HRH Prince Tunku Abd Al-Rahman led the Malaysian liberation movement during the British occupation of his country, where he is known as the Father of Independence. He was born in 1903 in Alor Setar, capital of the State of Keda, in the Federation of Malaya. After his early education in Bangkok, he traveled to study in St. Catherine’s College at Cambridge University (UK), where he received a BA in law and history. After returning to Kada, he joined the Civil Service, first as a Cadet in the Legal Advisor’s office, then as a District Officer in several districts. In 1951, he became President of United Malays National Organization (UMNO). He traveled in all parts of the Federation to promote unity. In 1955, the UNMO won the first general elections in the Federation and Tunku Abd Al-Rahman became Chief Minister. In the same year, he led a delegation for talks with the British that led to the independence of Malaya in 1957, and Abdul Rahman became the country’s first Prime Minister. He was reelected for a second term, during which he convened talks with the British that led to the unity of the Federation and the emergence of the new nation of Malaysia.
In 1960, Prince Abd Al-Rahman founded the Birkim Islamic Society, which played an important part in 45 promulgating Islam in Southeast Asia and in serving Muslim minorities in that area. In particular, it supported Cambodian Muslim refugees in Malaysia. He was also the first Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and a Founding Member of the Islamic Development Bank.
He was also the sponsor of the Regional Council for Islamic Daawa for South-East Asia and the Pacific in Kuala Lumpur.
Prince Tunku Abdul Rahman received numerous honors. In addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam, he was awarded Honorary Doctorate degrees from Cambridge University, Aligarth Muslim University of India, Seoul National University, Areneta University in the Philippines, and the universities of Malaya, Sydney and Saigon. He died in December, 1990.