Hishammuddin Hussein

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Yang Berhormat Datuk Seri Panglima
Hishammuddin Tun Hussein
Hishammuddin Hussein.jpg
Hishammuddin Hussein in 2006 as Education Minister.
Malaysian Minister of Defence
Assumed office
16 May 2013
Prime Minister Najib Razak
Preceded by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
Malaysian Minister of Transport (Acting)
In office
16 May 2013 – 25 June 2014
Prime Minister Najib Razak
Preceded by Kong Cho Ha
Succeeded by Liow Tiong Lai
Vice-President of United Malays National Organisation
Assumed office
26 March 2009
President Najib Razak
Preceded by Mohd Ali Rustam
Malaysian Minister of Home Affairs
In office
10 April 2009 – 5 May 2013
Prime Minister Najib Razak
Preceded by Syed Hamid Albar
Succeeded by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
Malaysian Minister of Education
In office
31 March 2004 – 9 April 2009
Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi
Preceded by Musa Mohamad
Succeeded by Muhyiddin Yassin
Chairman of UMNO's Youth Wing
In office
31 March 2004 – 26 March 2009
Preceded by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
Succeeded by Khairy Jamaluddin
Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports
In office
1999 – 30 March 2004
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed
Preceded by Muhyiddin Yassin
Succeeded by Azalina Othman Said
Personal details
Born (1961-08-05) 5 August 1961 (age 53)
Kuala Lumpur, Federation of Malaya
Political party UMNOBarisan Nasional
Spouse(s) Yang Mulia Tengku Datin Seri Marsilla Tengku Abdullah
Relations Tun Hussein Onn (father)
Suhaila Noah (mother)
Occupation Politician
Religion Islam

Datuk Seri Panglima Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein (born 5 August 1961) is a Malaysian politician and member of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). He is currently the Minister of Defence since 16 May 2013. He served in the government of Malaysia as acting Minister of Transport from 16 May 2013 to 26 June 2014, Minister of Home Affairs from 2009 to 2013 and Minister of Education from 2004 to 2009. He has been mentioned as a likely successor to his cousin, Prime Minister Najib Razak.[1] He is the son of Malaysia's third prime minister, Tun Hussein Onn, and the nephew of Malaysia's second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak.

Hussein came to international public prominence in March 2014 as the Malaysian Government official spokesman at a number of press conferences in the Sama Sama Hotel in Sepang following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.[2]

Family ties[edit]

Datuk Seri Panglima Hishammuddin is the fourth child and the eldest son of Hussein Onn, the third Prime Minister of Malaysia, and Suhaila Noah, the former Spouse of the Prime Minister of Malaysia.[3] He is the grandson of Dato' Onn Jaafar, a prominent Malay leader and the founder of UMNO, whose mother was a Circassian from Turkey.[4][5] He is also the cousin of the current Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Tun Razak.

His wife, Yang Mulia Tengku Datin Seri Panglima Marsilla Tengku Abdullah, is a princess from the state of Pahang, Malaysia. Hishamuddin's daughter married the son of a local business tycoon, Muhd Anas Zawawi bin Datuk Seri Khalid.[6]


He was attending Malay College Kuala Kangsar before his father became Deputy Prime Minister in 1973. Upon his father's appointment to the post, he attended St. John's Institution in Kuala Lumpur before going on to the Alice Smith School, also in Kuala Lumpur. From there, he went to the English public school Cheltenham College.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, in 1984. He also attended the London School of Economics and received a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree in Commercial and Corporate Law in 1988.

Before entering politics[edit]

Prior to entering politics, Hishammuddin was formerly a lawyer with the large Malaysian firm then known as Skrine & Co. (now known as Skrine) and later, a firm then known as Lee Hishammuddin (now known as Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill) in Kuala Lumpur.

Political career[edit]

Hishamuddin is a Sri Tambak, Sembrong, Johor UMNO member. He is now holding the position as the branch leader of UMNO Sembrong Branch. Before this he was elected as the youth chief of UMNO Malaysia.

He was elected as a member of parliament Tenggara[disambiguation needed] in the 1995 general election. In the year 1999, he was able to retain the position.

However. because of the new area border made by the Election Commission, he was transferred to a new constituency which is Sembrong, the seat he is currently holding now. He later defeated PAS candidate Onn Jaafar with the majority of 16, 978 votes in PRU-11 eight years ago.

Among his popular campaign promise was to develop the Sembrong constituency towards a better and stronger Malaysia.

During his tenure as a parliament member he was positioned in various ministries in the Malaysian government. In 1995 he was elected as the Parliamentary Secretary of the International Trade and Industry.

He was then appointed as the Deputy Minister of Main Industry in 1997, and in 1999 he was appointed as a Minister of Youth and Sport. After 2004 election he holds the position of Malaysia's education minister.[7]

Career positions[edit]

Parliamentary Secretary of Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia. (11 May 1995 to 18 August 1997)[8]

Deputy Minister of Ministry of Primary Industries, Malaysia (18 August 1997 to 5 December 1999)

Minister of Youth and Sports (14 December 1999 to 3 March 2004)

Minister of Education (30 March 2004 to 8 April 2009)

Minister of Home Affairs (10 April 2009 to 5 May 2013)[9]

Minister of Defence (16 May 2013 until now)

Minister of Transport (acting from 16 May 2013 until now)[10]

UNESCO Executive board member (2008 to 2009)

SEAMEO Council- Vice-President (March 2007 to March 2008)

SEAMEO Council- President (March 2008 to March 2009)


Waving the keris[edit]

Hishammuddin's infamous act of waving the keris (traditional Malay dagger) at the UMNO Annual General Meeting in 2005 drew applause from the UMNO delegates.

In 2005, Hishammuddin waved the keris at the UMNO Annual General Meeting. Since the independence of Malaysia, the keris has become something of a symbol of Malay nationalism. It is still regarded by some as a symbol of ketuanan Melayu, the doctrine of the Malay race as the dominant race at their homeland, and has been incorporated into the Sang Saka Bangsa, the official flag of the United Malays National Organisation.[11] As such some commentators perceived this action as a defence of Malay Special Rights (Hak Keistimewaan Melayu) detailed in Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia and in the social contract. Although applauded by the Malay delegates, the picture of Hishammuddin waving the keris was widely ridiculed in the Malaysian blogosphere. Due to this incident some section of the public referred to him as Hishammudin Tauke Keris (The Keris Merchant) or simply as Hishammudin Keris.[12]

In response to concerns over the racial rhetoric, then Vice-President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that "Although some sides were a bit extreme [this year], it is quite normal to voice feelings during the assembly."[13]

The Deputy Chief of the Youth wing, Khairy Jamaluddin, insisted that "while there is nothing extraordinary about this year's congress and that similar sentiments have been raised in the past, these feelings have never compromised the ultimate manifestation of governance in this country through BN's power-sharing formula."[14]

Hishammuddin also defended the delegates' actions, saying that events earlier in the year related to the status of Islam in Malaysia and the NEP had "played on the Malay psyche. If they had not been allowed to release their feelings in a controlled channel, it could have been even worse." He defended his usage of the keris, saying it was meant "to motivate the Malays" and that it "is here to stay", denying that it was a symbol of Malay supremacy (ketuanan Melayu).[15]

Hishammuddin also asserted that "The keris is on the UMNO flag... It is a symbol of Malay culture. You give keris as gifts to non-Malays, and non-Malays give them to me at functions."

However, Chinese politicians declared themselves unconvinced by Hishammuddin's explanations, with the Malaysian Chinese Association (a member of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition) Youth chief, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, saying that "If I hold a Chinese sword at a wushu function, it would be different than if I hold one at a political event. This was a political function, so it is seen in a different context. It can create uneasiness."[16]

Cow head demonstration[edit]

Hishammuddin found himself being attacked by the opposition when he took a firm stand trying to solve the "cow-head demonstration issue". In 2009 residents of Taman Ixora Section 23, Shah Alam, were shocked as the state government wanted to relocate a temple in a majority Muslim area. It was reported that 95% of the resident are Muslim families while only 0.5% Hindus. The protest was caught on video by the Malaysian news online portal Malaysiakini.[17]

The protesters, with a group of about 50, marched a few hundred meters carrying the severed head of a cow. The cow is a sacred animal in the Hindu religion.

In response, the Malaysian Home Minister invited the protesters to a discussion. The protesters were charged under illegal demonstration where two of them were found guilty. The Menteri Besar of Selangor from PKR stated that the demonstration was not UMNO's doing.[18]

Hishammuddin defended the actions of the protesters saying that they cannot be blamed. He cited several reasons:

  • Although the demonstration was illegal & without a government-issued permit, the protesters had limited the size of their demonstration
  • The state government had made a poor decision in relocating the Hindu temple
  • People should be allowed space to voice their opinions
  • Similar incidents have happened before (pig heads being thrown into UMNO grounds)

Hishamuddin, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the government multimedia agency, sent a letter to Malaysiakini.com appealing for it to take down both videos. This has been interpreted by some as damage control by the government due to the sensitive nature of the embarrassing press conference.[19]

Accusation of Anwar Ibrahim as a CIA agent[edit]

In July 2010, he had, along with Information Minister Rais Yatim, accused Anwar Ibrahim of being a CIA agent based on a blog article.[20] However, Hishamuddin admitted the Home Ministry "doesn't know if Anwar is a tool (of the CIA) or not". This revelation was not based on any evidence, as he admitted, but on an article by an American blogger.[21] Mysteriously, he added that "action" would only be taken if "national security" was threatened although espionage, i.e. working for a foreign intelligence agency, is a crime.[22]

According to John Malott, a former US Ambassador in Malaysia from 1995 to 1998, this was not the first time UMNO made these accusations. In 2000, he had dealt with these allegations when the Malaysian government failed to prosecute Anwar. This time round it seems the government is unwilling to prosecute too. "Today, twelve years after I met with Abdullah (Badawi, who was then Foreign Minister), Malaysia still has not offered any proof that Anwar is an American agent – because it is NOT true," he wrote. Malott also accused the Malaysian government and various media of disseminating false news.[23]

Despite Hishamuddin admitting that they had no evidence to actually arrest Anwar, Rais pleaded with former UMNO members in PKR to rejoin the Malay party.[24]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Raihan Ismail (5 July 2011). "Australia has bigger issues to tackle in Malaysia". Canberra Times. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Full statement by Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein
  3. ^ "Tun Suhailah, widow of 3rd PM Tun Hussein Onn, dies at 82". The Malaysian Insider. 2014-10-04. Retrieved 2014-10-22. 
  4. ^ http://www.aksiyon.com.tr/aksiyon/haber-28971-malezyanin-osmanlilari.html
  5. ^ http://www.thestar.com.my/story.aspx?file=%2f2007%2f4%2f1%2flifefocus%2f17281586&sec=lifefocus
  6. ^ Bernama. "Hisham's daughter weds Datuk K's son", Malaysia Chronicle, Kuala Lumpur, 24 November 2012.Retrieved on 7 January 2012.
  7. ^ http://biodatatokoh.blogspot.com/2008/03/hishamuddin-hussein-datuk-seri.html
  8. ^ Factbook, Malaysia. "Hishamuddin Hussin", Malaysian Factbook, Kuala Lumpur, 23 January 2008. Retrieved on 7 February 2013.
  9. ^ Hishamuddin Hussin. "Foreword by the Minister", Ministry of Home Affairs Official Website, Kuala Lumpur, 10 April 2009. Retrieved on 7 February 2013.
  11. ^ Pogadaev, V. Magia Krisa (The Magic of Kris). Azia i Afrika Segodnya (Asia and Africa Today. Moscow, No. 4, 2010, 67–69
  12. ^ http://sloone.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/hishamuddin-keris-is-a-cow-head/
  13. ^ Gatsiounis, Ioannis (26 November 2006). The racial divide widens in Malaysia. Malaysia Today.
  14. ^ Jamaluddin, Khairy (26 November 2006). Out of the cage: Umno unplugged aside, what matters most is Malaysia, p. 22. New Sunday Times.
  15. ^ Tan, Joceline (26 November 2006). Hisham: The keris is here to stay. Malaysia Today.
  16. ^ http://www.mca.org.my/en/mca-youth-head-to-meet-hishammuddin-over-kris-issue/
  17. ^ Temple demo: Residents march with cow's head YouTube. 28 August 2009
  18. ^ The Star. "Cow head protest not Umno’s doing, says Khalid", The Star, Shah Alam, 10 November 2009. Retrieved on 13 March 2013.
  19. ^ MCMC tells Malaysiakini: Take down videos Malaysiakini. 9 September 2009
  20. ^ "'Anwar CIA tool': Ex-Umno members in PKR told to return". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  21. ^ Anwar Berdepan Tindakan Jika Terbukti Alat CIA – Hishammuddin UMNO Online. 11 July 2010
  22. ^ Action On Anwar Only If There Are Proofs – Hishammuddin UMNO Online. 11 July 2010
  23. ^ 'Anwar-CIA': Rais Yatim should apologise Malaysiakini. 12 July 2010
  24. ^ "Anwar Berdepan Tindakan Jika Terbukti Alat CIA – Hishammuddin". UMNO Online. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  • Ooi, Jeff (2005). "The 30% solution". Retrieved 17 November 2005.

External links[edit]