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Tun Zahir Bin Ismail

Translation by Syed Zulfilda S.M. Noor


Tun Zahir was born in Kedah Darul Aman on 19th March 1924. He received his early education at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star and continued his tertiary education at the Lincoln's Inn, London. He graduated with a law degree in 1955. Apart from this, he also obtained a Diploma in Journalism. Tun Zahir was the first Malay lawyer from Kedah who obtained a Barrister-at-Law degree from Lincoln's Inn, London in 1955.


  • Advocate & Solicitor (1956-1975)
  • Member of Kedah State Legislative Assembly (1959)
  • Member of Kedah State Executive Council (1959)
  • Senator (1963-1964)
  • Member of Parliament (1964-1969)
  • High Court Judge, Kota Bahru (1975-1982)
  • Speaker, House of Representatives, Parliament of Malaysia (1982-now)

Involvements in Social and Professional Organisations

  • Chairman, Advisory Board for the Coordination of Islamic Religious Education
  • Joint President, Inter-Parliaments Association, Malaysian Branch
  • Pro-Chancellor, University of Technology Malaysia (U.T.M.)
  • Member, Selangor Shooting Association
  • President, Alor Star Rotary Club
  • President, Family Planning Association, Kedah

Other Involvements at International Level

  • Member of Delegation from the Federation of Malaya to the United Nations
  • Representing the Federation of Malaya in Cobbold Fact-Finding Commission
  • President, Inter-Parliament of ASEAN
  • Joint President, Parliamentary Association of the Commonwealth, Malaysian Branch
  • President, Parliamentary Association, Asia Pacific Region
  • President, Asia Pacific Parliamentary Union
  • Permanent Committee Member, Conference of Speakers of the Commonwealth
  • Member of he Working Committee, Parliamentary Association of the Commonwealth
  • President, Parliamentary Association of the Commonwealth (October, 1995)
Involvements in Politics
  • Assistant Head, Kedah Utara UMNO Division

Tun Zahir made several contributions towards the publishing industry in this country. He has a keen interest in the field of writing right from an early age. Among his numerous contributions were articles and essays he wrote for magazines and newspaper. Apart from that, he was also active in writing dramas and novels such as 'Sungai Korok Wan Mat Saman', 'Pendekar Kundur', 'Cik Siti Wan Kembang', 'Unfederated Malay States Land Laws', 'Glimpses of Malay School HOSBA in the Early 30's', 'Mengejar Kebahagiaan' and 'Bukit Puteri'.

In appreciation of his services and contributions, he was bestowed with numerous awards which include the 'Johan Mangku Negara' in 1962, the S.P.M.K. (Kelantan) in 1975, the Dato' Setia DiRaja Kedah (D.S.D.K.) in 1981, the Panglima Mangku Negara (P.M.N.) in 1984, the Seri Setia Mahkota (S.S.M.) that carries the title Tun and the Seri Setia DiRaja Kedah (S.S.D.K.) in 2002.

Tun Zahir has also been awarded the Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy (Ph.D) in Management by the University of Technology Malaysia (U.T.M.) and the Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy by the Universiti Utara Malaysia (U.U.M.)

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