OUR nation’s father of independence and first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, was instrumental in helping the nation gain independence from the British on Aug 31, 1957, assisted by coalition leaders in MCA and MIC.
Tunku led the country from 1957 to 1963 (Malaya) and, then, from 1963 to 1970 (Malaysia). Under his leadership, the newly elected government enjoyed peace and harmony in a stable environment, in which the people lived as one big family, and respected each other’s culture, religion and custom.
Tunku, who was a lawyer by training and appointed a deputy public prosecutor in the Malayan Federal Legal Department, entered politics in 1951 and became Umno president.
Our first prime minister was a humble and simple man. His priority was to build a united Malaysia that comprised citizens of various races. This concept is known today as “1Malaysia”.
Former prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s priority was to build a united nation,
a concept that we know today as ‘1Malaysia’.
Tunku’s liberal policies and keen interest in the welfare of the various communities in the country were the hallmark of his leadership as the father of the nation.
He was also Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president for 20 years. During his presidency, he introduced competitions for under-18 players, such as Piala FAM, as well as Piala Rahman.
Being an avid sportsman, Tunku was a firm believer that sports could be a good catalyst in bringing about greater social unity among Malaysians of various races and religions. Therefore, he supported and initiated many sports events. These included the international football tournament Pestabola Merdeka in 1957.
The following year, Tunku was elected as the first president of the Asian Football Confederation. He held the post until his death in 1990.
As a 3-year-old boy, I vividly remember watching Tunku on the giant screen and hearing him chant “Merdeka” seven times.
His passionate vision of a united Malaysia will forever be in the hearts and souls of Malaysians.