Hussein Onn

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This is a Malay name; the name Onn is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by the given name, Hussein.
Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun
Hussein Onn
Tun Hussein Onn portrait.jpg
3rd Prime Minister of Malaysia
In office
15 January 1976 – 16 July 1981
Monarch Yahya Petra
Ahmad Shah
Deputy Mahathir bin Mohamad
Preceded by Abdul Razak
Succeeded by Mahathir Mohamad
3rd Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia
In office
13 August 1973 – 15 January 1976
Monarch Abdul Halim
Yahya Petra
Prime Minister Abdul Razak
Preceded by Ismail Abdul Rahman
Succeeded by Mahathir Mohamad
1st President of International Islamic University of Malaysia
In office
1983–1987
Chancellor Sultan Ahmad Shah
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Anwar Ibrahim
Personal details
Born (1922-02-12)12 February 1922
Johor Bahru, British Malaya (now Malaysia)
Died 28 May 1990(1990-05-28) (aged 68)
South San Francisco, United States
Political party Independent (1987–1990)
Other political
affiliations
United Malays National Organisation (Before 1951; 1968–1987)
Independence of Malaya Party (1951–1963)
National Party (1963–1968)
Spouse(s) Suhaila Noah[1]
Children 6
Alma mater Indian Military Academy
Lincoln's Inn
Profession Lawyer
Religion Islam

Tun Hussein bin Dato' Onn (12 February 1922 – 29 May 1990) was the third Prime Minister of Malaysia, serving in this role from 1976 to 1981. He was born in Johor Bahru, Johor, on 12 February 1922 to Dato Onn Jaafar and Datin Halimah Hussein, and is of 3/4 Malay and 1/4 Circassian ancestry. He was granted the soubriquet "Bapa Perpaduan" (Father of Unity).

Family[edit]

Tun Hussein was the son of Dato' Onn Jaafar, the founder of UMNO and a Malayan freedom fighter.[1] His grandfather Dato Jaafar Haji Muhammad was the first Menteri Besar of Johore while his grandmother, Hanim Rogayah was from Scarcia, Turkey. Tun Hussein was married to Tun Suhaila Mohamad Noah for 42 years; the daughter of Tan Sri Haji Mohamad Noah Omar, former Minister of Home Affairs and first Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat. He was the brother in law of Tun Abdul Razak, his predecessor as Prime Minister, who also married another Tan Sri Haji Mohamad Noah Omar's daughter, Tun Rahah Mohamad Noah.

Tun Hussein's son, Dato' Seri Hishammuddin Bin Tun Hussein, became the Home Minister of Malaysia on 10 April 2009. On 17 September 2005, Hussein Onn's eldest daughter Datin Roquaiya Hanim, died at the age of 56 from breast cancer in Kuala Lumpur.

Early life[edit]

Tun Hussein received his early education in Telok Kurau Primary School, Singapore and at the English College Johore Bahru. After leaving school, he joined the Johor Military Forces as a cadet in 1940 and was sent a year later to the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, India. Upon completion of his training, he was absorbed into the Indian Army and served in the Middle East when the Second World War broke.[1] After the war, his vast experience prompted the British to employ him as an instructor at the Malayan Police Recruiting and Training Centre in Rawalpindi.[1]

Tun Hussein came back to Malaysia in 1945 and was appointed Commandant of the Johor Bahru Police Depot. The following year he joined the Malaya Civil Service as an assistant administrative officer in Segamat, Johor. He was later posted to the state of Selangor, becoming Klang and Kuala Selangor's district officer.

Entering politics[edit]

Tun Hussein, who came from a family with deep nationalistic spirit and political roots,[1] resigned from the civil service to go into politics. In 1949, he became the first youth chief of UMNO (United Malays National Organization), a party his father helped established. In 1950, he was elected the UMNO secretary general. Tun Hussein however left UMNO in 1951 to join his father in forming the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP).[1]

With IMP losing momentum, Tun Hussein went to London to study law at Lincoln's Inn, qualifying as a Barrister-at-Law. He came back as a certified lawyer and practised in Kuala Lumpur.[1]

Rise to power[edit]

Tun Hussein returned to politics in 1968 after being persuaded by the then Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak to rejoin UMNO.[1] He stood and won the general elections in 1969 and was appointed as the education minister. Tun Hussein's meteoric rise continued on 13 August 1973 when he succeeded the late Tun Dr Ismail as the Deputy Prime Minister.[1] On 15 January 1976 he was appointed as Prime Minister of Malaysia after the death of Tun Razak.[2]

Tun Hussein was renowned for stressing the issue of unity through policies aimed at rectifying economic imbalances between the various communities found in Malaysia.[1] For instance, 20 April 1981 saw the National Unit Trust Scheme being launched. He also gave serious consideration to the concept of Rukun Tetangga (a neighbourhood watch scheme) and the fight against the drug menace.

He underwent a coronary bypass in early 1981. On 17 July the same year, he retired from active politics and relinquished his prime minister post due to health concerns.[1] He was succeeded by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Post-retirement[edit]

After his retirement as Prime Minister, he continued to contribute to welfare organisations. He was instrumental in the setting up of the Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital. He was also an advisor to Petronas the country's oil company and Chairman of Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS).

During the 1987 UMNO leadership crisis, Tun Hussein fell out with Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, supporting Team B along with Tunku Abdul Rahman. Tun Hussein along with the Tunku, henceforth, became a strident critic of the Mahathir administration and died without having rejoined UMNO.

He died on 29 May 1990 in Seton Medical Center at San Francisco, California, at the age of 68.[1] He had two sons and four daughters. He is buried in Makam Pahlawan (Heroes Mausoleum) near Masjid Negara, Kuala Lumpur.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Awards[edit]

Tun Hussein Onn was known for[who?] being sincere in his struggle for racial unity[citation needed] and had a reputation of being firm against anyone that tried to create racial unrest in the country and it was due to this, that he was known as Bapa Perpaduan or 'Father of Unity'.[1]

Places after him[edit]

Several places were named after him, including:

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Tun Hussein Onn". Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Tan, Chee Khoon & Vasil, Raj (ed., 1984). Without Fear or Favour, p. 38. Eastern Universities Press. ISBN 967-908-051-X.
Political offices
Preceded by
Ismail Abdul Rahman
Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia
1973–1976
Succeeded by
Mahathir Mohamad
Preceded by
Abdul Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia
1976–1981