Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is a notable Malaysian politician who has held numerous positions of prominence in the Malaysian government. From 1976 to 1984, he served as Minister of Finance; from 1984 to 1987, he served as Minister of International Trade and Industry. Born as the son of Kelantan’s most recent Menteri Besar, he grew up in an affluent environment and, after completing his primary education in his birthplace, traveled to Ireland for his secondary education. He continued his studies in London after earning a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Queen’s University of Belfast. However, his father’s death prompted him to return home immediately, without completing his schooling. With growing duties, he took over the management of the family business. He eventually entered politics. As a graduate of economics, he assisted Prime Ministers in implementing many programs aimed at enhancing the country’s economy. He established himself as a good politician with an in-depth understanding of how economies work over the next few years and was appointed the country’s Minister of Finance. In this capacity, he was instrumental in enacting significant economic reforms and policies in Malaysia, earning him the moniker ‘Father of the Malaysian Economy.’
Childhood & Adolescence
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was born on 13 April 1937 in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia as Tengku Razaleigh bin Tengku Mohd. Hamzah. Tengku Mohamed Hamzah bin Tengku Zainal Abidin, the last Menteri Besar of Kelantan, was his father.
He began his education at Sultan Ismail College before transferring to Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK). However, he struggled to acclimatize to his new environment and was sent to Anderson School in Ipoh, Perak.
He then moved to Northern Ireland to study at the Queen’s University of Belfast, where he graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. He then continued his schooling in London. However, his father died at this point, and he was forced to return home without completing his schooling.
Tengku Hamzah’s Career
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah assumed responsibility for the family business following his return from London. His interest in politics also grew at this time, and he became a member of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), a significant Malay political group.
He served as Secretary of the UMNO Liaison Committee in Kelantan from 1962 until 1966. He was a member of Malaya’s delegation to the United Nations during the United Nations General Assembly’s 17th session in 1962. He was appointed Executive Director of Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad in 1965.
His political career took off when he was promoted to the position of Deputy Chairman of the party’s Liaison Committee. He also gained a reputation in the mid-1960s for his extensive knowledge of finance and economics, assisting Prime Ministers in launching various measures to boost and expand Malaysia’s economic growth.
In 1971, he headed a trade team to China with the goal of establishing business ties with the country. He met with China’s Premier Zhou En Lai and was successful in growing total trade with the country by establishing a number of medical and sports delegations.
In the 1974 general election, he won the Parliamentary seat of then-Ulu Kelantan. The following year, Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak announced Razaleigh’s appointment as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PETRONAS (Petroliam Nasional Berhad).
He was eventually picked to manage the country’s finances and made Finance Minister in 1976 by the country’s new Prime Minister, Hussein Onn, who took office following Razak’s demise. He also took the role of Chairman of the Asian Development Bank the same year.
The KL High Court deemed the UMNO illegal in 1988. Another party, Semangat 46, was created on Y.T.M. Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra’s request to maintain UMNO’s original ambitions, with Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah as president.
He was a Member of Parliament from 1990 to 1996, representing Semangat 46 in the Gua Musang constituency. He disbanded Semangat 46 in 1996 and re-joined UMNO.
He was chosen Chairman of the UMNO Kelantan State Liaison Committee for the 1999 General Election and was re-elected Member of Parliament for Gua Musang on the Barisan Nasional platform in 1999.
In 2011, he founded Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah), a non-governmental organization dedicated to reviving and restoring the Merdeka spirit among Malaysians, at Memorial Tunku Abdul Rahman.
His Significant Works
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, an expert in finance and economics, is affectionately known as the ‘Father of Malaysia’s Economy’ due to his role in establishing financial reforms and introducing progressive economic policies in Malaysia. He also made a significant contribution to the development of the banking and insurance sectors in the country.
Awards and Accomplishments
In 1982, Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, bestowed upon him an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD).
Personal History and Legacies
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was longtime friends with Yvonne Law, a former Malaysian Airlines official. He eventually married her, and she converted to Islam under the name Cik Puan Noor Abdullah.
Estimated Net worth
Tengku is one of the wealthiest politicians and is ranked among the most popular. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s net worth is estimated to be around $1.5 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.