Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, CH (February 8, 1903December 6, 1990) usually known as "the Tunku" (a princely title in Malaysia), and also called Bapa Kemerdekaan (Father of Independence) or Bapa Malaysia (Father of Malaysia), was Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya from 1955, and the country's first Prime Minister from independence in 1957. He remained Prime Minister after Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore joined in 1963 to form Malaysia

Early life
Born in Istana Pelamin, Alor Star, Kedah, Abdul Rahman was the fourteenth son and twentieth child of Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, the twenty-fourth Sultan of Kedah. His mother, Cik Menjalara, was a daughter of Luang Naraborirak (Kleb), a Thai district officer during the reign of King Rama V of Thailand.
Abdul Rahman began his education in 1909 at a Malay Primary School, Jalan Baharu, in Alor Star and was later transferred to the Government English School, now the Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star, where he studied during the day and read the Qur'an in the afternoon. Two years later, when he was eight, he was sent to study at Debsirin School in Bangkok along with his three brothers. In 1915, he returned and continued his studies at Penang Free School.
In 1918, Abdul Rahman was awarded a Kedah State Scholarship to further his studies at St Catharine's College in the University of Cambridge, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1925. He was the first student from Kedah to study in the United Kingdom under the sponsorship of the Kedah State Government.
Upon his return home, Abdul Rahman worked in the Kedah public service and was appointed as District Officer of Kulim and Sungai Petani. Some time later he returned to England to complete his law studies at the Inner Temple, but was forced to stop in 1938 and, on the outbreak of World War II, he returned to Malaya. He resumed his studies at the Inner Temple in 1947 and, in 1949, he qualified for the Bar.
During this period Abdul Rahman met with Abdul Razak Hussein (later known as Datuk and Tun). He was elected president of the Malay Society of Great Britain, and Abdul Razak, who was twenty-six, was his secretary

Road to independence
In 1954 Abdul Rahman led a delegation to London to seek independence for Malaya, but the trip proved to be unfruitful. In the following year, the first federal general election was held, and the Alliance Party (Perikatan), a coalition of UMNO, the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC) won fifty-one out of the fifty-two seats contested. Abdul Rahman was elected as Malaya's first Chief Minister. The Alliance was later joined by the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC) in 1955, representing the Indian community.

Tunku Abdul Rahman proclaiming Malayan independence.
Later in 1955 Abdul Rahman made another trip to London to negotiate Malayan independence, and 31 August 1957, was decided as the date for independence. When the British flag was lowered in Kuala Lumpur on independence day, Abdul Rahman led the crowd in announcing "Merdeka!" (freedom!). Photographs of Abdul Rahman raising his hand, and recordings of his emotional but determined voice leading the cheers, have become familiar icons of Malaysian

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