When we talk about the history of our nation, Malaysia, one name stands out and
that is Tunku Abdul Rahman. He earned the title `Father of Independence' because
he was the key person in our country's fight for independence. He was Malaysia's
first prime minister upon independence. His outstanding leadership gave our
newly independent country a strong start.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj was
the son of Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah of Kedah. Born in 1903 in Alor Setar,
he was educated in Bangkok and in Penang. He was an active student and was a boy
scout. Later on, the Tunku went to Cambridge University to study law and
history. When he returned to Malaya, he joined the civil service and became a
Tunku Abdul Rahman displayed leadership skills even as a university student.
He set up the Malay Student's Association of Great Britain and became its first
secretary. He was very popular among his peers because of his cheerfulness,
friendliness and great sense of humor. His ability to get along with people of
all races gained him many friends. Even though he was a prince, he was humble
and polite to everyone. He treated people equally whatever their status, race
and religion. He was a real gentleman.
The Tunku's greatest achievement is gaining independence for the country. He
had sleepless nights thinking of ways to gain support for his independence
campaign. He even sold his houses in Penang to raise funds for the campaign. In
1956, he led a team to London to discuss Malaya's independence with the British.
The trip was successful and Malaya became independent in 1957. Many countries
have to fight to gain independence. Thanks to the Tunku's leadership, Malaysia
was born without bloodshed. Naturally, Tunku Abdul Rahman became the country's
first prime minister. It was challenging to lead a young nation but the Tunku
faced up to the problems like a true leader. Most important of all, he succeeded
in uniting the different races.
Malaysia lost a great leader when Tunku Abdul Rahman died in 1990. He will be
remembered forever as a man who loved his country and his fellow citizens. I am
thankful and proud that our country had an outstanding leader like him.