TuTun Abdul Razak Bin Datuk Hussein was born on 11th March 1922 in Pulau Keladi, Pekan, Pahang. He was raised by his grandfather in Kampung Jambu, Langgar, Pekan in the true tradition of strict and controlled village life. He had received early education in a Malay school in the village. He was forced to walk 4 miles each way to go to school.
Tun Abdul Razak had shown an academic prowess since primary school as each year, he would be awarded prizes for achievements in studies.
It came as no surprise that he was sent to Maktab Melayu Kuala Kangsar and later, Raffles College in Singapore to further his studies. During his stint in both institutions, he was active in students’ organizations and sports activities. His brilliance once again shone through when he completed his law course in Lincoln’s Inn, London within only 18 months.
Tun Abdul Razak lost no opportunities while in London. He used the time available to delve into politics and began developing an open mind. Active in student’s activities, he formed the Malayan Forum (much influenced by British Labor Party) to create political awareness among the youths of the Federation of Malay States. He also joined the Fabian Association and Malayan Student's Union. In April 1950, he was forced to return to the homelands due to his father’s death. Upon return, he rendered his services to the government of Pahang as assistant to the government secretary and two years later, he was appointed as Secretary of the Government of Pahang. His successes in civil service run parallel with his involvement in gaining independence for the country.
Four months after joining UMNO, he was appointed as UMNO Youth Leader, followed by his appointment as Non-Official Member of the Federation Ruling Council on 1st February 1951. In the same year, he was appointed as deputy when Tunku Abdul Rahman was the Yang Dipertua UMNO. At the time, he was only 29 years old. From this point onward, a unique synergy of mind and will was formed, and the fight for the eventual success of independence had never been so passionate. Tun Abdul Razak had also once held the post of acting Menteri Besar of Pahang for several months in 1955. As the right hand man to Tunku, he made drafts to be written into the Constitution of Malaya and was part of the convoy sent to London to claim independence in 1956. When Independence was finally achieved he was only 35. His role as Deputy Prime Minister would span for more than 13 years.
During these times, his portfolio included the Ministry of National and Rural Development, Defense Ministry and Ministry of Internal Affair. As the first Education Minister he had written the Razak Report 1956, meant to unify the multiethnic people through education. In this report was stated that the Malay Language would be implemented as the National Language. By using this language as a teaching medium, and implementing the same syllabus in all schools, harmony and cooperation between students of different races may be nurtured. It was hoped that such basis of education would form a healthy and learned young generation that would spur on the wheels of the nation’s progress.
Tun Razak’s concept of democracy was based on a social and economic balance where all the people may play a part in the development of the country. A country’s growth is extremely important, as according to him, the strongest defense in a country’s pride and honor lies not only in its military strength, but also its progress.
A motion set to improve development in rural area was done in several steps. The first was to form a development motion that would cover every aspect of the country’s need. This is known as ‘Buku Merah’, complete with a ‘Bilik Gerakan’ that would record the every detail of plans for each district including the progress and failures of each plan.
Tun Razak had worked hard to ensure that farmers’ wages are equal in proportion to their effort. He formed many government agencies to achieve this goal and the most effective one had been Lembaga Kemajuan Tanah Persekutuan dan Negeri-Negeri. Progress has triple folded, as evident from the amount of developed land, types of crops planted, amount of students sent to school, a variety of entrepreneurships as well as financial help and technical assistance given. It was during his time that Tun Razak witnessed a more progressive involvement by the Malays and bumiputra in business sectors, particularly with the formation of agencies such as MARA, PERNAS and others.
In short, all forms of progress and development enjoyed by the people of the country up to this day were mainly fruits of the efforts and vision of Tun Abdul Razak. The formation of Malaysia in 1963 was an important political development in the history of Malaysia even if it was met with plenty of obstacles from certain parties. The capabilities of Tun Razak as Minister of Defense were truly tested at that time, but the crisis was solved peacefully in the end. It was only fitting that he was known not only as the Father of Progress, but also the Father of Peace.