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Hishammuddin Hussein

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Hishammuddin Hussein
هشام الدين حسين
Hishammuddin in 2018
Treasurer General of the Barisan Nasional
In office
23 October 2019 – 27 April 2023
ChairmanAhmad Zahid Hamidi
Preceded byTengku Adnan Tengku Mansor
Succeeded byJohari Abdul Ghani
Deputy President of the
United Malays National Organisation
12 May 2018 – 30 June 2018
PresidentAhmad Zahid Hamidi (acting)
Preceded byAhmad Zahid Hamidi (acting)
Succeeded byMohamad Hasan
Vice President of the
United Malays National Organisation
In office
26 March 2009 – 30 June 2018
  • Najib Razak
  • Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (acting)
Preceded byMohd Ali Rustam
Succeeded byMohamed Khaled Nordin
12th Youth Chief of the
United Malays National Organisation
In office
  • Mahathir Mohamad
  • Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Preceded byAhmad Zahid Hamidi
Succeeded byKhairy Jamaluddin
Senior Minister of Security Cluster
In office
30 August 2021 – 24 November 2022
Prime MinisterIsmail Sabri Yaakob
Preceded byHimself
Succeeded byPosition abolished
In office
7 July 2021 – 16 August 2021
Prime MinisterMuhyiddin Yassin
Preceded byIsmail Sabri Yaakob
Succeeded byHimself
Minister of Defence
In office
30 August 2021 – 24 November 2022
Prime MinisterIsmail Sabri Yaakob
Preceded byIsmail Sabri Yaakob
Succeeded byMohamad Hasan
In office
16 May 2013 – 10 May 2018
Prime MinisterNajib Razak
Preceded byAhmad Zahid Hamidi
Succeeded byMohamad Sabu
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
10 March 2020 – 16 August 2021
Prime MinisterMuhyiddin Yassin
Preceded bySaifuddin Abdullah
Succeeded bySaifuddin Abdullah
Minister with Special Functions
In office
12 April 2017 – 10 May 2018
MonarchMuhammad V
Prime MinisterNajib Razak
Preceded byPosition restored
Succeeded byPosition vacated
Minister of Transport
16 May 2013 – 24 June 2014
MonarchAbdul Halim
Prime MinisterNajib Razak
Preceded byKong Cho Ha
Succeeded byLiow Tiong Lai
Minister of Home Affairs
In office
10 April 2009 – 20 April 2013
Prime MinisterNajib Razak
Preceded bySyed Hamid Albar
Succeeded byAhmad Zahid Hamidi
Minister of Education
In office
27 March 2004 – 10 April 2009
Prime Minister
Preceded byMusa Mohamad
Succeeded byMuhyiddin Yassin
Minister of Youth and Sports
In office
15 December 1999 – 26 March 2004
Prime Minister
Preceded byMuhyiddin Yassin
Succeeded byAzalina Othman Said
Deputy Minister of Primary Industries
In office
12 November 1996 – 14 December 1999
Prime MinisterMahathir Mohamad
MinisterLim Keng Yaik
Preceded bySiti Zainaboon Abu Bakar
Succeeded byAnifah Aman
Member of the Malaysian Parliament
for Sembrong
Assumed office
21 March 2004
Preceded byConstituency established
Majority16,978 (2004)
11,570 (2008)
10,631 (2013)
6,662 (2018)
10,880 (2022)
Member of the Malaysian Parliament
for Tenggara
In office
25 April 1995 – 21 March 2004
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byAdham Baba
Majority24,518 (1995)
20,817 (1999)
Personal details
Hishammuddin bin Hussein

(1961-08-05) 5 August 1961 (age 62)
Johor Bahru, Johor, Federation of Malaya
(now Malaysia)
Political partyUnited Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Suspended membership on 27 January 2023.
Other political
Barisan Nasional (BN) Suspended membership on 27 January 2023.
Tengku Marsilla Tengku Abdullah
(m. 1987)
RelationsJaafar Muhammad (great-grandfather)
Onn Jaafar (grandfather)
Mohamed Noah Omar (grandfather)
Onn Hafiz Ghazi (nephew)
Abdul Razak Hussein (uncle)
Najib Razak (cousin)
Yahya Awang (brother-in-law)
Parent(s)Hussein Onn (father)
Suhailah Noah (mother)
Residence(s)Ampang, Kuala Lumpur
EducationMalay College Kuala Kangsar
St. John's Institution
Cheltenham College
Alma materAberystwyth University (LLB)
London School of Economics (LLM)

Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein (Jawi: هشام الدين بن حسين; born 5 August 1961) is a Malaysian politician and lawyer who served as Senior Minister of the Security Cluster and Minister of Defence from 2021 to 2022.[1][2] A member of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), a component party of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, he has been a Member of Parliament (MP) for Sembrong since 2004, having previously been an MP for Tenggara from 1995 to 2004.

Hishammuddin was born in Johor Bahru to Hussein Onn and Suhailah Noah. His father was the third prime minister of Malaysia. He attended Malay College Kuala Kangsar, St. John's Institution, Alice Smith School, and Cheltenham College. He then graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from Aberystwyth University and a Master of Laws from the London School of Economics before working as a lawyer.[3] After making partner at Skrine, he started his own firm, Lee Hishammuddin, which later merged with Allen and Gledhill to form Lee Hishammuddin Allen and Gledhill.

On his return from UK, Hishammuddin joined UMNO. He was first elected to Dewan Rakyat in the 1995 election, winning the seat of Tenggara. He was later appointed deputy minister and was promoted to full minister in 1999. In 1999, he was elected as UMNO's youth chief, and subsequently as its vice president in 2009. Since then, he has held various ministerial positions until the defeat of BN in the 2018 election. Despite the defeat, he managed to retain his Sembrong seat.

At the beginning of the political crisis that started in 2020, Hishammuddin returned to the cabinet as Minister of Foreign Affairs under Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition led by Muhyiddin Yassin. Amid the worsening political crisis in July 2021, Muhyiddin appointed Hishammuddin as Senior Minister of Security Cluster to replace Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who was appointed Deputy Prime Minister. He briefly served in the office until August 2021, after Muhyiddin announced his resignation. Two weeks after that, Hishammuddin returned again to the cabinet under new Prime Minister Ismail Sabri, who re-appointed him as senior minister. He was also appointed the Minister of Defence, an office he had held previously from 2013 to 2018.

Early life and education[edit]

Hishammuddin was born on 5 August 1961,[2] the fourth child and the eldest son of Hussein Onn, who became the third Prime Minister of Malaysia, and Suhaila Noah.[4] He is the grandson of Onn Jaafar, a prominent Malay leader and the founder of UMNO, whose mother was a Circassian and born in the Ottoman Empire.[5][6]

Hishammuddin attended the Malay College Kuala Kangsar before his father became Deputy Prime Minister in 1973. Upon his father's appointment to the office, he attended St. John's Institution, and then the Alice Smith School, in Kuala Lumpur, before attending the English public school Cheltenham College in Gloucestershire.

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

Early career[edit]

After completing his studies in UK, Hishammuddin returned to Malaysia in 1989. He joined UMNO and began his career as a lawyer.[7] He became a partner of Skrine & Co (present day Skrine), the largest law firm in Malaysia.[8] In 1993, he left Skrine & Co to set up his own law firm with Thomas Mun Lung Lee, and the established law firm was known as Lee Hishammuddin (present day Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill).[7]

Political career[edit]

Hishammuddin rose through the ranks of UMNO's youth wing in the 1990s, becoming its national chief in 1998. He assumed the position at a time when UMNO Youth had been torn apart by the sacking of Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was popular among young UMNO members. Hishammuddin's predecessor, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, had been a core supporter of Anwar.[9]

In 1995, Hishammuddin had been elected to the federal parliament for the Johor-based seat of Tenggara. He was immediately appointed as Parliamentary Secretary for International Trade and Industry in the government of Mahathir Mohamad. His rise to the leadership of UMNO Youth in 1998 coincided with his elevation to the full ministry the following year, as the Minister for Youth and Sport. He retained his parliamentary seat in the 1999 election.[9]

In 2004, the Barisan Nasional government, now led by Abdullah Badawi, was returned to power with Hishammuddin holding the newly created seat of Sembrong. Hishammuddin was re-elected as the leader of UMNO Youth and appointed Minister for Education.[9]

In 2009, the resignation of Abdullah Badawi as prime minister caused a shake-up in UMNO's senior leadership. Najib Razak, Hishammuddin's cousin, became UMNO's president and the prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin became Najib's deputy in both the party and the government, and the three UMNO vice-presidencies were up for election. Hishammuddin, vacating the leadership of UMNO Youth, contested the vice-presidencies, finishing in second place in an eight-man field. His ascension to the party's vice-presidency in turn guaranteed him a senior Cabinet post,[10] and he was appointed Minister for Home Affairs.[11]

After the 2013 election, in which Najib's government suffered further losses, especially among Chinese voters, Hishammuddin recontested the UMNO vice-presidency. He was barely re-elected in third place, finishing nine votes ahead of Mukhriz Mahathir.[12] He switched ministries with Zahid, taking over the latter's portfolio of Defence. He also assumed the transport ministry on an acting basis; that ministry was normally reserved for the Malaysian Chinese Association, which had decided to withdraw from the Cabinet temporarily, having endured significant losses in the general election.[13] As acting transport minister he was thrust into the international spotlight as the minister responsible for the investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.[14] The Sydney Morning Herald criticised Hishammuddin in this position, arguing that he had "struggled during daily press briefings to defend his country’s handling of the search and investigation".[15] Najib, however, defended Hishammuddin's performance. His role ceased in June 2014, when Liow Tiong Lai assumed the ministry. Hishammuddin retained his substantive post as defence minister.[16]

In April 2017, Hishammuddin was appointed Minister in the Prime Minister's Department for Special Functions. Prime Minister Najib Razak said that the appointment would enable Hishammuddin to carry out duties other than his responsibilities as Minister of Defence, he still however would remain as Minister for Defence. [17]

In March 2020, Hishammuddin was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs by newly-appointed Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin following the collapse of the previous Pakatan Harapan Government in February. [18]

Controversies and issues[edit]

Keris Incident[edit]

In his second term as UMNO Youth's leader, Hishammuddin waded into controversy by brandishing the keris, a Malay sword and symbol of Malay nationalism, at UMNO's 2005 annual general meeting. 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."[19] The racially provocative act was criticized by opposition politicians as well as some Chinese politicians from the Barisan Nasional coalition.[20] In 2008, Hishammuddin conceded that the act had caused the coalition to lose support among non-Malay voters in that year's general election.[21]

Vaping in Dewan Rakyat[edit]

On 6 August 2020, Hishammuddin apologised after being pinpointed by a netizen vaping during Parliament session.[22][23]

Big brother controversy[edit]

On 2 April 2021, Hishammuddin’s two-day working visit to China was overshadowed by a diplomatic gaffe.[24] Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim skewered Hishammuddin for calling China a "big brother" during his joint address with his Chinese counterpart Minister Wang Yi. Anwar also saying it may have set Malaysia's foreign policy back by 25 years.[25]

On 3 April 2021, Hishammuddin defended using the term “Big Brother” to refer to his Wang Yi, saying it was a sign of respect.[26][27] Former foreign minister Anifah Aman has told Hishammuddin to admit his error in making a "big brother" reference to China, instead of compounding the matter by disputing it.[28]

51% Bumiputra Logistic Equity Control Policy[edit]

On 27 September 2021, the cabinet of Malaysia has sparked criticism after Hishammuddin announced a new equity policy for Bumiputera companies under the five-year development plan, Twelfth Malaysia Plan (12MP), which was tabled by him in Parliament. The policy is said to ensure sustainable equity holdings by Bumiputeras, an equity safety net would be launched to guarantee that the sale of shares or Bumiputera firms would only be sold solely to Bumiputera companies, consortiums or individuals.[29][30] Syed Saddiq mentioned that the new rulings were unfair as they would be tantamount to taking equity from the non-bumiputeras and giving them to bumiputeras. Former Health Minister, Dzulkefly Ahmad had also described the policy as "suicidal" and claimed that the new policy would only kill the Bumiputera companies economically if that is their intention. He also said that based on the feedback from Malay businessmen, most were against the idea of the new Bumiputera-only policy being implemented.[31] Ismail Sabri announced it after revealing that the government’s target to raise Bumiputera equity ownership to 30% had yet to be achieved. He also announced fundings to improve Bumiputera businesses’ sustainability to hit 15% contribution in gross domestic product (GDP) by Bumiputera micro, small and medium enterprises by 2025.[32][33][34]

Personal life[edit]

In 1986, Hussein married Tengku Marsilla Tengku Abdullah, a princess from the state of Pahang. They reside in Kuala Lumpur, the couple has two sons and two daughters (Kyra Arianna, Faris, Fahd, and Nasha Alyssa).[9]


On 22 February 2022, Hussein tested positive for COVID-19 and he had experienced "very mild" symptoms amid the Omicron infection surge in Malaysia.[35]

Election results[edit]

Parliament of Malaysia[36][37][38][39][40][41]
Year Constituency Candidate Votes Pct Opponents Votes Pct Ballots cast Majority Turnout
1995 P136 Tenggara, Johor Hishammuddin Hussein (UMNO) 28,727 87.22% Madin Khani @ Md. Din A. Ghani (S46) 4,209 12.78% 34,782 24,518 63.36%
1999 Hishammuddin Hussein (UMNO) 28,376 78.96% Lokman Noor Adam (PKR) 7,559 21.04% 37,829 20,817 78.06%
2004 P153 Sembrong, Johor Hishammuddin Hussein (UMNO) 19,575 88.29% Onn Jaafar (PAS) 2,597 11.71% 22,956 16,978 74.61%
2008 Hishammuddin Hussein (UMNO) 17,988 73.70% Lee Sang (PKR) 6,418 26.30% 25,211 11,570 75.98%
2013 Hishammuddin Hussein (UMNO) 22,841 65.17% Onn Abu Bakar (PKR) 12,210 34.83% 35,910 10,631 86.35%
2018 Hishammuddin Hussein (UMNO) 21,353 59.24% Onn Abu Bakar (PKR) 14,691 40.76% 36,044 6,662 83.02%
2022 Hishammuddin Hussein (UMNO) 22,572 55.15% Hasni Abas (PKR) 11,692 28.57% 40,930 10,880 74.44%
Aziz Ismail (BERSATU) 6,666 16.29%


Honours of Malaysia[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Hishammuddin kembali jadi Menteri Pertahanan". BERNAMA (in Malay). Sinar Harian. 27 August 2021. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  2. ^ a b "The men of the hour – Ismail Sabri and Hishammuddin". FMT. 7 July 2021. Archived from the original on 7 July 2021. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  3. ^ Hishammuddin Hussein
  4. ^ "Tun Suhailah, widow of 3rd PM Tun Hussein Onn, dies at 82". The Malaysian Insider. 4 October 2014. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  5. ^ Özcan, Zafer (21 March 2011). "Malezya'nın Osmanlıları". www.aksiyon.com.tr. Archived from the original on 20 April 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  6. ^ Mahadzir, Dzireena (1 April 2007). "Taking root, branching out". Archived from the original on 4 August 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Newsbreak: Partners in one of the country's biggest law firms in bitter feud". The Edge Markets. 25 February 2020. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  8. ^ "Hisham leaves behind unforgettable legacy". Astro Awani. 25 June 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d "Hishammuddin atasi persepsi dikata 'lembik'". Sinar Harian (in Malay). 20 October 2013. Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Ahmad Zahid, Hishammuddin, Shafie Win Umno Veep Posts". Bernama. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  11. ^ "New Cabinet sworn in". The Star. 10 April 2009. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Zahid, Shafie and Hishamuddin maintain positions". Astro Awani. 20 October 2013. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Malaysian PM announces new cabinet line-up". Xinhua. 15 May 2013. Archived from the original on 1 November 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  14. ^ "Full statement by Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein". Archived from the original on 22 June 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  15. ^ "Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: MH370's man in the middle, Hishammuddin Hussein". Sydney Morning Herald. 19 March 2014. Archived from the original on 29 November 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  16. ^ "MH370 saga: Hishammuddin Hussein replaced as Malaysia's transportation minister". Sydney Morning Herald. 26 June 2014. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Hishammuddin now Minister with Special Functions in PM's Dept". New Straits Times. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  18. ^ "Malaysian PM Muhyiddin unveils Cabinet lineup with 4 senior ministers".
  19. ^ Gatsiounis, Ioannis (26 November 2006). The racial divide widens in Malaysia Archived 14 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Malaysia Today.
  20. ^ "MCA Youth head to meet Hishammuddin over kris issue". Malaysian Chinese Association. 27 November 2006. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  21. ^ Hamdan Raja Abdullah (27 April 2008). "Hishammuddin urged to quit over keris issue". The Star. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  22. ^ "Hisham issued compound after vaping in Dewan Rakyat". Malaysiakini. 6 August 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  23. ^ "Hishammuddin caught vaping during Parliamentary proceedings, apologises on social media". The Star. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  24. ^ "PKR MP states 5 reasons why Hishammuddin should apologise to M'sians". Malaysiakini. 4 April 2021.
  25. ^ "Anwar: Hisham may have set us back 25 years with China". Malaysiakini. 4 April 2021.
  26. ^ Razak, Radzi (3 April 2021). "Hishammuddin: 'Big Brother' just a personal term referring to senior Chinese counterpart". www.malaymail.com.
  27. ^ "Hishammuddin says 'big brother' remark refers to Wang Yi, not China". Malaysiakini. 3 April 2021.
  28. ^ "Just admit your 'faux pas', Anifah tells Hisham". Malaysiakini. 4 April 2021.
  29. ^ "Rave reviews for 12MP, but Ismail Sabri's Bumi focus splits opinions". The Vibes. 28 September 2021. Archived from the original on 10 October 2021. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  30. ^ Anand, Ram (29 September 2021). "Malaysian PM Ismail's push on bumiputera equity faces criticism in country". The Straits Times. ISSN 0585-3923. Archived from the original on 12 October 2021. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  31. ^ "The 12th Malaysia Plan and what people think of it". Free Malaysia Today. Archived from the original on 1 October 2021. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  32. ^ "Former minister calls govt's Bumi equity safety net 'suicidal', claims Malay businessmen not keen". malaysia.news.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on 10 October 2021. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  33. ^ "Big challenge to find bumi businessmen willing to take up 51% equity, say freight forwarders' associations". The Star. Archived from the original on 24 September 2021. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  34. ^ "Bumiputera's 51% equity in logistics: A case of "robbing Peter to pay Paul"". Malaysia Kini. 24 September 2021. Archived from the original on 9 October 2021. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  35. ^ Chen, Lo Tern (22 February 2022). "Hishammuddin tests positive for Covid-19". The Star. Archived from the original on 23 February 2022. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  36. ^ "Keputusan Pilihan Raya Umum Parlimen/Dewan Undangan Negeri". Election Commission of Malaysia. Archived from the original on 6 September 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2010. Percentage figures based on total turnout, including votes for third parties. Results before 1986 election unavailable.
  37. ^ "Malaysia General Election". undiinfo Malaysian Election Data. Malaysiakini. Archived from the original on 11 May 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2017. Results only available from the 2004 election.
  38. ^ "KEPUTUSAN PILIHAN RAYA UMUM 13". Sistem Pengurusan Maklumat Pilihan Raya Umum (in Malay). Election Commission of Malaysia. Archived from the original on 1 May 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  39. ^ "my undi : Kawasan & Calon-Calon PRU13 : Keputusan PRU13 (Archived copy)". www.myundi.com.my. Archived from the original on 31 March 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  40. ^ "Keputusan Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13". Utusan Malaysia. Archived from the original on 21 March 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  41. ^ "Maklumat Calon dan Kawasan Pilihan Raya P153 SEMBRONG Johor". Utusan Malaysia. Archived from the original on 9 May 2018. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  42. ^ "Pengurniaan Darjah Kebesaran Bergelar Bagi Tahun 1996 Mengikut Negeri" (PDF). Prime Minister's Department (Malaysia). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  43. ^ "Hishammuddin dahului 781 penerima darjah kebesaran Negeri Melaka" (in Malay). Berita Harian. 8 October 2014. Archived from the original on 26 September 2019. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  44. ^ "Sultan of Pahang's 74th birthday honours list". The Star. 26 October 2004. Archived from the original on 15 May 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  45. ^ "Highest state award for eight". Sandra Sokial. Borneo Post. 1 October 2011. Archived from the original on 14 September 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  46. ^ "Muhyiddin heads list of TYT birthday award recipients". Borneo Post. 14 September 2011. Archived from the original on 14 September 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  47. ^ "PM terima anugerah tertinggi Bahrain" (in Malay). BH Online. 17 December 2017. Archived from the original on 14 May 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2021.

External links[edit]