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Y.T.M. Tunku Yaacob
Ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah

Translation by Syed Zulfilda S.M. Noor

The First Member of the Federation Legislative Council to hold the portfolio of Agriculture and Forestry.

The First Keeper of the Rulers Seal
The First Malaysian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

Photo Album


Y.T.M. Tunku Yaacob was born on 27 December, 1899 in Kota Kanchut, Alor Setar. Tunku received his early education at the Government English School also known today as the Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Setar. Later, he continued his studies at the Malay College, Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) from 1918 until 1921.

Tunku Yaacob pursued his studies at the Queen's College Cambridge, England in 1924 in agriculture and obtained his B.A degree. He pursued his studies in England upon given sabbatical study leave by the Kedah State Government. Since Tunku Yaacob only studied the European agricultural system, he was later sent to continue his studies in Tropical Agriculture at the Imperial College of Agriculture, Trinidad in 1929.


  • Probationary Officer, the Federated Malay States at Kerian district, Perak (22 September 1918)
  • Assistant Head, Land Office of Kubang Pasu District, Jitra for 6 months
  • Head, Land Office of Langkawi District in Kuah
  • Head, Land Office of Baling District (1921)
  • Agricultural Officer at the Agriculture Department of Kedah which today is known as the Department of Agriculture (14 February, 1930)
  • Head, Rural Industries Development, Kedah
  • Principal, Agricultural Officer Kedah (1936)
  • Agricultural Officer of Kedah (1946)
  • Advisor to UMNO in Agricultural Affairs
  • Deputy Director of Agriculture (1948)
  • The First Member of the Federation Legislative Council to hold the portfolio of Agriculture and Forestry (27 November 1949)
  • Member, Kedah State Government Legislative Council (1931-1949)
  • Appointed Acting Chief Minister of Kedah by the HRH. Sultan Badlishah following the illness of the Chief Minister, Haji Mohd Sheriff on 7 June 1950. The appointment of Tunku Yaacob as acting Chief Minister of Kedah was approved by the British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Gurney, a day before the official appointment i.e. 6 June. 1950.
  • The keeper of the Rulers Seal on October, 1950 in Kuala Lumpur. He was appointed twice (1950-1951 and 1954-1955)
  • Installed as the Regent of Kedah State following the departure of the HRH. Sultan Badlishah to United Kingdom and Europe (from 14 March, 1951 until 12 November, 1951)
  • Member, Legislative Council and the Federal Executive Council (from 9 April, 1951 until independence)
  • Chairman, Civil Service Commission at Federal level.
  • High Commissioner of the Federation of Malaya to the United Kingdom
  • Ambassador to Republic of Ireland (1958)
  • The first High Commissioner of Malaysia to the United Kingdom
  • Malaysian Ambassador to France, Switzerland and Belgium (1965)

Involvements in Social and Professional Organisations

  • President, Kedah Football Association (1935)
  • President, Federation of Kedah State Boy Scouts

Tunku Yaacob dikurniakan pingat dan darjah kebesaran serta gelaran Tunku Panglima Besar diatas sumbangan dan jasa baktinya kepada rakyat negeri Kedah.

Tunku Yaacob was the founder of the Weekly Market (Pekan Nat) which had produced many small-scale Malay entrepreneurs in 1932. It started from a weekly market at Tanjong Chali which was located at the station between Jalan Pekan China and Jalan Pengkalan Kapal in Alor Setar. The name 'Pekan Nat' was later changed to 'Pekan Rabu' in conjunction with Tunku Yaacob's birthday on Wednesday (Rabu). The site of Tanjong Chali was relocated to Jalan Tunku Ibrahim because the site at Tanjong Chali was rather cramped and will be the base to build a building for the Customs Department by the State Government. Today, Pekan Rabu is the landmark for commerce and enterprise for the Kedah Malays. The main intention for the establishment of the Pekan Rabu was to encourage the Bumiputeras especially the Malays to be involved in business.

Tunku Yaacob was one of the pioneers to organize the Tilawah Al-Quran Recital since 1937, starting from the Mukim until the State level. Kedah was the only state that had organised the Tilawah Al-Quran Recital event before World War Two erupted. From this pioneering effort, the Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman had enhanced this initiative to organise the Tilawah Al-Quran Recital at the national level in 1960 and followed that at the international level.

Tunku Yaacob's desire to see Malay society progress had made him well known among the populace of Kedah as the 'Kedah Malays' Father of Economic Development'. To honour his contributions and services, Tunku Yaacob was conferred the awards and order of chivalry the C.M.G., the Darjah Kerabat (D.K.) Johor, the P.M.S., and the S.P.M.S. On 23 February, 1959, Tunku Yaacob was bestowed the title Tunku Panglima Besar by the HRH Sultan Abdul Halim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah in conjunction with the installation of His Royal Highness at the Istana Anak Bukit. Tunku Yaacob passed away on 28 December, 1990.

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