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A Historical Narrative Ceremony on the National Art Gallery Personage.
Kamarul Ariffin was born on 12th August 1934 and was raised in a kampong and small town community. He received his early education at the Chatin Malay School, Mentakab, Pahang. During the Japanese rule, he continued his studies at the Koto-ko-Gakko, and in 1945 enrolled in the English-streamed Abu Bakar School right up to the highest standard level available at the time, which was standard six (equivalent to Form 2 now). Due to his determination in studies, he applied for a place at the Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur and studied there between 1951-1954..
The experience of witnessing his own father being trialled by the 'mahkamah rakyat' or 'kangaroo court' established by the Communist insurgents in September 1945 led to his interest in studying law.In order to become a qualified lawyer during the British colonial era, a person is required to follow lectures in England. Due to his lack of interest in serving the government of the day, he was not entitled to receive any scholarships or loans from the colonial government. With the help of his family, he was sent to England to pursue his ambitions in becoming a lawyer. Running out of money upon his father's death in 1956 forced him to work full time to raise money while studying. He finally passed the examinations and was accepted as a Barrister-at-Law. He returned home in 1961 and worked as a legal practitioner in Shearn, Delamore & Co. before opening Ariffin & Ooi law firm in 1965.
In 1976, he was requested by the government to do a 'national service' by becoming head of Bank Bumiputra Berhad and then afterwards to relinquish the Executive Chairman post once the bank became the largest bank in Southeast Asia and its shares were transferred from the government to Permodalan Nasional Berhad as required by the First Bumiputra Economic Congress resolutions held in 1965. Kamarul is among one of those appointed to the National Consultative Council (during the absence of Parliament when the chaos erupted on 13th May 1969). He was also appointed as a member of the Senate and held the position for a period of ten years.
Other positions he had previously held included the President for both the Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the national and the ASEAN level, the Chairman of the Association of Banks in Malaysia and the Chairman of Asean Bank Council, Chairman of the First National Consultative Council on Culture, Member of the Executive Committee of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Independent Member of the Industrial Arbitration Court, Independent Member of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), and The Capital Issues Committee (prior to the establishment of the Securities Commission). On the world stage, he was elected as the President of CIOS or World Teachers' Institute, and Chairman of the World Scout Council headquarters in Geneva. He also served as Chairman of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and was elected as a Chairman to dozens of limited companies listed on Bursa Malaysia. He also served as a legal advisor to several organisations, universities and prominent individuals.
His involvement as a member of the Board of Trustees for the National Art Gallery began in 1972 and he stepped down as Chairman of the Board of Trustees in 2004. His exposure to the visual arts began when he was in England and had visited to almost all renowned galleries and museums worldwide.