Ahmad Zaidi Adruce

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Haji Ahmad Zaidi Adruce bin Muhammed Noor
5th Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak
In office
2 April 1985 – 5 December 2000
Preceded byAbdul Rahman Ya'kub
Succeeded byAbang Muhammad Salahuddin
Personal details
Born(1926-03-29)29 March 1926
Sibu, Kingdom of Sarawak
Died5 December 2000(2000-12-05) (aged 74)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Political partyParti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Part of Barisan Nasional (1970s–1985)
Spouse(s)Hjh Hamsiah Bte Hj Ismail (deceased), Toh Puan Datin Patinggi Hajjah Rosmiati Kendati
MotherSiti Saadiah binte Haji Hassan
FatherMuhammad Noor

Tun Datuk Patinggi (Dr.) Haji Ahmad Zaidi Adruce bin Muhammed Noor (29 March 1926–25 December 2000) was the fifth Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak (Governor of Sarawak).[1] He was the longest-serving governor of Sarawak (in consecutive terms from a single appointment), from his inaugural in 1985, to his death in 2000.[2] He was also remembered as the first Sarawakian Bumiputera to receive a MA Degree from a British university (University of Edinburgh).[3]

Educational and political career[edit]

Before being appointed as the Head-of-State of Sarawak in 1985,[4] Ahmad Zaidi Adruce had a turbulent political career. His involvement in politics began in earnest while he was studying at Buitenzorg College(Current Bogor Agricultural University) in Bogor, then Japanese-occupied Netherlands East Indies (present-day Indonesia).

Adopted and brought up by Sharifah Mai, the daughter of the renowned Sharif Masahor who was glorified as the first nationalist of Sarawak. At 5 years old, he was sent to two schools, Chung Hua and also Abang Ali in Sibu, where he developed interest in poetry, gymnastic and acting. At age 12 he passed his standard seven exam with exemplary marks – which at the time was an achievement far beyond what was expected of a young man born and raised in Sarawak. Ahmad Zaidi was an exceptionally bright student, who was always either first or second in class throughout his primary and secondary education. After his standard seven exam, he moved to Kuching to further his studies and joined St. Thomas school in 1936, where he graduated with a Junior Cambridge qualification in 1938. Out of 63 students, he was among the seven who passed – and of the seven, Ahmad Zaidi was the only bumiputera. He joined an Anglo-Chinese school in Singapore in 1938 and graduated in 1939 at 15 years old with a Cambridge School Certificate, and was at the time the only bumiputera to have achieved such an honour.

In November 1940, Ahmad Zaidi joined the Sultan Idris College in Tanjung Malim, Perak, where he studied until the Japanese invasion in 1941, when he was forced to flee to Singapore. In 1942 he was sent to Java to study Veterinary Medicine at Buitenzorg College in Bogor. He did not complete his veterinary training when the war ended in 1945 and was instead pulled into fighting against the Dutch in Indonesia, where he witnessed first-hand the early days of the Indonesian National Revolution. In 1947, he returned to Sarawak where he was then appointed as a teacher at Batu Lintang Training Center. During that year he also set up the first Sea Scout movement in Borneo and took his students sailing as far as Tanjung Datu on the western tip of Borneo Island and as far north to the Saribas River, an enterprise that would later help him establish an intelligence and underground movement to assist the Republic of Indonesia in their guerilla warfare against the Dutch.

In 1949, the British awarded Ahmad Zaidi a four-year Colonial Development and Welfare scholarship to further his studies at the Robert Gordons Technical College in Aberdeen before he was enrolled to the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.[2] On 28 May 1953, he was invited to represent Sarawakian students to attend the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II where he also met with Temenggong Jugah. Ahmad Zaidi secured his MA degree in Political Economy in 1953 from the University of Edinburgh and later secured a Certificate in Education from the University of London in 1955. Upon his return to Sarawak, he was promoted to the post of supervisor at a training college and later became the acting president of the Barisan Pemuda Sarawak in 1956 which was an organisation that united the bumiputeras to work towards the independence of Sarawak. He met with Tan Sri Ghazali Shafie and later with Tunku Abdul Rahman to support the movement towards the formation of Malaysia.

Ahmad Zaidi was opposed to colonialist ideology, and the experiences of being discriminated while in the United Kingdom did little to endear his feelings towards the colonial government that ruled over his people. The buildup for the movement towards independence had become so intense that there were even plots to either arrest or assassinate Ahmad Zaidi for being a very public rebel to the colonial government. He knew that at that stage even if Sarawak was able to attain independence, the machineries for the new Malaysian government will mostly be influenced by those Sarawakians who had worked for the colonial government. In the transition phase towards the formation of a new government, he received insider information that some of the expatriates who worked under the colonial administration preferred that he be eliminated for fear of revenge if Ahmad Zaidi became in control. He was dubbed a traitor by British authorities and supporters including many of the expatriates in the Sarawak government because of his strong influence and involvement in Barisan Pemuda Sarawak and suspected connection with Indonesia during the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation. He was then abducted from Sarawak by his sympathizers and later went into self-exile in Indonesia until he was given amnesty by the Malaysian government in 1969, a move strongly supported by Tun Abdul Rahman Ya'kub (Sarawak's 3rd Chief Minister and 4th Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak), who was a Federal Minister at the time.

Life and relationships[edit]

Ahmad Zaidi was born in the midst of rushing waters on a boat in Rajang River on 29 March 1926, to the marvel of his biological parents, Muhammad Noor and Siti Saadiah. He had been pledged to a close family friend, Sharifah Mai, who comes from the illustrious family of the Arab Sharifs. Sharifah Mai was the daughter of Sharif Masahor (who is renowned as the first Sarawakian nationalist, opposing the White Rajahs to protect Sarawak from being colonised).

Ahmad Zaidi Adruce was married to Hjh Hamsiah Bte Hj Ismail (born 22 Nov 1923) and had eight children. During his exile in Indonesia, he later married Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Hajjah Rosmiati Kendati, and had four more children.

Appointment as Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak[edit]

On 2 April 1985, Ahmad Zaidi Adruce was appointed as the fifth Yang di-Pertua Negeri (Head-of-State) Sarawak, after Tun Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Ya'kub resigned due to health reasons. He took the oath of office in front of then Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mahmud Iskandar Al-Haj. He held the office for 15 years, the longest-serving governor in any Malaysian state without a hereditary ruler (in consecutive terms from a single appointment).


Ahmad Zaidi Adruce served three terms before passing on peacefully on 5 December 2000, leaving behind a lasting legacy as a true nationalist and as his people's first scholar. He was given a state funeral and was buried at Samariang Muslim Cemetery, Petra Jaya, Kuching.


 Malaysia :

  • Datuk Patinggi Bintang Kenyalang (D.P.) – 16 September 1988
  • Seri Paduka Mahkota Selangor (S.P.M.S.) – 20 June 1994
  • Seri Paduka Mahkota Kedah (S.P.M.K.) – 23 February 1997
  • Seri Setia Sultan Mahmud Trengganu (S.S.M.T.) – 13 November 1996
  • Seri Panglima Darjah Kinabalu (S.P.D.K.) – 25 June 1996
  • Darjah Utama Negeri Melaka (D.U.N.M.) – 28 October 1987
  • Darjah Utama Pangkuan Negeri (D.U.P.N.) (Pulau Pinang) – 7 May 1990
  • Darjah Utama Yang Amat Mulia Bintang Kenyalang Sarawak (P.N.B.S.) – 1981

 Indonesia :

  • Bintang Mahaputra Adipradana – 10 November 1986

 Brunei :

  • Darjah Paduka Seri Laila Jasa Yang Amat Berjasa (P.S.L.J.) – 9 March 1989

Other honors:

  • Ijazah Kehormat Doktor Undang-Undang, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia – 6 August 1993
  • Pingat Semangat Padi – 24 February 1990

Places named after him[edit]

Several places were named after him, including:


  1. ^ Ram Anand (15 February 2014). "Taib can be Sarawak governor for life". Malaysiakini.
  2. ^ a b "Previous Governors Of Sarawak". The Borneo Post. 28 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Tribute to Sarawak's distinguished sons". New Straits Times. 10 October 1988.
  4. ^ Hazis, Faisal S. (2012). Domination and Contestation: Muslim Bumiputera Politics in Sarawak. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 130. ISBN 9789814311588.
  5. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1989" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1987" (PDF).
Preceded by
Abdul Rahman Ya'kub
Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak
Succeeded by
Abang Muhammad Salahuddin