As the Malay proverb goes"Harimau mati meninggalkan belang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama" which transliterates as a person dies but his deeds live on. It is the most meaningful phrase to commemorate the meritorious deeds and contributions of prominent statesman; Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra. On 6 December 2009 will be exactly 19 years since Tunku passed away. However, memories of him have never faded but is evergreen in the minds of Malaysians.
Throughout his lifetime, Tunku had demonstrated his greatness as a capable leader in various fields. His leadership quality was also recognised by Tun Abdul Razak in his appreciation and thank you speech to Tunku in the House of Representatives in February 1971. He mentioned that Tunku was present at an auspicious moment in the history of our race's struggles. This was evident via the heritage left behind by Tunku in the country's annals.
If we browse through the development history of the nation, Tunku was a brave-heart fighter and possessed a high self-identity to emancipate the country from the shackles of colonialism. His involvement in the opposition of the Malayan Union, his helming of the UMNO leadership through slogan changes from Long Live the Malays (Hidup Melayu) to Independence (Merdeka), his masterminding of the alliance strategy between the races with the cooperation of the Malay Rulers Council have proven Tunku's leadership ability until he succeeded in achieving independence peacefully through the negotiating table. Obstacles, challenges and painful sacrifices were already dispensed for all to enjoy the fruits of independence inherited until today, and we as Malaysians should feel indebted to Tunku - the Father of Independence.
At Post independence, Tunku, who led the Cabinet, had formed a long-term development strategy by implementing the national development plan for a period of every five years starting with the First Malaya Plan in the year 1956 - 1960. The initial stage plan was directed towards the recovery and development to build the nation's progress. This development plan included all levels of multi-ethnic societies in urban and rural areas.
From the unity aspects, Tunku as the leader who represented the interests of the Malays, has never once marginalised other races. It is clear that the unity of the multi-racial people in this country is based upon the Constitution of Malaya and should be comprehended by all Malaysians. The traits of mutual understanding are very important and was emphasised by Tunku so in the hope that the people can live in an atmosphere of goodwill and harmony.
Tunku was said to be A Man of Peace. The presence of Tunku in the 1955 Baling Talks with representatives from the Communist Party of Malaya demonstrated his traits of loving peace and unity. Although the talk failed, Tunku was looked upon as the champion of peace.