Abdul Razak Hussein

Tun Haji Abdul Razak bin Dato' Hussein (Jawi: عبدالرزاق بن حسين‎; 11 March 1922 – 14 January 1976) was a Malaysian politician who served as the 2nd Prime Minister of Malaysia from September 1970 to his death in January 1976. He is referred to as the Father of Development (Bapa Pembangunan).

Abdul Razak Hussein

عبدالرزاق حسين
Tun Abdul Razak 1968.jpg
Abdul Razak in 1968
2nd Prime Minister of Malaysia
In office
22 September 1970 – 14 January 1976
Preceded byTunku Abdul Rahman
Succeeded byHussein Onn
1st Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia
In office
31 August 1957 – 22 September 1970
Prime MinisterTunku Abdul Rahman
Succeeded byIsmail Abdul Rahman
Minister of Defence
In office
Prime MinisterAbdul Razak Hussein
Preceded byMustapha Harun
Succeeded byHussein Onn
In office
31 August 1957 – 22 September 1970
Prime MinisterTunku Abdul Rahman
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byHamzah Abu Samah
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
23 September 1970 – 12 August 1975
MonarchAbdul Halim
Prime MinisterAbdul Razak Hussein
Preceded byTunku Abdul Rahman
Succeeded byTengku Ahmad Rithauddeen Tengku Ismail
Minister of National and Rural Development
In office
31 August 1957 – 22 September 1970
Prime MinisterTunku Abdul Rahman
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byAbdul Ghafar Baba
Minister of Home Affairs
In office
1 June 1967 – 20 May 1969
MonarchIsmail Nasiruddin
Prime MinisterTunku Abdul Rahman
Preceded byIsmail Abdul Rahman
Succeeded byIsmail Abdul Rahman
Minister of Education
In office
MonarchElizabeth II
High CommissionerGerald Templer
Donald MacGillivray
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byKhir Johari
3rd Menteri Besar of Pahang
In office
1 February 1955 – 15 June 1955
MonarchAbu Bakar
Preceded byTengku Mohamad Sultan Ahmad
Succeeded byTengku Mohamad Sultan Ahmad
3rd President of the United Malays National Organisation
In office
25 June 1972 – 14 January 1976
Preceded byTunku Abdul Rahman
Succeeded byHussein Onn
2nd Youth Chief of the
United Malays National Organisation
In office
PresidentOnn Jaafar
Preceded byHussein Onn
Succeeded bySardon Jubir
Member of the Malaysian Parliament for Pekan
(Parliament suspended 13 May 1969 – 20 February 1971)
In office
11 September 1959 – 14 January 1976
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byNajib Razak
Personal details
Abdul Razak bin Hussein

(1922-03-11)11 March 1922
Pekan, Pahang, Federated Malay States, British Malaya (now Malaysia)
Died14 January 1976(1976-01-14) (aged 53)
London, United Kingdom
Resting placeMakam Pahlawan, Masjid Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
CitizenshipMalaysia Malaysian
Political party United Malays National Organisation
(m. 1952)
Children5 (including Najib Razak and Nazir Razak)
EducationMalay College Kuala Kangsar
Alma materRaffles College (unfinished)
Lincoln's Inn (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance Pahang
Branch/serviceAskar Wataniah Pahang
Years of service1941–1945
UnitForce 136
Battles/warsWorld War II

Tun Razak was the Prime Minister responsible for setting up Barisan Nasional, which is the ruling coalition of political parties that held power in Malaysia till 10 May 2018, with Barisan Nasional losing the 14th Malaysia General Election under his son Najib Razak, taking over from its predecessor, the Alliance. He is also renowned for launching the Malaysian New Economic Policy (MNEP).

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Kampung Pulau Keladi, a village located at northwest of Pekan, Pahang on 11 March 1922,[1] Abdul Razak is the first of two children to Yang DiHormat Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar ke-9, Dato' Hussein bin Mohd Taib and Datin Hajah Teh Fatimah bt Daud. An aristocratic descent of Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar, Abdul Razak studied at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar.

After joining the Malay Administrative Service in 1939, he was awarded a scholarship to study at Raffles College in Singapore in 1940. His studies at the college ceased with the onset of the Second World War. During the war he helped organise the Wataniah resistance movement in Pahang.[2]

After World War II, Abdul Razak left for Britain in 1947 to study law. In 1950 he received a law degree and qualified as a barrister at Lincoln's Inn in London. During his student days in England, Abdul Razak was a member of the British Labour Party and a prominent student leader of the Malay Association of Great Britain. He also formed the Malayan Forum.

Involvements in World War IIEdit

Early WWII and Askar WataniahEdit

After his studies was interrupted in 1942 because of World War II, Abdul Razak returned to Kuantan, Pahang. He then meets his former colleague from the Malay Administrative Service, Yeop Mahidin and express his interest to join the Malay Regiment (now Royal Malay Regiment). Mahidin, who also the founder of Askar Wataniah Pahang ('Pahang State Territorial Army'; precursor of Rejimen Askar Wataniah) recruited Razak into his new guerrilla forces. After finishing his training under Mahidin, Razak was instructed by Mahidin to join the Japanese Malayan Civil Service as an agent and informant.[3][4]

Informant in Japanese AdministrationEdit

After finishing his Japanese Military Training, Razak, as an aristocrat and son of a respected Malay leader in Pahang, were posted to his home-state Pahang as an assistant to District Officer and at the same time as a bridge for the Japan to gain trust of local Pahang Malays. Using his privileges as an aristocrat, Razak starts making networking with the Japanese Imperial Forces in the same time maintaining his connection with Yeop Mahidin. His role as an informant inside the Japanese Administration is known only to a few of Wataniah members including Mahidin. Because of this, Razak was labelled as a traitor by the rest of the Wataniah Pahang.[3][4][5]

Force 136 PahangEdit

At first, the Malays were not fully trusted by the British to fight the Japanese because of few incidents and better treatments by the Japanese Administration towards the Malays if compared to other races. After gaining sufficient trust, the Askar Wataniah Pahang with its 200 members was absorbed into the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and made to Force 136 Pahang.[3][4][5]

The Force 136 Pahang's missions always meet with success made the Japanese Administration began to suspect there is informants inside theirs administration. Force 136 Pahang quickly set up an extraction mission to recover theirs agent, Razak, who is unknown to many of its members.[3][4]

After he had been successfully extracted, Razak continued his work with Force 136 and was promoted to the rank of captain. Among notable missions, Razak was involved in the rescue of Sultan Abu Bakar of Pahang from MPAJA.[3][4]

Political involvementEdit

Deputy Prime Minister Razak greeting New Zealand Prime Minister Walter Nash in 1960.

Upon his return from the United Kingdom, in 1950, Tun Razak joined the Malayan Civil Service.[1] Owing to his political calibre, he became the youth chief for United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). Two years later, he worked as the Assistant State Secretary of Pahang and in February 1955, at just 33 years of age, became Pahang's Chief Minister.

Razak stood in and won a seat in Malaya's first general elections in July 1955 and was appointed as the Education Minister. He was instrumental in the drafting of the Razak Report which formed the basis of the Malayan education system. Tun Razak was also a key member of the February 1956 mission to London to seek the independence of Malaya from the British.[1]

After the general elections in 1959, he became the Minister of Rural Development in addition to holding the portfolios of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, which he held from 1957.[1] His achievements include formulating the development policy known as the Red Book.

Infusing young bloodEdit

At the time of Separation of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia in 1965, Tun Razak realised that UMNO needed more young leaders in the party. Faced with, amongst other things Lee Kuan Yew's considerable rhetorical skills, Razak wanted young Malay leaders – grounded in their own faith and culture – who would be able to speak and if necessary debate both in the Malay language and English language.

Razak understood that power resided in the Malay community and that for this power to be wielded effectively, the elite among the Malays had to be an elite determined by ability, aptitude and commitment to the nation as a whole. Class, birth and money were secondary in his calculations.

As a consequence of this initiative, the then young leaders of mixed heritage in UMNO, such as Mahathir Mohamad, were drafted into higher echelons of the political establishment.

In 1967 he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership.

Prime MinistershipEdit

After the 13 May Incident in 1969, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra received many criticisms from various parties for his inability to deal with racial issues. This led to his resignation as prime minister. Tun Abdul Razak then imposed a State of Emergency, ruling by decree as the National Operations Council until 1970.[1] In September 1970, Tunku Abdul Rahman was succeeded by Tun Abdul Razak as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Tun Razak set up the Barisan Nasional or National Front on 1 January 1973 to replace the ruling Alliance Party. He increased the membership of its parties and coalitions in an effort to establish "Ketahanan Nasional" (National Strength) through political stability.

Tun Razak is also renowned for launching the Malaysian New Economic Policy (MNEP) in 1971. He and the "second generation" of Malay politicians saw the need to tackle vigorously the economic and social disparities which fuelled racial antagonisms and violence. The MNEP set two basics goals – to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty, and to reduce and eventually eradicate identification of economic function with race.


Abdul Razak was diagnosed with leukemia but kept it secret since 1969.

Abdul Razak died in office on 14 January 1976[1] while seeking medical treatment in London. He was posthumously granted the soubriquet Bapa Pembangunan ('Father of Development'). He was laid to rest in Heroes Mausoleum (Malay: Makam Pahlawan) near Masjid Negara, Kuala Lumpur.

Awards and recognitionsEdit

Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak with US President John F. Kennedy at the White House in 1961

Honours of MalaysiaEdit

Foreign honoursEdit

Things named after himEdit

Tun Abdul Razak Memorial in Kuala Lumpur.

Several things were named after him, including:

In popular cultureEdit

Motion picture & television



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abdul Razak bin Hussein, Tun Haji". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. pp. 21. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
  2. ^ "1967 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership – Tun Abdul Razak". Archived from the original on 10 October 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Tun Razak, The Malaysian 'James Bond' And His Early Years As A Soldier Spying On Japanese Invaders". Malaysian Digest. 31 July 2017. Archived from the original on 4 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e Liew, Shan Lee (24 January 2014). "Tun Abdul Razak - The Hidden Story". The Malaysian Patriot.
  5. ^ a b "Force 136 dan Komunis". The Patriots (in Malay). 14 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1976" (PDF). Prime Minister's Department (Malaysia). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 February 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1959" (PDF). Prime Minister's Department (Malaysia). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 February 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Tun Razak di-kurnia GCMG oleh Queen". eresources.nlb.gov.sg (in Malay). Singapore: Berita Harian. 24 February 1972. OCLC 220731980. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  9. ^ "No. 44404". The London Gazette. 8 September 1967. p. 9801.

External linksEdit

Political offices
New office Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia
Succeeded by
Ismail Abdul Rahman
Preceded by
Abdul Rahman
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Succeeded by
Hussein Onn