Abdul Rahman was born on 8 February 1903 in Istana Pelamin, Alor Star in Kedah to the 24th Sultan of Kedah Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah and his sixth wife Cik Menjalara. He was the fourteenth son and twentieth child of his father. As a child Abdul Rahman was raised in Isatan, the Palace, which was built by a Chinese contractor and had a royal childhood with a number of servants around him. Prince Abdul was sent to a Malay Primary School Jalan Baharu in 1909 and was later moved to the Government English School in Alor Star, which eventually became known as the Sultan Abdul Hamid College. In 1911, little prince Abdul was sent to Debsirin School in Bangkok to study with his three brothers. He returned to Malaya in 1915 and resumed his studies at Penang Free School. After three years in 1918, he enrolled at St. Catharine’s College in Cambridge University with the Kedah State Scholarship and graduated with a bachelor degree in Arts in 1925. At that time, he drew national attention and was praised as the first student to receive a scholarship from Kedah State for studying in the United Kingdom.
After finishing his graduation, Abdul Rahman served in the Kedah public service and was made the District Officer of Kulim and Sungai Petani. At that time, the colonial Malaya was totally dominated by the British officers, with the only exception of Abdul Rahman who was a Malaya and had concern for his fellow people of Malaya. The two could never come to terms and he often had to pay for it by loosing promotion to higher positions. However, the British Administration did not dare do anything against him, as he was a son of the Sultan and a price of Malaya. Few years later, Abdul went to England and stayed there briefly before finally returning to Malaya following the eruption of the World War II.
He continued his law studies at Inner Temple in 1947 and after admitted to bar in 1949, he returned to Malaya where he was appointed at the Legal Officer’s office in Alor Star in the same year. Further, he was made a Deputy Public Prosecutor in Kaula Lampur and president of the session’s court. Abdul Rahman was also a member of the United Malays National Organization, an organization struggling against Britain’s Malayan Union. In 1951, a conflict surfaced within the UMNO forcing its president Datuk onn Jaafar to resign and the person replacing him was Abdul Rahman, who eventually seized the position for the next twenty years.
Independence of Malaya
Abdul Rahman began his campaign for Malaya’s independence in 1954. His initial efforts failed to achieve anything as the British Administration was averse to grant independence unless it was assured of the racial harmony and equality in a new independent Malaya. As President of the UMNO, Abdul Rahman consolidated a political alliance with the Malaya Chinese Association to form the Alliance Party and later the Indian community Malayan Indian Association joined them in 1955. The coalition gained huge popularity among people though the UMNO members were initially reluctant to open the party to Chinese and Indian community. Abdul Rahman...