Prime Ministers of Malaysia

From Tunku Abdul Rahman to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, this timeline presents the lives of the Prime Ministers of Malaysia.

1903-02-08 00:00:00

Birth of Tunku Abdul Rahman

Tunku was born on February 8, 1903 in Alor Setar, the capital of the State of Kedah. He was the seventh prince of Sultan Abdul Hamid Shah, the twenty fourth Sultan of Kedah, and Che Manjalara, the daughter of a Governor of a small province to the north of Bangkok. Conditions in Kedah during Tunku's childhood were said to be "apalling" with buildngs and roads in a state of disrepair. It was only in the mid-1920s that measures were taken to tackle the sanitary problems that beset the town. It also took years to control the spread of Malaria that inflicted many, including the Tunku himself (Of Political Bondage, Ranjit Gill).

1911-01-01 00:00:00

Tunku Abdul Rahman's early education: Alor Star

Tunku Abdul Rahman received his early education at Sultan Abdul Hamid College, the only Malay elementary school in Alor Star. He excelled in football. In 1909, his headmaster was "Master" Mohamad Iskandar, father of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia. "I was running wild with my classmates and used to swim in the river behind the palace which was infested with crocodiles. My mother was apalled and decided to send me to a Malay school instead," the Tunku admits. (Of Political Bondage, Ranjit Gill)

1913-02-01 00:00:00

Tunku Moves to Bangkok

Tunku Abdul Rahman went to Bangkok with his eldest brother, Tunku Yusuf ibni Sultan Abdul Hamid, who served in the Royal Thai Military Forces. There, Tunku attended Debsirin High School. His two-years stay in Bangkok came to a tragic end when his brother died, killed by bandits. Tunku was twelve years old at the time.

1916-02-01 00:00:00

Tunku attends Penang Free School

Tunku Abdul Rahman returned from Bangkok and was sent to study at the Penang Free School. In addition to football, he learnt to shoot and joined the Scouts.

1920-02-01 00:00:00

Tunku Enters Cambridge

When he was sixteen, Tunku Abdul Rahman received the first state scholarship to further his studies at Cambridge University. To get into Cambridge, he spent a year in England being tutored for the entrance examination. Tunku gained admittance into St Catherine's College. At Cambridge, Tunku started out to study law but then switched to History. As he was an enthusiastic sportsman, Tunku joined the St. Catherine's College Football Team. They entered the final inter-college league. Tunku scored a goal in the finals, but they were defeated. Among the connections he made in Cambridge was Ivor Jennings, who later became a constitutional lawyer and part of the panel that drew up the Malayan Constitution (Of Political Bondage, Ranjit Gill).

1922-02-12 00:00:00

Birth of Tun Hussein Onn

Tun Hussein was born on 12 February 1922, in Johore Bahru. He was the eldest of 8 children born to Dato' Onn Jaafar and Datin Halimah Hussein. Tun Hussein was born into a family with a strong and long lineage of active politicians and Malay administrators, particularly in the state of Johor. His grandfather, Dato' Ja'afar was the Advisor and Secretary of Johor during the reign of Sultan Abu Bakar, and was also the first Menteri Besar of Johor. His father, Dato' Onn Ja'afar, was later best recognised as the founder of the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO).

1922-05-11 00:00:00

Birth of Tun Abdul Razak

Tun Abdul Razak was born on March 11, 1922 at Pulau Keladi, Pekan, Pahang. His father, Dato' Hussein Mohd Taib was a Pahang aristocrat known as Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar Pahang. In 1920, Dato' Hussein Mohd Taib who was a Malay Officer, married Fatimah Haji Daud. She was a charming and simple kampung girl from a village near Pekan. Tun Abdul Razak was the couple's first child. Tun Abdul Razak was raised by his grandfather as his father was posted far away from home.

1923-01-01 00:00:00

Tun Razak's Early Childhood

Even though Tun Abdul Razak was born into an aristocrat family, he was raised very humbly. His family home was by far the largest and most prominent house in the district so there was much to do at home. Like other village boys, he bathed by the river as during that time, there was still no electricity nor running water at home. He looked after and rode his grandfather's buffaloes to the rice fields, jungle, and 'attap' schools. All these facets of village life and poverty made lasting impressions on his mind, one that would help him envision rural development in the future. (Tun Abdul Razak: A Phenomenon in Malaysian Politics)

1925-07-10 00:00:00

Birth of Tun Dr Mahathir

Tun Dr Mahathir was born on 10th July, 1925 (although officially, his birth date is recorded as 20th December 1925) at Kampung Seberang Perak, Alor Setar, Kedah, described by Tun himself as "the poorer quarters" of town. Tun Mahathir's parents were Mohamad bin Iskandar and Wan Tempawan binti Wan Hanafi and Tun was the youngest of nine siblings (six from the same mother and three from his father's previous marriage - Mohamad married Wan Tempawan after his first wife passed away). Tun's father was invited by the Kedah government in 1908 to start an English school in Alor Star. Among his students was Tunku Abdul Rahman, who would later become Malaya's first Prime Minister. Tun recalls that his father was a "strict disciplinarian" at school and at home. "..the sound of his cough when he came home was enough to send us scurrying back to our books and homework". Mohamad bin Iskandar was from Penang while Wan Tempawan was from Kedah. His father, Tun says, stressed on the importance of education and his mother taught him and his siblings Malay values, traditions and etiquette. (Source: A Doctor In The House, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad)

1925-12-01 00:00:00

Tunku Graduates from Cambridge University

Tunku received his Bachelor of Arts in law and history from the University of Cambridge in December 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 to make his homeland an independent state, free from British colonialism. He returned to Alor Star but was quickly ordered to return to England to complete his law studies. During this next six-year stay in England, he engaged in discussions with fellow Malayans, including Tunku Abdul Rahman (who later became the first King of Malaya), Nik Ahmad Kamil (who later became Menteri Besar of Kelantan) and Syed Sheikh Barakbah. Unity among the Malays occupied most of his thoughts. Tunku and around thirty other Malay students formed the Malay Society of Great Britain, a group that met regularly to discuss political issues and other matters affecting Malaya.

Prime Ministers of Malaysia

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