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Tun Abd Razak bin Hussein Al-Haj (March 11, 1922-January 14, 1976) was the second Prime Minister of Malaysiamarker, ruling from 1970 to 1976.

Tun Razak was the Prime Minister responsible in setting up Barisan Nasional, which is the ruling coalition of political parties that have held power in Malaysiamarker till today, taking over from its predecessor, the Alliance. He is also renowned for launching the Malaysian New Economic Policy (MNEP).


Born in Pulau Keladi, Pekan, Pahangmarker on March 11, 1922, Tun Razak is the first of two child to Dato' Hussein bin Mohd Taib and Hajah Teh Fatimah bt Daud. Of aristocratic descent, Abdul Razak studied at the Malay College Kuala Kangsarmarker.

After joining the Malay Administrative Service in 1939, he was awarded a scholarship to study at Raffles Collegemarker in Singaporemarker in 1940. His studies at the college ceased with the onset of the Second World War. During the war he helped organize the Wataniah resistance movement in Pahangmarker.

After World War II, Tun Razak left for Britainmarker in 1947 to study law. In 1950 he received a law degree and qualified as barrister at Lincoln's Innmarker in Londonmarker. During his student days in Englandmarker, Tun Razak was a member of the British Labour Party and a prominent student leader of the Kesatuan Melayu Great Britain (Malay Association of Great Britain). He also formed the Malayan Forum, an organisation for Malayan students to discuss their country's political issues.

Political Involvement

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

Razak stood in and won a seat in Malaysia's first general elections in July 1955 and was appointed as the Education Minister. Tun Razak was also a member of the February 1956 mission to Londonmarker to seek the independence of Malaya from the British.

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. His achievements include formulating the development policy known as the Red Book.

Prime Ministership

On September 1970, Tun Razak succeeded Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

After the May 13 Incident in 1969, his faction in UMNO overthrew Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra and imposed a State of Emergency, ruling by decree until 1970. On September 1970, Tun Razak succeeded Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Tun Razak set up the Barisan Nasional or National Front on January 1, 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 antagonism. The MNEP set two basics goals - to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty, and to reduce and eventually eradicate identification of economic function with race.

Infusing Young Blood

At the time of Separation of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysiamarker 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 Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (whose grandfather was an Indian immigrant), were drafted into higher echelons of the political establishment.


Due in part to leukemia, Abdul Razak died on January 14, 1976 while seeking medical treatment in Londonmarker. He was posthumously granted the soubriquet Bapa Pembangunan (Father of Development). He is laid to rest in Heroes Mausoleum near Masjid Negaramarker, Kuala Lumpur.


Tun Abdul Razak was descended from a long line of Pahang chieftains of Bugis descent. He was the brother in law of Tun Hussein Onn, his successor as Prime Minister.

Abdul Razak's eldest son, Najib Tun Razak, became the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia on 3 April 2009, succeeding Abdullah Badawi. He has four other sons, Datuk Ahmad Johari Razak, Mohamed Nizam, Mohamed Nazim and Mohamed Nazir.

Awards and Recognition



  1. 1967 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership - Tun Abdul Razak
  2. Anak Gemilang Malaysia

External links

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