By Mansor Puteh
A funeral service for Nelson Mandela will be held in a stadium in
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Tunku Abdul Rahman, 87, Dead; First Prime Minister of
Tunku Abdul Rahman, the gregarious noble who led in the founding of
who was for 13 years its first Prime Minister after it became independent from Britain in 1957, died yesterday in General
Hospital in .
He was 87 years old. Kuala Lumpur
The Tunku, or prince in Malay, as he was called, had heart and kidney problems, the Government said. He went into a coma on Wednesday.
As he wished, the Tunku will be buried in accordance with Muslim rites at the Langgar Royal Mausoleum in his birthplace of Alor Star, a Malaysian state. The chief secretary to the Government, Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, said the Tunku would be given a full state funeral. A national holiday was declared yesterday.
The Tunku was the seventh son of Prince Abdul Rahman Ibni, a sultan who ruled for 61 years in Kedah, a northern principality. His mother was Makche Menjelara, who was half Burmese and half Siamese. She was a daughter of Luang Mira, a chieftan of the Siamese Shan states. Law Student in
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Above are the first few paragraphs in the Obituary on Tunku Abdul Rahman, who was
first Prime Minister who died on 6 December, 1990 published in The New York
Times (NYT) the next day, 7 December, 1990. Malaysia
Unfortunately, what the NYT had failed to also mention in the report is how Tunku Abdul Rahman or Prince Abdul Rahman was the first leader in the British Commonwealth who called for the expulsion of
in the Commonwealth’s Heads of Government Meeting that was held in
from 8 to 14 March, 1961. Brisbane, Australia
And the motion was adopted by the Commonwealth which caused the apartheid state of
be outcast from the organization and much of the world. South Africa
But it still had to take a lot of effort by the international community to finally cause the apartheid government to relinquish power that finally allowed the Black South African freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela from being released from Robbins Prison where he had been incarcerated for twenty-seven years.
Unfortunately, Tunku or The Prince was never given the right recognition by the post-apartheid South African government. Mandela himself was not aware of what Tunku had done to help fight the apartheid regime, as he was in prison and was most probably not informed of the move by the Commonwealth.
Mandela made visits to some of the countries and met with the then leaders of those countries to give them a general acknowledgement, without ever mentioning Tunku’s name including to Malaysia in 1994 where he met the then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohammed.
Nelson Mandela or Madiba as he was affectionately called died on 6 December, and twenty-three years after the death of Tunku.
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Below is what is currently available in Wikepedia.:
The 1961 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference was the eleventh Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations. It was held in the
in March 1961, and
was hosted by that country's Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan. United Kingdom
While Commonwealth conferences were normally held biennially, this conference was held after an interval of only a year as the May 1960 conference due to disagreement over
and whether the country should be removed from the commonwealth due to its
policy of racial segregation with Malaya's prime minister demanding 's
expulsion. South Africa
The prime minister of the Union of South Africa, H.F. Verwoerd, attended the conference to give formal notice that his country was to become a republic in May 1961 after having approved the constitutional change in an October 1960 referendum.
South Africa's application was opposed by the leaders of African states under black majority rule, Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Malaya's Tunku Abdul Rahman, and the other non-white Commonwealth countries as well as Canadian prime minister John Diefenbaker due to South Africa's policy of apartheid.
Canada was the only member of the old white Commonwealth to oppose 's application. South
The "Keep South Africa In" group included Britain's Harold Macmillan, Rhodesia and Nyasaland's Roy Welensky, Australia's Robert Menzies and Keith Holyoake of New Zealand.
Canadian prime minister John Diefenbaker proposed that
only be re-admitted if
it joined other states in condemning apartheid in principle. Once it became clear that South Africa 's membership would be
rejected, Verwoerd withdrew his country's application and left the conference. South Africa
Concerns were also expressed about
prospective membership in the Common Market and the possible impact on trade relations between the
and the Commonwealth. United Kingdom
The Commonwealth also expressed its support for worldwide disarmament "subject to effective inspection and control".
Cyprus' application to join the Commonwealth, following its independence the previous year, was approved over the opposition of the
Kingdom which objected as had not applied for
membership prior to independence as had been customary. Cyprus '
president, Archbishop Makarios III, joined the conference once the
decision on his country's membership was made. The membership application of Sierra Leone was also accepted and became effective upon its
independence on 27 April. Cyprus
This was the first Commonwealth conference in which one of the heads of government was a woman, Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike, who was also the first female prime minister in the world.
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I write this in order that this coincidence is also not missed by the admirers of Madiba and also of Tunku, the two men who had charted the course of their own country’s future, with Tunku, gaining Independence or ‘Merdeka – a word which was borrowed from the Dutch word for independence’ for the then Malaya from Britain.