Tun Abdul Razak Dato’ Hussein
1970 - 1976
Tun Abdul Razak introduced the New Economic Policy in 1970 to eradicate poverty, and restructure society to address inter-ethnic economic imbalances. He also modernised the agricultural sector and introduced adult literacy classes in rural areas. For his contributions towards rural and national development, he is known as Malaysia’s “Father of Development”.
Born on 11th March 1922 in Pulau Keladi, Pekan, Pahang
Became the 2nd Prime Minister of Malaysia in 1970
Known as “Father of Development”
Tun Abdul Razak, the 2nd Prime Minister of Malaysia, is the son of Dato’ Hussein Mohd Taib and Teh Fatimah binti Daud. He graduated as an Utter Barrister from Lincoln’s Inn, London, and went on to politics after returning to Malaya in 1950. He was appointed as the Deputy President of UMNO in 1951, and joined the negotiations to achieve independence from the British. Tun Abdul Razak later became the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education after Malaya’s Independence in 1957. The New Economic Policy was his brainchild, with the purpose of eventually eradicating poverty, and restructuring society to overcome economic imbalances. Apart from that, Tun Abdul Razak also introduced the Green Book and Red Book, to plan and oversee rural development as well as the growth of the agricultural sector. For his contributions towards rural and national development, he is known as our country’s “Father of Development”.
- 1922 Born in Pekan, Pahang
- 1934 Selected by Pahang Resident to attend Kuala Kangsar Malay College (MCKK)
- 1939 Selected as a Student-Probationer to serve in Civil Service Department
- 1940 Attended Raffles College, Singapore
- 1941 Japanese Occupation in Malaya, studies interrupted
- 1943 Attended Koa Kunrensho courses in Singapore where he learned Japanese language, public administration, and military training
- 1951 Chosen as UMNO Deputy President
- 1951 Appointed as an unofficial member of the Federal Legislative Council
- 1952 Appointed as State Secretary of Pahang
- 1952 4th September – Married Tun Hajah Rahah
- 1955 Appointed as Acting Chief Minister of Pahang
- 1955 Alliance Party won 51 of 52 contested seats during the Malaya’s General Election. Tunku Abdul Rahman became Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya
- 1955 Appointed as Minister of Education Malaysia, and Chief Minister of Pahang
- 1956 Joined the London delegations to negotiate independence
- 1957 Appointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense
- 1959 Alliance Party won 74 of 95 contested seats during Federation of Malaya first General Election.
- 1959 Appointed as Minister of Rural Development
- 1960 Launched the Red Book which contained plans for rural development for every district
- 1961 Tunku proposed the idea for the formation of Malaysia
- 1962 Appointed as the Deputy Chairman of Cobbold Commission
- 1963 Malaysia is formed, consisting of the Federation of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore. Singapore however left Malaysia in 1965.
- 1963 Malaysia received threats from Indonesia who launched the Confrontation
- 1964 Alliance Parti won 89 of 103 contested seats during General Election
- 1966 Confrontation with Indonesia ended after President Sukarno was overthrown
- 1967 Took over the Ministry of Home Affairs after Tun Dr Ismail resigned the post
- 1967 Received the Magsaysay Awards from Philippines for his contributions in rural development
- 1969 Racial riot in Kuala Lumpur
- 1969 Appointed as Director of the National Operations Council (MAGERAN) to manage the country after the racial riot
- 1970 Jabatan Perpaduan Kaum was established and Rukunegara was formulated as a national philosophy
- 1971 Became the 2nd Prime Minister of Malaysia after Tunku Abdul Rahman resigned
- 1971 Parliament reconvened after 21 months of Emergency
- 1971 New Economic Policy was introduced
- 1973 Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman passed away; he was replaced by Tun Hussein Onn
- 1974 Started a diplomatic relationship with China; Tun Abdul Razak made an official visit at the end of May 1974
- 1975 Received treatment for leukemia in London
- 1976 14th January – Tun Abdul Razak Dato’ Hussein passed away
In 1955, Tun Abdul Razak was appointed as the Minister of Education. As the Minister of Education, he formulated the National Education Policy through the Razak Report 1956. The report was announced on 16th May 1956, and was drafted with the objective of changing the way students learn. Some of the issues included in the report were the standardisation of the syllabus in all schools across the country, using Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of learning in all educational institutions, and promoting racial harmony from pre-school. He also ordered the construction of more than 3,000 schools and enabled more than 3 million illiterate adults to read and write through special classes in rural areas.
In less than 6 years that Tun Abdul Razak became the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the country experienced high rates of growth. The New Economic Policy which was introduced in 1971 had the objective of eradicating poverty, and restructuring society to overcome economic imbalance. He and “the 2nd generation politicians” saw the need to close the socio-economic gap between races, especially after the racial riot of 13th May 1969.
Under his leadership, the country saw the rise of Bumiputera involvement in the economic sector especially with the establishment of agencies such as Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) and PERNAS, first proposed by the Bumiputera Economic Congress.
Tun Abdul Razak was especially concerned with rural development. He recognised the importance of socio-economic balance where everyone can contribute to, and benefit from, the country’s progress. He is known as Malaysia’s Father of Development due to his policy emphasis on rural and agricultural development.
One of his many innovations was the introduction of the Green Book, launched on 20th December 1974. The Green Book contained plans and guidelines for proper use of lands, short-term plantations, livestock, fresh water fish farms, markets and other small projects. The purpose of the Green Book was to increase the supply of food supplies for the whole country, generate income for rural folk as a method to control inflation, and encourage cooperation among citizens, their representatives, and government officials.
Prior to that, in 1960, Tun Abdul Razak launched the Red Book which contained development plans for every district. This book was made available at every State and District Operations Room nationwide as guidelines for government officials in their effort to develop rural areas. This includes plans for roads, drains, mosque, clinics, adult classes, telephones and much more. Through this effort, the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) was established.
Malaysia’s foreign policy under Tun Razak was a continuation of its domestic policies which focused on maintaining security and peace, economic strength, and other national interests. Under Tun Abdul Razak’s leadership, Malaysia shifted to a non-aligned policy and joined the Non-Aligned Movement in 1970. The country’s foreign policy shifted from a pro-Western one to neutral, where the country would maintain good relations with all countries regardless of ideologies. He also initiated diplomatic relations with China, and Indochina countries, and increase cooperation with ASEAN countries. At the same time, he stressed the importance of the ‘Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality’ (ZOPFAN) as well as the South East Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ). It was also during his time that Malaysia became a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and recognised as an Islamic country.
- Visit Tun Razak’s Interactive Timeline
- Download an infographic of Tun Razak’s biography
- Download a poster – English / BM
- A more elaborate biography presented in an interactive timeline is available here: http://www.perdana.org.my/pms-of-malaysia/visual-timeline
- You can also download an infographic version of our former Prime Minister’s biography here: http://www.perdana.org.my/pms-of-malaysia/biography-infographics