Tun Hussein bin Dato' Onn who is of 3/4 Malay and 1/4 Circassian ancestry was the third Prime Minister of Malaysia, leading the country from 1976 to 1981. He was granted the soubriquet ‘Father of Unity’. He was born in Johor Bahru, Johor on February 12, 1922. Tun Hussein is the son of Dato' Onn Jaafar, the founder of UMNO and a Malayan freedom fighter. His grandfather Dato Jaafar Haji Muhammad was the first Menteri Besar of Johore while his grandmother, Hanim Rogayah was from Scarcia, Turkey. Tun Hussein was married to Tun Suhaila Mohamad Noah for 42 years and he was the brother in law of Tun Abdul Razak, his predecessor as Prime Minister. Tun Hussein received his early education in Singapore and at the English College in Johor Bahru. After leaving school, he joined the Johor Military Forces as a cadet in 1940 and was sent a year later to the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, India. Upon completion of his training, he was absorbed into the Indian Army and served in the Middle East when the Second World War broke. After the war, his vast experience prompted the British to employ him as an instructor at the Malayan Police Recruiting and Training Centre in Rawalpindi.
Tun Hussein came back to Malaysia in 1945 and was appointed Commandant of the Johor Bahru Police Depot. The following year he joined the Malaya Civil Service as an assistant administrative officer in Segamat, Johor. He was later posted to the state of Selangor, becoming Klang and Kuala Selangor’s district officer.
Tun Hussein, who came from a family with deep nationalistic spirit and political roots, resigned from the civil service to go into politics. In 1949, he became the first youth chief of UMNO (United Malays National Organization), a party his father helped established. In 1950, Tun Hussein was elected the UMNO secretary general but he left UMNO in 1951 to join his father in forming the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP). However, with IMP losing momentum, Tun Hussein went...
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