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Tunku Abdul Rahman

Abdul Rahman, Tunku, (tŏnˈkō äbˈdŏl räˈmän) [key], 1903–90, Malaysian political leader. A prince (tunku), he was the fifth son of Sultan Abdul Halim Shah of Kedah and was educated in England at Cambridge. Abdul Rahman entered the Kedah state civil service in 1931. In 1945 he helped found the United Malay National Organization, a nationalist political party of which he was president (1952–55). In 1955, after the Federation of Malaya's first elections, he was named chief minister; he vigorously opposed the Communist guerrillas in Malaya. When Malaya became independent on Aug. 31, 1957, he was elected the country's first prime minister. An influential statesman in Southeast Asia, Abdul Rahman in 1961 put forward the plan for the Federation of Malaysia, approved in 1963. He retired as prime minister in 1970.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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