prior to independence, including the date of independence. The Tunku wanted all these matters to be resolved quickly. Finally the Malaya succeeded in obtaining independence on 31st August, 1957.

On 28th December, 1955, Y.T.M Tunku, for the first time, met Chin Peng, the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) at Baling. The meeting was dubbed the 'Baling Talk'. The Baling Talk was regarded as a very important event for the country, because this was the beginning of serious steps taken by the country to defeat the communist insurgency. When the country became independent on 31st August 1957, the Tunku was made the first Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya. The new independent nation became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and it signed a Defence Treaty with the United Kingdom. In April 1959, Tunku resigned as the Prime Minister in preparation to contest the first general election held in August 1959. In the same month, after winning the general election, Tunku was once again appointed Prime Minister.

A few months after independence, Tunku made several goodwill visits to a few neighbouring countries such as Vietnam, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Japan and Brunei. In January 1959, Tunku proposed the formation of the Association of South East Asia countries (ASA) to develop regional cooperation in the economic and cultural fields. ASA was established in 1961. In May 1961, Tunku announced that the Federation of Malaya would sign a memorandum of understanding with Britain, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak to form a new nation to be known as Malaysia. This intention was strongly opposed by the Philippines and Indonesia. Nevertheless, the Federation of Malaysia was declared and established on 16th September, 1963, comprising of Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak. However, in August 1965, Singapore was forced to secede from Malaysia, and henceforth the Federation of Malaysia consists of 13 states.

Tunku's involvement in writing started early in life since the Malays in Kedah started opposing the establishment of the Malayan Union. He was the Editor of Watan magazine which was published in Alor Setar in 1946. Through that magazine, Tunku wrote several articles which succeeded in inculcating the spirit of nationalism among the Malays. Among Tunku's many articles that had been published were 'The Events of May 13', 'Looking Back', 'View Points', As a Matter of Interest', 'Lest We Forget', 'Challenging Times', 'Something to Remember', 'Political Awakening', 'Baling Talk', and 'Malaysia - The Road to Independence'.

In appreciation of his invaluable contributions, Tunku received numerous awards which among others include 'The Outstanding Malaysian of the Year' in 1987, the 'Honorary Citizen of London', the 'International Sports Award' from the Sports Academy of United States in 1981, 'The Replica of Dhu'l Faqar' from Al-Malik Faisal in 1983, 'Honorary Doctorate in Law' from the University of Oxford and the 'Roman Magsaysay' award in 1980. Tunku has also been exclusively acknowledged as the 'Father of Independence' and the 'Father of Malaysia'.

Y.T.M Tunku passed away at the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital on 6th December, 1990, and he was buried at the Langgar Royal Cemetery, Alor Setar on 7th December, 1990.

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