Today would be the 114th birthday of the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra. Better known as the Father of Independence, Tunku was born on this date, 114 years ago in Alor Setar, the seventh prince of the Sultan of Kedah. He qualified as a lawyer, served in the Malayan Civil Service, then led the movement for independence through UMNO of which he was President from 1951 to 1970. He passed away on 6th December, 1990. May his soul rest in peace. Al-Fatihah. Below is a tribute written by his son, Tunku Dato’ Seri Ahmad Nerang, many years ago, as contained within the book, “Tunku: Still the Greatest Malaysian”.

by Tengku Dato’ Seri Ahmad Nerang Putra

There were times when I had dreams of Tunku, but could not interpret what they were all about. But I organised a kenduri (feast) each time this happened. There was a time when I “saw” the image of Tunku sitting on the sofa after I came down from my morning prayer. Once, I saw a big butterfly, brown in colour , in my car. How it entered my locked car, I cannot understand. I looked at the butterfly, it looked sad in the eyes. I came out of the car to let it go, but it wouldn’t fly away at first. Finally it did. I dreamed about Tunku again not long after that. Tunku’s clothes matched the colour of the butterfly. The next morning, I saw the butterfly again, resting on top of my car. I organized another kenduri for this at home.

Although my aunties, uncles, and senior cousins always told me that Tunku was extremely fond of me, on his part, he never demonstrated his affection for me. To me, I would say that Tunku was not much of a family man. He was more of a man of the people, destined to serve the country and the people regardless of race, class, creed or religion. He always believed in and hoped for peace, prosperity, racial harmony, and religious tolerance among all races. He had always wished that the people of Malaysia would live happily. I sincerely pray that his belief and hope will not be in vain.