Saturday, January 30, 2010


Tun Abdul Razak was the son of an aristocrat from the state of Pahang in Malaysia. His father was a high ranking official in Pahang and was close with members of the royal court. However, Tun Abdul Razak was cared for by his grandfather and other relatives in Jambu Langgar. Tun Abdul Razak was born on the 11th of March 1922 in Pulau Keladi, Pekan, Pahang. His father was Datuk Hussein b. Mohammad Taib and mother Datin Teh Fatimah Hj. Daud and he was their eldest child. His younger sister was Datin Maimunah who married a former Chief Minister of Pahang named Datuk Mohammad Jusof.

Although Tun Abdul Razak was a son of an aristocrat he was brought up in a village life and lived the life of a village boy. It was normal for him to be covered in mud and grime. In fact since a child he often was drenched in sweat as he toiled in the paddy fields helping his family. In the village, he was not perceived as the son of a high ranking state official but his nature and character made him the same as any other village boy.

At the age of 6, he was enrolled at a village school which walls were made of wood and roof of palm leaves. Like any other kampong boy he went to school barefooted. Every day he went to school with one cent as pocket money. It was with that money that he spent on food and drinks. At times his grandfather could not even afford that.

Life in the paddy fields and orchard covered with mud and crossing bunds, lanes and undergrowth barefooted was something he always remembered. It was his experience of hardship and adversity in his early life in a country under the hands of the Japanese and English that ingrained the determination to continue his studies to the highest level.

While in primary school in the village he was not arrogant nor did he act like a snooty aristocrat son. His humbleness and humility made his schoolmates and teacher treat him like any other village boy. After school he used to go to the surau to learn to read the Quran which was a normal thing done by every Muslim village boy. It was a part of his daily routine.

In 1933, Tun Abdul Razak was chosen by the Resident of Pahang to continue his education at Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK). He enrolled here on the 26th of January 1934. At the beginning of his tenure here Tun Abdul Razak faced a hurdle because he hadn't studied English at his village primary school. However with sheer hard work and determination he was able to overcome this and obtained good results in his first year. Most extraordinary was that he able to get double promotion and sat for his School Certificate Examination and passed in 1937.

After completing his studies at MCKK he obtained a scholarship to continue his studies at Raffles College in Singapore in the field of law, economy and history for 3 years to get a diploma. The diploma was the highest level offered at the college at that time. It was Raffles College where Tun Abdul Razak noticed something compared to the time he was in MCKK. At Raffles College there were students from all races unlike at MCKK where there were only those from the Malay race and children of Royalty only. However at Raffles the majority were Chinese.

It was here that he met several Malay students from Pahang and Johor that became friends and members of the cabinet when the country got her independence. Tun Abdul Razak managed to pass his first year paper at Raffles College however unfortunately the Second World War broke out where the Japanese army had already attacked Singapore and Malaya thus his education was halted. As security was not certain due to the war he returned to his village Jambu Langgar and lived with his family. He returned to the village life of eking a living in the fields and catching fish.
Although that kind of life led to a healthy body but it also stifled his soul that wanted to excel and move forward. Finally he went to Bentong a town in Pahang to see if his father could help him get a job. However unfortunately at that time all jobs especially those in the government were under the care of the Japanese army. So he asked for a loan of a couple of hundred dollars from his father and with a few friends he started a weekly paper called "The Gegaran Masa". The Japanese army was not happy with this.

In secret Tun Abdul Razak joined the underground army by helping the 'force 136' which was an elite unit of the allied force that were dropped by parachute in Malaya to sabotage the Japanese army. When the Japanese surrendered, Tun Abdul Razak held the rank of Captain and due to his contribution to the allied army he was given a Malayan Union scholarship by the Colonial government to study law in England in 1947.

He excelled his law studies with flying colours by finishing his studies in 18 months thus in 1950 he received his Degree of an Utter Barrister from Lincoln's Inn. During his student days he was a member of the British Labour Party and a prominent student leader of the Malay Association of Great Britain. It was at this time he met Tunku Abdul Rahman who at that time was in England.
Tun Abdul Razak met his wife to be Toh Puan Hajjah Rahah when he attended a United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) function which was held at the home of the late Tan Sri Noah her father. They were married on the 4th of September 1952 and were blessed with 5 children Najib who was named after the President of Eygpt on the 23rd of July 1953, Ahmad Johari 29th September 1954, Mohd. Nizam 3rd October 1958, Mohd. Nazim 3rd March 1962 and fifth Mohd. Nazir 19th November 1966. He would always come home for lunch if he did not have any functions.
Toh Puan Hajjah Rahah is active in Kaum Ibu (women's organization of UMNO), the National Federation of Women's Institutes, and the Women's International Club, Kuala Lumpur. Recently, she was elected President of the National Ladies Hockey Federation.

Due in part to leukemia, Tun Abdul Razak died on January 14, 1976 while seeking medical treatment in London.