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Saturday, 11 June 2011



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. He was 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.

His Siamese mother Che Menjalara, who was the fourth wife to the Sultan, believed that the compassion and mercy associated with her son’s birth distinguished him from his siblings. She was right, but only partially, for his son would go on to be a distinguishable figure quite apart from other men of his time. 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.
Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj will be posthumously honoured by The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in London, in conjunction with its 400th anniversary celebrations this year.
Malaysian Inner Temple Alumni Association secretary, S. Radhakrishnan, said that last November, the benchers of the Inner Temple agreed that some form of commemoration should be commissioned to honour Tunku Abdul Rahman, as one of its former students. He said the executive committee of the Malaysian Inner Temple was considering various proposals on how best to honour the first prime minister.
The Tunku proved to be a natural leader. He had a keen foresight, was headstrong, gregarious in character, and had this amazing ability to gain people’s trust and friendship, irregardless of their background, race or religion. There were no airs about him, and he seemed to adapt naturally to his surroundings.
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.

Bernama here today.

The Tunku was a barrister of the Inner Temple where he was called to the English Bar in 1949. Prior to this, the Inner Temple has honoured its former student, the former English prime minister Clement Atlee, with his portrait near the fire place in the Inner Temple.

Mahatma Gandhi who was called to the English Bar at the Inner Temple in 1891, has also been honoured by the Inn.Radhakrishnan said upon his retirement, the Tunku played an important role as secretary-general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

“This includes having a portrait of Tunku Abdul Rahman to be placed in a prominent location in the building of the Inner Temple in London,” Radhakrishnan told

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