YBhg. Datuk Lily Abdul Majeed was born in Kuala Lumpur on 14 March 1921. She married Allahyarham Tuan Haji Mohd Salleh Bin Ahmad, former Deputy Chief School Inspector of Malaysia and bore a son; Ahmad Nizam.
Lily Majeed's education began in Sekolah Kampung Bahru, Kuala Lumpur circa 1927 to 1931. She then furthered her studies to Bukit Nenas Convent in Kuala Lumpur and passed Senior Cambridge in 1939. During the Second World War, her education in Normal Class (English) were halted and continued only after the war. She then enrolled in a teaching course at the Teacher's Training College, United Kingdom from 1951 to 1953. In 1954, she obtained her "Diploma in Child Development" from Institute of Education London University, England.
Her service as a teacher began in Convent School circa 1940 – 1941. During the Second World War, she served at the Selangor Education Department. She was attached to Maktab Perguruan Perempuan Melayu Melaka from 1946 – 1949 and became the Melaka Malay Schools' Supervisor from 1949 – 1951. In 1954 to 1957, she served as the Negeri Sembilan English School Supervisor. In 1958, she was appointed as School Inspector of the Federation of Malaya. In 1961, she was appointed as the Deputy Director of Teachers Training at the Ministry of Education and she held this post until she retired in 1972. Puan Lily Majeed was the first women appointed by His Royal Highness the Yang Di Pertuan Agong to become a member of the Malaysian Public Service Commission in 1972. She was also the first woman to be appointed a member of the Universiti Malaya Council from 1972 to 1976. She also became a member of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Council in 1977 to 1979 and from 1980, she became a Court member of the same university.
Puan Lily Majeed made a number of contributions in voluntary association movements for the society's welfare. Between the years 1931-1957, Puan Lily Majeed held various positions in the Girl Guides Movement. From a Girl Guide, she was appointed as a Girl Guide Captain, Assistant Commissioner to the Commissioner of Malay Guiding and finally became the Deputy Chief Commissioner of Malaya from 1955 – 1957. Aside from the Girl Guides, she was also active in other associations; Committee Member and Representative of the Ministry of Education Welfare in the Women's Institution (WI) from 1962 – 1972. Her involvement in the Muslim Women Welfare Authority began in 1965 as a Committee Member. From 1969 till today, she is the Honorary Secretary of the Muslim Women's Welfare Authority. Puan Lily Majeed had also been in various voluntary and community committees from time to time. Through these committees, she was constantly invited to give educational and societal talks across Malaysia.
Circa 1962, Puan Lily Majeed attended various conventions, meetings and seminars regarding education as a representative of the Ministry of Education in the country as well as overseas including New Delhi, Bangkok, Tokyo, Manila, United States, Moscow, Tehran and others. She underwent a special course for School Inspectors in England from 1957 – 1958. She was invited to attend societal and welfare works seminars in the United States, England, the Netherlands, Iraq, Indonesia and others.
She made a huge contribution in the Malaysian Girl Guides and was honored by the World Association of Girl Guides with Highest Merits in 1948. She was the main actuator in the organisation of the Muslim Women's Association Congress and became the Congress Secretary every time it was held. Her work involves the field of societal welfare and generally on education.
Her contributions and deeds were appreciated by the Government with the awarding of the Bintang Ahli Mangku Negara (AMN) in 1970, Bintang Johan Mangku Negara (JMN) by His Royal Highness the Yang DiPertuan Agong in 1987 and the Darjah Panglima Setia Diraja which carries the title Datuk.
History Narration Series – Women in the History of Malaysia
15 March 1986
National Archives of Malaysia