Military Wiki
Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun
Hussein Onn
SMN DK (Johor) DK (Selangor) DK (Terengganu) DK (Kelantan) SPMJ SSIJ SPCM SPMP SPNS

حسين عون

File:Tun Hussein Onn portrait.jpg
3rd Prime Minister of Malaysia

In office
15 January 1976 – 16 July 1981
Monarch Yahya Petra
Ahmad Shah
Deputy Mahathir Mohamad
Preceded by Abdul Razak
Succeeded by Mahathir Mohamad
3rd Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia

In office
13 August 1973 – 15 January 1976
Monarch Abdul Halim
Yahya Petra
Prime Minister Abdul Razak
Preceded by Ismail Abdul Rahman
Succeeded by Mahathir Mohamad
1st President of International Islamic University of Malaysia

In office
Chancellor Ahmad Shah
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Anwar Ibrahim
Personal details
Born Hussein bin Onn
(1922-02-12)12 February 1922
Johor Bahru, British Malaya (now Malaysia)
Died 29 May 1990(1990-05-29) (aged 68)
South San Francisco, California, United States
Resting place Makam Pahlawan, Masjid Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Citizenship Malaysian
Political party Independent (1987–1990)
Other political
United Malays National Organisation (Before 1951; 1968–1988)
Independence of Malaya Party (1951–1963)
National Party (1963–1968)
Spouse(s) Suhailah Noah[1]
Children 6 (including Hishammuddin Hussein)
Profession Lawyer
Military service
Allegiance  British Raj
Service/branch British Indian Army
Years of service 1940–1945
Rank Captain

Tun Hussein bin Dato' Onn, (12 February 1922 – 29 May 1990) was the third Prime Minister of Malaysia, serving in this role from 1976 to 1981. Moreover, he was the Member of Parliament for Template:Pseat from 1974 to 1981, representing Barisan Nasional and UMNO. He was granted the soubriquet "Bapa Perpaduan" (Father of Unity).


He was born in Johor Bahru, the son of Datin Halimah Hussein and Dato' Onn Jaafar, a fighter for Malaysian independence and co-founder of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).[1] His grandfather Dato Jaafar Haji Muhammad was the first Menteri Besar (chief minister) of Johor while his grandmother, Roquaiya Hanim (also spelled Rogayah Hanim or Rukiye Hanım) came from the Caucasus region of Ottoman Empire. She was likely presented as a concubine (see Circassian beauties) by the Ottoman court to the sultan of Johor.[2] Hussein was the brother-in-law of Tun Abdul Razak, his predecessor as Prime Minister, who also married another Tan Sri Haji Mohamed Noah Omar's daughter, Tun Rahah Noah.

Tun Hussein married Tun Suhailah Noah in 1948.[3] Suhaila Noah was the daughter of Tan Sri Haji Mohamad Noah Omar, former Minister of Home Affairs and first Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat.[3] Hussein Onn and Suhaila Noah had six children, including their fourth child, Hishammuddin Hussein, the Minister of Defence from 2013 to 2018.[3] Their eldest daughter, Datin Roquaiya Hanim, died on 17 September 2005, at the age of 56 from breast cancer in Kuala Lumpur.[3]

Early life

Tun Hussein received his early education in Telok Kurau Primary School, Singapore and at the English College Johore 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 served in the Middle East when the Second World War broke.[1] 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.[1]

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.

Entering politics

Tun Hussein, who came from a family with deep nationalistic spirit and political roots,[1] resigned from the civil service to go into politics. In 1949, he became the first youth chief of UMNO (United Malays National Organisation), a party his father helped establish. In 1950, he was elected the UMNO secretary general. Tun Hussein however left UMNO in 1951 to join his father in forming the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP).[1]

With IMP losing momentum, Tun Hussein went to London to study law and was called to the Bar and admitted as a member of the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn, qualifying as a Barrister-at-Law. He came back as a certified lawyer and practised in Kuala Lumpur.[1]

Rise to power

Hussein Onn returned to politics in 1968 after being persuaded by the then Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak to rejoin UMNO.[1] He stood and won the general elections in 1969 and was appointed as the education minister. Tun Hussein's meteoric rise continued on 13 August 1973 when he succeeded the late Ismail Abdul Rahman as the Deputy Prime Minister.[1] On 15 January 1976 he was appointed as Prime Minister of Malaysia after the death of Tun Razak.[4]

Hussein was renowned for stressing the issue of unity through policies aimed at rectifying economic imbalances between the various communities found in Malaysia.[1] For instance, 20 April 1981 saw the National Unit Trust Scheme being launched. He also gave serious consideration to the concept of Rukun Tetangga (a neighbourhood watch scheme) and the fight against the drug menace.

He underwent a coronary bypass in early 1981. On 17 July the same year, he retired from active politics and relinquished his prime minister post due to health concerns.[1] He was succeeded by Mahathir Mohamad, his deputy.


After his retirement as Prime Minister, he continued to contribute to welfare organisations. He was instrumental in the setting up of the Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital. He was also an advisor to Petronas, the country's oil company, and Chairman of Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS).

During the 1987 UMNO leadership crisis, Hussein fell out with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, supporting Team B along with Tunku Abdul Rahman. Hussein along with the Tunku, henceforth, became a strident critic of the Mahathir administration and died without having rejoined UMNO.

Hussein Onn died on 29 May 1990 in Seton Medical Center at San Francisco, California, at the age of 68.[1] He had two sons and four daughters. He is buried in Makam Pahlawan (Heroes Mausoleum) near Masjid Negara, Kuala Lumpur.

Awards and recognitions

Honour of Malaysia

  •  Malaysia :
  •  Johor :
    • Most Esteemed Royal Family Order of Johor - ribbon bar.png Grand Commander of the Royal Family Order of Johor (DK I)
    • Most Honourable Order of the Crown of Johor - ribbon bar.png Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Crown of Johor (SPMJ)
    • Order of the Loyalty of Sultan Ismail (Johor) - ribbon bar.png Knight Grand Companion of the Order of Loyalty of Sultan Ismail of Johor (SSIJ)
    • Sultan Ibrahim Coronation Medal ribbon.gif Sultan Ibrahim Medal (PIS)
  •  Selangor:
    • MY-SEL Royal Family Order of Selangor - DK II.svg Second Class Member of the Royal Family Order of Selangor (DK II)[6]
  •  Terengganu :
    • MY-TER Family Order of Terengganu 1st class - DK I.svg Member first class of the Family Order of Terengganu (DK I)
  •  Kelantan :
    • MY-KEL Royal Family Order - Star of Yunus - DK.svg Recipient of the Royal Family Order or Star of Yunus (DK)
  •  Perak :
    • MY-PERA Order of Cura Si Manja Kini (before 2001).svg Grand Knight of the Order of Cura Si Manja Kini (the Perak Sword of State, SPCM)
  •  Perlis :
    • MY-PERL Order of the Crown of Perlis - Knight Grand Commander - SPMP.svg Knight Grand Commander of Order of the Crown of Perlis (SPMP)
  •  Negeri Sembilan :
    • MY-NEG Order of Loyalty to Negeri Sembilan.svg Knight Grand Commander of the Order of Loyalty to Negeri Sembilan (SPNS)
  •  Pahang :
    • MY-PAH Order of the Crown of Pahang - Grand Knight - SIMP.svg Grand Knight of the Order of the Crown of Pahang (SIMP)
  •  Sabah :
    • MY-SAB Order of Kinabalu - SPDK.svg Grand Commander of the Order of Kinabalu (SPDK)
  •  Sarawak :
    • MY-SAR Order of the Star of the Hornbill (Bintang Kenyalang) - 1. Knight Grand Commander (DP).svg Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of Hornbill Sarawak (DP)
  •  Penang :
    • MY-PEN Order of the Defender of State - Knight Grand Commander - DUPN.svg Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Defender of State (DUPN)

Places named after him

Several places were named after him, including:

  • Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, a township in Cheras, Hulu Langat, Selangor
    • Template:KLRT code Bandar Tun Hussein Onn MRT station
  • Desa Tun Hussein Onn, a Malaysian Armed Forces residential area near Setiawangsa, Kuala Lumpur
  • Tun Hussein Onn Jamek Mosque, a mosque in Larkin, Johor, Johor
  • Tun Hussein Onn University of Malaysia (UTHM) Batu Pahat, Johor
  • Institut Pendidikan Tun Hussein Onn (IPTHO) Batu Pahat, Johor
  • Kolej Tun Hussein Onn, a residential college at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor
  • Kolej Tun Hussein Onn, a residential college at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Johor
  • Kolej Tun Hussein Onn, a residential college at Universiti Malaysia Perlis, Kuala Perlis, Perlis
  • SMK Tun Hussein Onn (SMKTHO), a secondary school in Kluang, Johor
  • SMK Tun Hussein Onn (SMKTHO), a secondary school in Seberang Jaya, Penang
  • SK Tun Hussein Onn (SKTHO), a primary school in Kampung Pandan, Kuala Lumpur
  • Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
  • Tun Hussein Onn Highway, part of the Penang Bridge, Penang
  • Jalan Tun Hussein Onn, a major road in Putrajaya
  • Tun Hussein Onn Hockey Cup
  • Dewan Tun Hussein Onn, Putra World Trade Centre
  • Tun Hussein Onn Memorial, a memorial in Kuala Lumpur

Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 "Tun Hussein Onn". Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  2. "The Myth and Reality of Rukiye Hanim in the Context of Turkish Malay Relations (1864–1904)". June 2015. pp. 55–74. Digital object identifier:10.12658/human.society.5.9.M0116. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Tun Suhailah, widow of 3rd PM Tun Hussein Onn, dies at 82". The Malaysian Insider. 4 October 2014. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  4. Tan, Chee Khoon & Vasil, Raj (ed., 1984). Without Fear or Favour, p. 38. Eastern Universities Press. ISBN 967-908-051-X.
  5. "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1981.". 
  6. "DK 1977". Retrieved 6 March 2018. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Ismail Abdul Rahman
Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia
Succeeded by
Mahathir Mohamad
Preceded by
Abdul Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Chairperson of ASEAN
Succeeded by
Corazon Aquino

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