Tun Muhammad Ghazali bin Shafie was born in Kuala Lipis, Pahang on 22 March 1922. He began schooling at the Kuala Lipis Malay School in 1929, and later moved to the Bentong Malay School in 1930 and Penjom Malay School in 1931. When he entered standard seven in 1932, he moved to the Raub English School and stayed in a hostel.
During the outbreak of the Second World War, he was studying at the Raffles College, Singapore. Though still studying, he was actively involved in voluntary organisations which struggled to oppose the Japanese occupation. Among the organisations he took part in were the Malayan Volunteers Force in 1941 as a private No. 17317, a member of Force 136 of Resistance Movement and the Askar Wataniah.
Once the Second World War ended, Tun Muhammad Ghazali entered the government service as a Malay Junior Officer and was assigned as the Assistant District Officer, Kuala Lipis. He pursued his studies to University College of Wales, Aberystwyth from 1948 to 1951, majoring in law.
Upon his return to the country, he was assigned as the Assistant Selangor State Secretary before being transferred to Negeri Sembilan as the Acting State Secretary. He was posted overseas quite regularly between 1955 and 1957, including to the Commissioner's Office in London, office of the Permanent Representative of the United Nations as well as commissioner of the Federation of Malaya in India.
Upon his return from overseas, he was stationed at the Foreign Ministry as the Deputy Secretary General and later as the Acting Secretary General based on his extensive experience in foreign affairs. In 1960, he was appointed as the Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, a position which was later known as the Secretary General, Foreign Ministry. In 1962, he joined the Cobbold Commission which was responsible in the establishment of Malaysia. On 16 May 1969, Tun Ghazali Shafie joined Majlis Gerakan Negara (MAGERAN) which was establish to address national issues following the onset of the 13 Mei 1969 outbreak.
Tun Muhammad Ghazali retired from the government service as a government officer in 1970, when he was appointed as a Senator and was given a position in the Cabinet as a Minister with Special Duties. In 1972 he contested in the Parliament election for Lipis and won. He then continued to serve as the Minister with Special Duties and the Information Minister. In the 1974 election, he won uncontested and later changed his portfolio to be the Home Minister until 1981 when he was appointed as the Foreign Minister before he retired in 1984.
With the stature and aptitude in him, Tun Muhammad Ghazali had been entrusted as the Chairman for the National Day celebrations for 12 years from 1971 to 1982. As a visionary leader he was never out of new ideas to be applied in the yearly celebration events. What was interesting was that the lyrics of the ‘Malaysiaku Tercinta' song, a special song in conjunction with the 1980 National Day celebration was written by him.
The Statesman who once served in the national leadership arena under the purview of four primary leaders beginning from the era of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra up to the era of Tun Mahathir Mohamad passed away on 24 January 2010 and was buried at the Heroes' Mausoleum, at Masjid Negara (National Mosque).
This script was prepared by : Documentation Section
National Archives of Malaysia/2011.