Remembering Tunku Abdul Rahman's Last Speech
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, First Prime Minister of Malaysia
In the final part of our Merdeka Series on Current Affairs, "Many Voices, One History", we take you back in time to the eve of Merdeka Day in 1970, where Tunku Abdul Rahman delivered his last nationally-broadcasted speech as Prime Minister.
In this heartfelt speech, he announced that he will be stepping down after 2 years as chief minister, and 13 years as the first Malaysian Prime Minister. The Tunku also said he will be recommending that Tun Abdul Razak to replace him.
The speech also came one year after the 1969 racial riots. Tunku Abdul Rahman urged all Malaysians to "never, never forget" the incident, that he called "a social and mental earthquake – one that shook us to the core" and that "we must NEVER, NEVER forget"
Themes from the speech -- UNITY, GOODWILL, LOYALTY -- as still relevant today. "No matter what we are, we are ALL Malaysians."
Tunku Abdul Rahman's 1970 speech gave a preview to the Rukunegara, which was later proclaimed the following day by the Yang di- Pertuan Agong on Merdeka Day.
The five tenets were formulated in the wake of the May 13th 1969 racial riots.
1. Belief In God
2. Loyalty to King and Country
3. Upholding The Constitution
4. Soverignity of the Law, and
5. Good Behaviour and Morality
PROCLAMATION OF INDEPENDENCE 1957
In 1954, Abdul Rahman led a delegation to London to seek independence for Malaya, but the trip proved to be unfruitful. The British were reluctant to grant independence, using the excuse that there needed to be evidence that the different races in Malaya were able to work together and cooperate before independence could be obtained. Later in 1955 Abdul Rahman, along with Tun Sir Tan Cheng Lock and Tun V. T. Sambanthan, made a trip to London to negotiate Malayan independence, and 31 August 1957 was decided as the date for independence.
At the stroke of midnight on August 30th, the Union Jack was lowered at the Selangor Club Padang (now Dataran Merdeka) and the Malayan flag was raised. The Proclamation of Independence, read by Tunku Abdul Rahman, at Merdeka Stadium on Saturday 31st August 1957, as watched by 25,000 people.
This recording of his emotional but determined voice leading the cheers, have become a familiar icon of Malaysian independence.
BFM89.9 would like to thank the National Archives of Malaysia, especially the Memorial Tunku Abdul Rahman, for the audio recordings of Tunku Abdul Rahman's speeches.