Tan Sri Abdul Jamil bin Abdul Rais was born on 14 January 1912 in Kuala Kangsar, Perak. He received his early education at Clifford School, Kuala Kangsar. In 1931, he became a Student Probationer of the Malay Administrative Service (M.A.S) at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar, one of the most well known education institutes at that time and he was the first Malay student from his school who had such an education opportunity.
In 1932 he began his career in the administrative field as an M.A.S Probationer Officer where he was posted to Kuala Selangor District Office and was subsequently placed at the Sabak Bernam District Office in Selangor the following year. His career in the field continued to blossom when he was posted to Port Dickson District Office where he was later appointed the Deputy Assistant District Officer (D.A.D.O) in Hulu Selangor in 1938 and then the Deputy Assistant District Officer in Hilir Perak from 1939 until 1941 when the Second World War broke out and the administration of Tanah Melayu was taken over by the Japanese for several years.
Indeed, the long run of time had made him matured in his experience in the field of administration. The long string of positions he held from M.A.S. Officer to M.C.S. (Malayan Civil Service) Officer from 1932 to 1941 strengthens and widens his experience.
During the Japanese Occupation, Tan Sri Abdul Jamil bin Abdul Rais was so active in anti-Japanese activities that he was arrested by the Japanese. He was also directly involved with the formation of Guerrilla Force 136 Team which resulted in his arrest by the Communist towards the end of Japan's handing over of Malaya to the British.
However, after the Second World War, when the British returned to Malaya, Tan Sri Abdul Jamil was appointed Commissioner of Lands and Mines in the state of Perlis for about three years before he left in 1950. Following that, on 18 September 1950 he was appointed Selangor State Government Deputy Secretary. He then left for the United Kingdom to attend courses and upon his return, Tan Sri Abdul Jamil was appointed the Selangor State Government Secretary in early 1951.
On 1 Disember 1951, Tan Sri Abdul Jamil moved to Perlis when he was appointed Perlis State Government Secretary until 1953. He then left for United Kingdom again to take up Administration Courses at the Oxford University.
Upon his return from abroad in 1955, he was posted at the Federal Establishment Office (F.E.O) and on 14 March 1956, he served at the Selangor State Finance Office as a Finance Officer. Tan Seri Abdul Jamil later on was appointed the Selangor State Government Deputy Secretary as of 30 Jun 1956. In 1957 he was appointed as the Menteri Besar of Selangor for a period of four months before he permanently held the post when Malaya achieved Independence in August 1957.
On 8 June 1958, he was honoured by the Government to go around the world for three months. Upon his return from the visit, Tan Sri Abdul Jamil was tasked d to resume his duty as the Menteri Besar of Selangor. In 1959, he was appointed to hold a post at the National Treasury. He was then appointed the Secretary to National Treasury in 1961 and became the first Malay to hold the post. In 1964, he was appointed the first Chief Secretary to the Government. This post was formerly known as Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister's Department and Tan Sri Abdul Jamil was the person responsible for the title change to better suit the job scope. Concurrently, he was also holding the post of Secretary to the Cabinet Ministers. In 1967, he was appointed as the Malaysian High Commissioner in London and also as the Malaysian Ambassador in Ireland. Apart from his duty as an administrator with a wide experience in the field that he was involved in, Tan Sri Abdul Jamil also held many other important posts in government bodies, sports associations, welfare and voluntary bodies and business companies. Among them are as follows:-
1. Chairman of Penang Port Commission
2. Deputy Yang DiPertua Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia Association
3. National Deputy President of Red Crescent Malaysia
4. President of Malaysian Government Pensioners Association
5. President of Selangor Lawn Tennis Association
6. President of Lawn Tennis Association Malaysia
7. Deputy President of Football Association Malaysia
8. President of Universiti Malaya Council
9. President of Malaysian Scouts Association Council (The first Malay to hold this post)
10. Chairman, Family Planning Board
11. Chairman of KONTENA Nasional Sdn. Bhd. and others.
Besides, Tan Sri Abdul Jamil was also acti he held the post of UMNO Kuala Kangsar Division Chief in Perak and several other previous posts during his service with the government. His contributions for the country, particularly in the administrative field is enormous. His service to the people and the nation traversed two eras, pre- and post-independence. His great deeds which he dedicated are honoured by the country. In fact during the British administration, Tan Sri Abdul Jamil was awarded with medals including ‘Coronation Medal' and also ‘Selangor Meritorius Service Medal' in 1956.
Tan Sri Abdul Jamil was also awarded Pingat Johan Mangku Negara (JMN) and Pingat Panglima Mangku Negara (PMN) by His Majesty Yang di-Pertua Agong that carried the title Tan Sri. He also received the highest degree medal from the Thai Government which is ‘Knight Commander of The Most Exalted Order of The White Elephant'. Tan Sri Abdul Jamil's contribution is acknowledged not only by the local government but also internationally. His involvement in the administrative field has contributed significantly towards the nation's development and he has been considered very successful in his career. His success benefits not only himself, it sows the seeds of courtesy which thrive to adorn the nation. His dedication has undoubtedly contributed towards the progress of the country.