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
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.
- 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
- 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.