Adam Malik served as the third Vice President of Indonesia and was a pioneer of Indonesian journalism. He also served as a senior diplomat and was instrumental in the events leading up to Indonesia’s independence declaration and the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Born into a Muslim family on Sumatra’s west coast, he received a brief formal education before becoming a revolutionary at the age of 17. After serving a brief prison sentence for his rebellious activities, he relocated to Jakarta and founded an insurgent press service. Later in life, he entered politics, serving in Indonesia’s provisional Parliament during the war against the Dutch and then in the House of Representatives as a member of the Murba Party. After working as a journalist and politician, he was appointed ambassador to the Soviet Union and Poland. He later became the country’s Foreign Minister, a position he held for 11 years. He was also appointed President of the United Nations General Assembly concurrently. After retiring from his diplomat career, he became the Vice President of Indonesia in Suharto’s government. As a devout nationalist, he adapted to Indonesia’s rapidly changing political tides, devoting his entire career to the development of his homeland and its people.
Childhood & Adolescence
On July 22, 1917, in Pematang Siantar, North Sumatra, Dutch East Indies, Adam Malik was born to Abdul Malik Batubara and Salamah Lubis. He was a member of a Batak Mandailing Muslim family belonging to the Batubara clan.
His early education was split between a Dutch primary school and a Muslim religious school. After graduating from Junior High School, he began working as a shopkeeper.
As a teenager, he developed an interest in politics and was elected Chairman of the Partindo (Indonesia Party) Pematang Siantar branch at the age of 17.
He campaigned for Indonesia’s independence from the Dutch Colonial Government and was imprisoned as a result of disobeying the Colonial Government’s ban on political assemblies.
Career of Adam
After his release, he relocated to Jakarta and began working as a journalist. He later founded the Antara press bureau in December 1937 after writing for Partindo’s Party Magazine and Pelita Andalas Newspaper.
Between 1940 and 1941, he was a member of the Gerindo Party’s Executive Board. Later in life, he became a member of the Persattien Perdjoeangan (Struggle Front), a movement dedicated to preserving Indonesia’s independence, which was declared in August 1945 by Indonesian nationalists.
He also served as the Third Deputy Chairman and a member of the Daily Executive Board of the Indonesian Central National Committee (KNIP) during the struggle for independence.
He co-founded the Partai Rakjat (People’s Party) in 1946 and later founded the Murba Party in 1948. He became a Parliament member through the Murba Party and served as its Executive Member until 1964.
In 1956, as a member of the Murba Party, he was elected to the House of Representatives. In 1959, he was also appointed to the Provisional Supreme Advisory Council.
He began his career in foreign affairs in November 1959 as an Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Poland. In March 1962, he successfully negotiated the handover of West Irian (Western New Guinea) to Indonesia with the Netherlands. He was appointed to Antara’s Executive Board the following year.
He was appointed Minister of Commerce and Deputy Commander of KOTOE in November 1963. (Operation Economy). He then served on the Indonesian delegation to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva the following year.
In 1965, he was appointed to Sukarno’s Cabinet as the Minister for the Implementation of Guided Economy. He established a ruling triumvirate with General Suharto and Sultan Hamengko Buvono IX the following year.
He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1966 to 1977. Additionally, he represented Indonesia at numerous international conferences and served as Chairman of the Indonesian delegation to United Nations General Assembly sessions beginning in 1966.
In October 1970, he was appointed Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations’ Twenty-Fifth Commemorative Session. He was elected President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1971.
He was elected Chairman of the People’s Consultative Assembly in 1977. (MPR). He was appointed Vice President of Indonesia in Suharto’s cabinet in 1978. He held this position until 1983.
Significant Works of Adam
He was instrumental in the formation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 1967. (ASEAN). The association was successful in forging strong ties between Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore.
Awards and Accomplishments
The United Nations presented Adam Malik with the ‘Dag Hammarskjöld Award’ in 1982. He was also named a ‘National Hero of Indonesia,’ the country’s highest honor.
Personal History and Legacies
He married and was the father of five children: four sons and one daughter. Adam Malik died of liver cancer on September 5, 1984, in Bandung, West Java, at the age of 67. His remains were laid to rest in the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery.
Estimated Net Worth
The estimated net worth of Adam is $20million.