Yusof Ishak

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His Excellency Tun
Yusof Ishak
يوسف بن اسحاق

DUT (First Class) SMN
Yusof bin Ishak.jpg
1st President of Singapore
In office
9 August 1965 (retroactive) – 23 November 1970
Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (1959–1990)
Preceded by Newly created post
(he was previously Yang di-Pertuan Negara of Singapore)
Succeeded by Benjamin Henry Sheares
2nd Yang di-Pertuan Negara of Singapore
In office
3 December 1959 – 9 August 1965 (retroactive)
Preceded by Sir William Allmond Codrington Goode
Succeeded by Position abolished
Personal details
Born Yusof bin Ishak
(1910-08-12)12 August 1910
Terong, Taiping, Perak, Federated Malay States
(now Malaysia)
Died 23 November 1970(1970-11-23) (aged 60)
London, UK
Resting place Kranji State Cemetery
Nationality Singaporean
Spouse(s) Toh Puan Noor Aishah
Alma mater

Primary school: Victoria Bridge School

Secondary school: Raffles Institution
Occupation Journalist
Religion Sunni Islam
Website www.istana.gov.sg
This is a Malay name; the name Ishak is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by the given name, Yusof. The Arabic word "bin" ("b.") or "binti"/"binte" ("bt."/"bte."), if used, means "son of" or "daughter of" respectively.

Tun Yusof bin Ishak (Jawi: يوسف بن اسحاق ;/ˈjʊsɒf bɪn ˈɪs.hɑːk/ YUUSS-off bin ISS-hahk; DUT (First Class), SMN 12 August 1910 – 23 November 1970) was a Singaporean politician and was the first President of Singapore, serving from 1965 to 1970. His portrait appears on the Singapore Portrait Series currency notes introduced in 1999.

Early life[edit]

Born on 12 August 1910 in Terong, Taiping, Perak Darul Ridzuan, which was then part of the Federated Malay States (present day Malaysia), Yusof was the descendant of prominent Sumatran Malay Datuk Jannatun who migrated to Penang in 1759.

Yusof was of Minangkabau descent from his father's side while his mother was a Malay from the Langkat region in Indonesia.[1] His brother, Aziz Ishak, was a Malayan journalist and freedom fighter.

He received his primary education at Victoria Bridge School (now known as Victoria School),[2] and secondary education at Raffles Institution.

At Raffles, he joined the Singapore National Cadet Corps. He was commissioned as the first ever cadet officer in the Corps.


Yusof was well known both as a journalist and the founder of the Malay newspaper Utusan Melayu prior to becoming head of state of Singapore. He was married to Noor Aishah.

He first served as Yang di-Pertuan Negara (head of state) between 1959 and 1965, remaining in office during the time that Singapore was part of the Federation of Malaysia between 1963 and 1965. Following Singapore's departure from Malaysia in 1965, he served as the first President of the Republic until his death from heart failure on 1970.


Tomb of President Yusof Ishak at Kranji State Cemetery

Yusof is buried at Kranji State Cemetery. Yusof Ishak Secondary School is named after the late President, while he is also represented on legal tender currencies of Singapore. On 2014, Yusof has a Wax figure at Madame Tussauds Singapore (wax museum).

The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) was officially renamed in August 2015 as the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, so its name will call to mind Yusof’s “vision of equality, justice, harmony and strength amid diversity”.

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 10 August 1910 – 3 September 1959: Inche Yusof bin Ishak
  • 3 December 1959 – 16 September 1963: Paduka Yang Mulia Yang di-Pertuan Negara, Inche Yusof bin Ishak
  • 16 September 1963 – 9 August 1965: Tuan Yang Terutama Yang di-Pertuan Negera, Tun Yusof bin Ishak
  • 9 August 1965 – 23 November 1969: His Excellency, President of the Republic, Inche Yusof bin Ishak.

Awards and honours[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Istana – index
  2. ^ Victoria Bridge School is the previous name of Victoria School which only offered primary school classes at the time. Victoria School is now a secondary school.


Political offices
Preceded by
Sir William Allmond Codrington Goode
Head of State of Singapore
Succeeded by
Benjamin Henry Sheares
Preceded by
Sir William Allmond Codrington Goode
Yang di-Pertuan Negara of Singapore
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Post created
President of Singapore
Succeeded by
Benjamin Henry Sheares