Tan Sri Hamzah Bin Datuk Abu Samah was born on 5 January 1924 in Pekan, Pahang. He received his early education from Sekolah Melayu Kajang, Selangor and then entered the Malay College of Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) in Perak. He furthered his studies in Britain in 1950 with a study loan from the Pahang State Government and graduated with Barristerat-Law, Gray's Inn, London (1953).
He served as the Pahang Assistant Election Supervisor, the Judge in Alor Setar, the Deputy Public Prosecuter in Johore, the Selangor State Legal Advisor and as the Federal Court Chief Registrar between 1954-1967.
In 1967 he was elected as the Member of Parliament for Raub, Pahang and was subsequently appointed as the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (1967-1969). Tan Sri Hamzah also became the Minister of Information and Broadcasting(1969-1971), Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports (1971-1973), Minister of Defence (1973-1974), Minister of Trade and Industry (1974-1978) and finally as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General(1978-1980). He withdrew from the Cabinet after going through a coronary by-pass surgery in 1980 and began to be self-employed.
In the political arena, Tan Sri Hamzah was elected as the Member of Parliament for Raub from year 1967 and was re-elected in the general elections in 1969 and 1974. However in the 1978 Election, he was chosen to contest as the Member of Parliament for Temerloh.
In the field of sports, he has led various domestic and international sports organisations. He became the President of the Malaysian Olympics Council since 1976. Apart from being a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 1978, he was also a member of the IOC Juridical Commission and Cultural Commission (1978-1982) as well as the Senior Vice President for the Asian Olympics Council (1982). At the South East Asian level, he was the Honorary President for the South East Asia Games Federation (since 1977).
It is through football as a sport that Tan Sri Hamzah Datuk Abu Samah became a renownedsports leader. He became the Presidentfor the Asian Football Federation (AFC) from 1978 to 1994, the Honorary President for AFC since 1994, the Deputy President for the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) from December 1982 to March 1990 and the Honorary Executive Member of FIFA (1990). He was also the Honorary President of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) from year 1984-1988. Apart from that, he was also the President of the Cricket Association of Malaysia (1969-1990), the Vice President of the Islamic Solidarity Federation (since March 1985) and the Presidentof the Tae Kwan Do Association of Malaysia (since 1987).
His capabilities and leadership in the sports arena also positioned him as the Vice President for the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) since year 1982. He was also responsible for bringing the Kuala Lumpur Games'98, 16th Commonwealth Games, to Malaysia.
Historical Personage Recounting of Malaysia's Involvement in the Commonwealth Games
30 July 1998
Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial