Maxwell School

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For Maxwell School as a graduate school of Syracuse University see Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. For the Maxwell International Baha'i School see Maxwell International School

Maxwell School
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Jalan Tun Ismail
Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory
Type Government non-boarding all-boys secondary school
Motto Disco Ut Serviam - I Learn That I May Serve
Established 1917
Grades Form 1 - Form 6
Campus Small school campus, at the edge of the city centre
Colour(s) Royal Green, Yellow and Blue
Affiliations Malaysia Ministry Of Education
Students Maxwellian Old Boy's
Former Students Maxwellian

Maxwell School (Malay: Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Maxwell) is a school for boys (and female students in form 6) and the oldest school in the north of Kuala Lumpur as well as one of the oldest in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia. A student of the school is known as a Maxwellian.


Maxwell School was established in 1917, and named after a road in honour of Sir William George Maxwell. It opened its doors to 110 students and five teaching staff on 1 June 1922. During its pre-war days (1900s), it functioned as a feeder school (primary school) to the Victoria Institution. By 1933, the school was shut down to the public due to the recession, but was opened as a private school from 1934 to 1938. It was then given to the Trade School for their use.

During the Japanese Occupation, it was used as a camp for the Japanese Kempeitai. After the war, the school was used as a hostel by the newly formed Technical College until 1953, when, in September, the school was re-opened as Malaya's first Modern Secondary School. Today, the Maxwell School is still housed in the same building and has remained a secondary school ever since.

School headmasters and headmistresses[edit]

1917 - 1918 War Period
1919 - 1922 Establishment Period
1922 - 1925 Montague B. Brockwell
1925 - 1928 C. N. Beamish
Aug 1928 Harold Ball
1928 - 1930 Agnes R. Cooke
1930 - 1930 M. Wheatley
1930 - 1933 C. W. Bloomfield
1933 - 1938 R. Thampipillay
1939 - 1941 (Closed)
1941 - 1945 (War Period)
1946 - 1953 (Closed)
1953 - 1954 William C. Cleine
1954 - 1956 Donald Priestley
1956 - 1957 Paul Chang
1957 - 1957 Razak Khan
1957 - 1961 Ong Choon Ghee
1961 - 1961 A. E. Navarasingam
1961 - 1968 Wong Ah Fatt
1968 - 1979 P. Nadarajah
1979 - 1988 Victor Wong
1988 - 1990 Abdul Razak Mohammed
1990 - 1999 Ismail Sajad
1999 - 2001 Han Seng Kuang
2001 - 2006 Loy Liang Dee
2006 - 2007 Datin Khairiah Abd Majid
2007 - 2010 Datin Zainab Bee Bte. Ismail
2011 - 2014 Radiah Bt. Nordin kmw
2014 (current) Pn.Hjh Hanipah Binti Endut

European Headmistresses[edit]

1922 - 1923 Annie Grenier
1923 - 1924 J. H. Dennett
1924 - 1926 Edith L. Earnshaw
1926 - 1927 D. A. Peck
1927 - 1928 Helen D. Leith
1928 - 1929 Agnes R. Cooke
1929 - 1933 Nellie F. Careless


The school originally consisted of two blocks, the present day main block and the gymnasium block, which is now the meeting room. The design and features of the two blocks is typical of the colonial era structures bearing some similarities with the Malayan Railway station and Sultan Abdul Samad buildings, both with Moorish designs. The school consists of a two-storey structure which was later extended to a block of solid masonry construction with arched openings along the corridors, typical of many of the school buildings that were built that time. There is a veranda on both sides of each storey (main block), high ceilings and broad stairways which depict typical colonial architecture.

Maxwell School is one of the very few schools in the nation that has not shifted and has remained in the original site from the very beginning. While the modern-day Ministry of Education has added rectangular-shaped blocks to the school, the distinctive "H" shape of the main block is still one of the more interesting features of Kuala Lumpur.

Student life[edit]

It is an unspoken rule that all freshman students join at least one uniformed body, join one of the school's 50 clubs and participate in a least one sport.


As like many other older schools, the Maxwell School has rivals. St. John's Institution, is the school's traditional rivals. This rivalry can be observed during visits by Maxwellians to St. John's Institution and vice versa. Setapak High School, Ampang Road Boys School and the Methodist Boys School, Sentul can also be included in this list, stretching back to the mid-1950s.

Traditions and heritage[edit]

While many of the colonial-period traditions have eroded over the years, some are still practised. The first one is the passing of the School Captain badge from Captain to Captain each year. The second is the sewing of the prefects uniform done by the school tailor, and not bought from a retail shop. Another one would be of the invitation by the Old Boys' Association of the school to the School Captain to attend the annual Dinner Night of the Association. Furthermore, the uniformed groups uniform is worn on every Wednesday.


Maxwell School participates in the Sentul zone at district level and in the MSSKL (Kuala Lumpur School Sports Council) tournament at the state level. The school has won trophies and titles in football, hockey, athletics, cricket, sepak takraw and badminton. Maxwell School has produced Malaysian sportsmen including Zainal Abidin Hassan, E.C. Dutton (national goalkeeper) S.A. Azman (national tennis player) and national cricket players.


There are four sport houses, and every year they compete on sports day. The Maxwell School Sports Day has been held since 1955. The houses are named after the founders of the state. The houses are:


Maxwell School has one of the oldest prefects board in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. It was founded 1929. After the war, the Prefects Board was re-initiated and the first School Captain was S. A. Azman in 1954. He later became one of Malaya's first national tennis players.

Choosing prefects is done by nomination for prefecture by teachers and senior students, training, elimination processes, and a several month stint as a 'Temporary Prefect'. The motto for the Maxwell School Prefects Board is "Dedicated Prefects Towards Discipline"

School crest[edit]

Mr. Donald Priestley designed the school crest in 1954. It is green, yellow, blue and white, with each colour having a meaning:

  • green represents religion,
  • yellow represents royalty,
  • blue represents age,
  • white represents youth.

The shield shows a tiger, an opened bible, the school motto, a compass which supports the opened book and an arrow pointing down surrounded by eight blue and white stripes. The opened book is the Bible Of Knowledge and the tiger is The Burning Tiger. The compass symbolises the school’s status as a modern secondary school, offering technical and vocational subjects at that period of time. The school motto – Disco Ut Serviam – is the Latin for I Learn That I May Serve.


The alumni association of the school is the Maxwell School Old Boys' Association. It was established in 1956, de-registered in 1983 and was registered again on 13 February 1999. The OBA has a newsletter known as 'Berita O'Max', issued quarterly.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Tan Sri Dato' Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Home Minister of Malaysia
  • Tan Sri Dato' Hj. Ambrin Buang, Auditor General of Malaysia and former Secretary General of the Ministry of Education
  • Zainal Abidin Hassan, former national football player
  • Maninderjit Singh, former national hockey player
  • Datuk Dell Akbar Khan, former Kuala Lumpur Chief Police Officer and National Football Player.
  • Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Mohammad Din Bin Ahmad, first Malaysian Director General of Health
  • Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dr. Hj. Abdul Majid Ismail, second Malaysian Director General Of Health.
  • Tan Sri Yaacob Latiff, second Mayor of Kuala Lumpur
  • Senator (R) S. I. Rajah, former National President of the People's Progressive Party ( PPP ).
  • Dato' Saidin Tamby, former Speaker of the State Assembly of Selangor, and former Malaysian Sepak Takraw Association President
  • Lt Gen Datuk Khairuddin bin Md.Yusoff (retired)- former Army Field Commander Malaysian Army and former Force Commander U.N. Peace Keeping Force in Timor Leste.
  • Maj Gen Datuk Hj. Baharuddin bin Abdul Kadir (retired) - former Chief of Personnel Staff, Malaysian Armed Forces
  • Brig Gen Dato Mohamed Arshad bin Mohamed Raji (retired) - former Malaysian Army Contingent Commander to United Nations Transitional Authority Cambodia (UNTAC)
  • Nelson - Ex SM Entertainment Traniee
  • Dr.Abdul Aziz @Ajis Nazardin first Malaysian to Captain King Edward Medical College, Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Professor Emeritus Selvadurai Mahalingam

Won the Punjab University Field Hockey championship after 27 years for King Edward Medical College. Youngest colour Holder for Hockey at King Edward Medical College, Lahore, Pakistan 1974. Outward Bound School, Lumut Merit badge holder 1967 course 129. Served with frontline hospital during the Gulf War - Operation Desert Storm. First Malaysian Chief Medical Officer at Bokamoso Private Hospital, Botswana


  • National Archives of Malaysia
  • The Burning Tiger (Annual School Magazine)
  • The Maxwellian (Annual School Magazine)