Rais Yatim

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Yang Berhormat Tan Sri Dr.
Rais Yatim
Rais Yatim cropped.jpg
Minister for Information, Communication and Culture
In office
10 April 2009 – 5 May 2013
Monarch Abdul Halim
Mizan Zainal Abidin
Prime Minister Najib Razak
Deputy Joseph Salang Gandum
Heng Seai Kie
Preceded by Ahmad Shabery Cheek
(Minister for Information)
Shafie Apdal
(Minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage)
Succeeded by Ahmad Shabery Cheek (Communication and Multimedia)
Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz (Tourism and Culture)
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
19 March 2008 – 9 April 2009
Monarch Mizan Zainal Abidin
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Deputy Abdul Rahim Bakri
Preceded by Syed Hamid Albar
Succeeded by Anifah Aman
Minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage
In office
March 2004 – March 2008
Monarch Mizan Zainal Abidin
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Preceded by position established
Succeeded by Shafie Apdal
(Minister for National Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage)
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
Monarch Iskandar
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed
Preceded by Ahmad Rithauddeen Ismail
Succeeded by Abu Hassan Omar
Member of Parliament
for Jelebu
Assumed office
28 April 2008
President of International Islamic University Malaysia
Assumed office
2 June 2013
Chancellor Sultan Ahmad Shah
Preceded by Mohd. Sidek Hassan
Personal details
Born (1942-04-15) 15 April 1942 (age 72)
Kampung Gagu, Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan
Political party United Malays National Organization
Barisan Nasional
Spouse(s) Masnah Rais
Children 4
Residence Ampang Jaya, Kuala Lumpur
Alma mater University of Singapore (1973)
King's College London (1994)
Religion Islam
Website Personal website

Tan Sri Dr. Rais Yatim (born 15 April 1942 in Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia) is a Malaysian politician. He was a minister in multiple federal governments from 1974 to 2013 and the Chief Minister of Negeri Sembilan from 1978–1982. He held the Jelebu seat in the Parliament of Malaysia until 2013. He was a member of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the leading party in Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, except for a period in the 1990s when he was a member of the opposition Semangat 46.

After leaving politics he became the President of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Rais was born to a Minangkabau family.[2] A lawyer by profession, he graduated from Language Institute (also known as Language Teaching College), Kuala Lumpur in 1964. In 1968, he taught Bahasa Malaysia to the American Peace Corps in the United States. He obtained his honours degree from National University of Singapore. In 1994, he obtained a PhD from King's College London. His doctoral dissertation was eventually published in 1995 as Freedom Under Executive Power in Malaysia: A Study of Executive Supremacy.[3]

Political career[edit]

Rais has held various positions in the national cabinet and other state government positions. He had been appointed a Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan (1978–1982), Minister of Land and Regional Development (1982–1984), Minister of Information (1984–1986) and Foreign Minister (1986–1987).

When he fell out of favour of the UMNO leadership in April 1987, he resumed his law career. Rais worked with a firm called Ram, Rais & Partner (1987–1999) before being reappointed as cabinet minister in 1999. During the 1990s he was a member of the opposition Semangat 46 party, led by UMNO members dissatisfied with Mahathir Mohamad's leadership of the party. Like most Semangat 46 leaders, he rejoined UMNO by the end of the decade.[4]

In June 2007, Rais was nominated as a candidate for the post of the next Commonwealth Secretary-General after Don McKinnon's term in office ended in March 2008. However, he pulled out on 26 July, citing the lateness of campaigning, and his duties and commitments as the Main Committee of the upcoming 50th Merdeka celebrations, which limited him from travelling out of the country to lobby for his candidacy.[5]

Rais served another term as Foreign Minister from 18 March 2008 until 9 April 2009. On the following day, he had been the Information, Communications & Culture Minister until he end his service in the Cabinet after 13th General Election. He is succeeded by Ahmad Shabery Cheek (as the Minister of Communication and Multimedia) and Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz (as the Minister of Tourism and Culture).

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Masnah Rais and has four children. His hobbies are photography and travelling. He is also a writer on the subjects of law, politics, and Malay society.


  1. ^ "Rais Yatim dilantik Presiden UIAM". Sinar Harian (in Malay). 3 July 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Menbudpar Indonesia-Malaysia Bertemu, Antara News.com, 20 May 2013
  3. ^ Yatim, Rais (1995). Freedom Under Executive Power in Malaysia: A Study of Executive Supremacy, p. xii. Endowment Publications. ISBN 983-99984-0-4.
  4. ^ "Rais says goodbye with 40-page booklet". Bernama. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "Rais Withdraws From Commonwealth Sec-Gen Race (mirrored)". Bernama/Diplomacy Monitor. 28 July 2007. Retrieved 21 August 2007. 

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