Tun Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi became the 5th Prime Minister of Malaysia on 31 October 2003.
Born on 26 November 1939 in Kampung Perlis, Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang, Tun Abdullah received his early education at Sekolah Kebangsaan Pematang Bertam. He later attended Bukit Mertajam High School, Penang Methodist Boys’ School and a religious school started by his family. Tun Abdullah pursued his tertiary education at the University of Malaya where he graduated with B.A.(Hons) in Islamic studies in 1964.
Upon graduating, Tun Abdullah joined the civil service, where he started his career as Assistant Secretary in the Public Services Department in 1964. In 1969, Tun Abdullah moved to the National Operation Council (NOC) or Majlis Gerakan Negara (MAGERAN), a body responsible to exercise the ruling powers for the country after the May 1969 racial riots. Tun Abdullah was later promoted to the Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports as Director General (1971-1973) and Deputy Secretary General in 1974.
Tun Abdullah resigned from Government service in 1978 to pursue a political career. A loyal UMNO member since 1965, he was elected UMNO Supreme Council Member in 1981, and UMNO Vice President in 1984, 1987, 1990 and 1996. Tun Abdullah became UMNO Deputy President in 2000.
Tun Abdullah won his first election for the Parliamentary seat of the Kepala Batas constituency in 1978, (a seat he has retained since). In the same year, Tun Abdullah was appointed to his first post in the administration of the Government of Malaysia, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Federal Territory Ministry. Tun Abduulah was then promoted to Deputy Minister in the same Ministry in 1980. Tun Abdullah later held the post of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department from 1981 to 1984; and Minister of Education from 1984 to 1986; Minister of Defence from 1986 to 1987; and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 15 March 1991 to 1999. In January 1999, Tun Abdullah was appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs. Tun Abdullah is also the Minister of Defence.
Tun Abdullah married the late Datin Seri Endon Dato’ Mahmood in 1965 and after 40 years of marriage, lost her after a prolonged battle with cancer on 20 October 2005. They have 2 children and 5 grandchildren. Tun Abdullah married Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah on 9 June 2007. Datin Seri Jeanne has two daughters.
Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad became the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia on 16 July 1981.
Born on 20 December 1925 in Alor Setar, the capital of the State of Kedah, Tun Dr. Mahathir did his early and secondary education in his home town. In 1947, he gained admission into the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore.
Upon graduation, he joined the Malaysian government service as a Medical Officer. He left in 1957 to set up his own practice in Alor Setar.
Tun Dr. Mahathir has been active in politics since 1945. He has been a member of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) since its inception in 1946.
He was first elected as a Member of Parliament following the General Elections in 1964. However, he lost his seat in the subsequent General Election in 1969. Owing to his keen interest in the country’s education, he was appointed Chairman of the first Higher Education Council in 1968, Member of the Higher Education Advisory Council in 1972, Member of the University Court and University of Malaya Council, and Chairman of the National University Council in 1974.
In 1973, Tun Dr. Mahathir was appointed a Senator. He relinquished this post in order to contest in the 1974 General Elections where he was returned unopposed. Following the elections, Tun Dr. Mahathir was appointed the Minister of Education.
In 1976, Tun Dr. Mahathir was made Deputy Prime Minister in addition to his Education portfolio. In a Cabinet reshuffle two years later, he relinquished the Education portfolio for that of Trade and Industry. As Minister of Trade and Industry, he led several investment promotion missions overseas. Tun Dr. Mahathir was elected as one of the three Vice Presidents of UMNO in 1975. In 1978, he won the Deputy President seat and in 1981, he was appointed President of the party. He was returned unopposed as President in 1984.
In the 1987 party elections, Tun Dr. Mahathir defeated his challenger to retain the Presidency and in 1990 and 1993, he was again returned unopposed as party President. Under his leadership, the ruling party Barisan Nasional (National Front) won landslide victories in the 1982, 1986, 1990, 1995 and 1999 General Elections.
Tun Dr. Mahathir is married to a doctor, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah bt Mohd Ali, and they have seven children Marina, Mirzan, Melinda, Mokhzani, Mukhriz, Maizura and Mazhar.
Tun Dr. Mahathir stepped down as Prime Minister on October 31st 2003.
Tun Hussein Onn was Malaysia’s third prime minister, leading the country from 1976 to 1981. He was born in Johor Bahru, Johor on February 12, 1922 to Dato Onn Jaafar and Datin Halimah Hussein.
He received his early education in Singapore and at the English College in Johor Bahru. After leaving school, he joined the Johor Military Forces as a cadet in 1940 and was sent a year later to the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun, India. Upon completion of his training, he was absorbed into the Indian Army and served in the Middle East when the Second World War broke. After the war, his vast experience prompted the British to employ him as an instructor at the Malayan Police Recruiting and Training Centre in Rawalpindi.
Tun Hussein came back to Malaysia in 1945 and was appointed Commandant of the Johor Bahru Police Depot. The following year he joined the Malaya Civil Service as an assistant administrative officer in Segamat, Johor. He was later posted to the state of Selangor, becoming Kelang and Kuala Selangor’s district officer.
Tun Hussein, who came from a family with deep nationalistic spirit and political roots, resigned from the civil service to go into politics. In 1949, he became the first youth chief of UMNO (United Malays National Organisation), a party his father helped established. In 1950, he was elected the UMNO secretary general. Tun Hussein however left UMNO in 1951 to join his father in forming the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP).
With IMP losing momentum, Tun Hussein went to London to study law at Lincoln’s Inn, qualifying as a Barrister-at-Law. He came back as a certified lawyer and practiced in Kuala Lumpur.
Tun Hussein returned to politics in 1968 after being persuaded by Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak to rejoin UMNO. He stood in and won the general elections in 1969 and was then appointed as the education minister. Tun Hussein’s meteoric rise continued when on August 13, 1973 he succeeded the late Tun Dr Ismail as the Deputy Prime Minister. On January 15, 1976 he was appointed as the prime minister of Malaysian after the passing away of Tun Razak.
Tun Hussein is renowned for stressing on the issue of unity through policies aimed at rectifying economic imbalances between the communities. For instance, April 20, 1981 saw the National Unit Trust Scheme being launched. He also gave serious consideration to the concept of Rukun Tetangga and the fight against the drug menace.
Tun Hussein, who was married to Toh Puan Suhaila Tan Sri Haji Mohd Noah, underwent a coronary bypass in early 1981. On July 17 the same year, he retired from active politics and relinquished his prime minister post due to health concerns. He passed away on May 29, 1990 at the age of 68.
For his efforts in promoting goodwill among the various communities, Tun Hussein Onn is remembered as the Father of Unity.
Tun Abdul Razak succeeded Tunku Abdul Rahman as the second Prime Minister of Malaysia, heading the country from 1970 to 1976.
Born in Pulau Keladi, Pahang on March 11, 1922, Tun Razak is the only child to Dato’ Hussein bin Mohd Taib and Hajah Teh Fatimah bt Daud. A bright student, Tun Razak received his early education at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar in 1934.
After joining the Malay Administrative Service in 1939, he was awarded a scholarship to study at Raffles College in Singapore in 1940. His studies at the college ceased with the onset of the Second World War.
With a Malayan Union scholarship, Tun Razak left for Britain in 1947 to study law. In 1950 he received a Degree of an Utter Barrister from Lincoln’s Inn. During his student days in England, Tun Razak was a member of the British Labour Party and a prominent student leader of the Kesatuan Melayu Great Britain (Malay Association of Great Britain). He also formed the Malayan Forum, an organisation for Malayan students to discuss their country’s political issues.
Upon his return, Tun Razak joined the Malayan Civil Service. Owing to his political caliber, in 1950 he became the youth chief for United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). Two years later, he worked as the Assistant State Secretary of Pahang and in February 1955, at just 33 years of age, became Pahang’s Chief Minister. He stood in and won the country’s first general elections in July 1955 and was appointed as the Education Minister. Tun Razak was also a member of the February 1956 mission to London to seek the independence of Malaya from the British.
After the general elections in 1959, he became the Minister of Rural Development in addition to holding the portfolios of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence. His achievements include formulating the development policy known as the Red Book. On September 1970, Tun Razak succeeded Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Tun Razak is also renowned for launching the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1971. He and the “second generation” of Malay politicians saw the need to tackle vigorously the economic and social disparities which fuelled racial antagonism. The NEP set two basics goals – to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty, and to reduce and eventually eradicate identification of economic function with race.
Tun Razak set up the National Front on January 1, 1973 to replace the ruling Alliance Party. He increased the membership of its parties and coalitions in an effort to establish “Ketahanan Nasional” (National Strength) through political stability.
For his contributions in the area of national and rural development, Tun Abdul Razak is known as the Father of Development.
For his contributions and sacrifices in bringing the country from colonialism to independence, Tunku Abdul Rahman is known as the Father of Independence. He became the first prime minister of the Federation of Malaya from 1957 to1963, and of Malaysia from 1963 to 1970.
Tunku was born on February 8, 1903 in Alor Setar, the capital of the State of Kedah. He is the seventh prince of Sultan Abdul Hamid Shah, the twenty fourth Sultan of Kedah, and Che Manjalara. Said to be a robust and bright boy with a particular fondness for sports, Tunku received his early education at the Debsurin School, Bangkok and Penang Free School.
On a Kedah Government scholarship, he went on to study at St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in law and history in 1925. A firsthand experience in racial discrimination with the college’s administration was said to have intensified his conviction in fighting for equality and ignited his desire in making his homeland an independent state, free from British colonialism.
His leadership flair also unfolded in England. Realising the Malay students there were not represented by any organisation, he established the Kesatuan Melayu Great Britain (Malay Association of Great Britain) and became its first secretary.
After returning home, he joined the Kedah Civil Service as a cadet in the Legal Advisor’s Office, and then as a district officer in several Kedah districts. He proved unpopular among some British officials thanks to his outspokenness and tendency to introduce reforms in his quest to improve the living standards of the people.
His attempt at completing his law studies at the Inner Temple in England in 1938 came to a halt due the outbreak of the Second World War. He resumed his studies eight years later and came home with his legal qualifications in 1949.
The political awareness he gained while making friends with people from various nations in England did not go to waste, when he was made chairman of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) soon after his return. On August 26, 1951, Tunku became the UMNO President succeeding Dato’ Onn Jaafar. He travelled all over the country meeting people from all walks of life to promote unity. His efforts in overcoming the country’s political problems by way of cooperation among the various ethnic groups saw the birth of the Alliance Party in 1955.
Under his leadership, the Alliance won the country’s first general election in July 1955. Tunku was then appointed the country’s Chief Minister and Minister of Home Affairs. In 1956, he led a mission to London for a discussion with the British government concerning the independence for Malaya. The meeting resulted in the signing of the Independent Treaty at Lancaster House in London on February 8, 1956 and consequently, the independence of Malaya in August 31, 1957. Tunku was then elected as the first Prime Minister of Malaya, and led the Alliance to victory in the 1959, 1964 and 1969 general elections.
Malaysia Prime Minister Biography