TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN MEMORIAL


1.0 History and Background



Photo: The Residency in 2009
Picture taken by Zamri Salleh (USM)


Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial or the Residency is located at 43-45, Jalan Dato Onn, Kuala lumpur. Built in 1888, the building was originally the residence for the Selangor Residents. The Residency had a special meaning for the late Tunku. He had the desire to turn it into a national monument. The late Tunku occupied the building from the year 1956 to 1970 when he was serving the Malaya as the Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya, and subsequently as the first Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The idea of building the residency came up when Frank Sweethenham, the 3rd Resident of Selangor was searching for a piece of land to build the British Administration Office in Kuala Lumpur. Swettenham suggested that the field area, at the northwest side to become the official residence for the Selangor Residents. In 1883, Frank Swettenham designed and supervised the construction of the residency on the same land at the cost of $36,000. However, when the building was almost completed in 1889, he was transferred to Perak to substitute Sir Hugh Low.

The first ever resident to reside after the completion was William Maxwell, the 4th British Resident in Selangor, followed by W.H Treacher, the 5th British Resident in Selangor and J.PRodger, the 6th British Resident. After the Independence, the residency became the main office and the official residence he occupied from 1956 to 1972 as Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya, then as the first Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya and later, Malaysia. In 1992, 2 years after the passing of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the function and the name of the residency was replaced to “Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial”.




Photo: The National Textile Museum after Refurbishment in 2010
Picture taken by Zamri Salleh (USM)

The National Textile Museum building is the one of the government building to be built under the “Monumental Buildings Programme” that was initiated by William Maxwell, the 3rd British resident of Selangor, and C.E Sponner, the State Engineer at that time. The programme started with the construction of Sultan Abdul Samad building and ended with Malayan Railway building namely around 1895 to 1917. Due to unsuitable character and ecstatic values for the “Monumental Buildings Programme”, this Railway Head Office, was demolished in 1895 and this piece of land was replaced by the New Central Railway Office in 1905 until 1917. When the railway station was moved to a new building, this National Textile Museum building became the office for the Selangor Public Work Department (PWD). After Shah Alam was selected to be the capital city of Selangor, this building was occupied by Selangor Water Department, Central Bank, Agricultural Bank, Malaysian Craft and was High Court.

In January 2010, the National Textiles Museum has changed its function to house a unique collection of clothing, accessories and textiles. It showcases a collection of rare and exquisite textiles of the multi-ethnic communities of Malaysia. The museum has four main galleries: Pohon Budi Gallery, Pelangi Gallery, Teluk Berantai Gallery and the Ratna Sari Gallery.


2.0 The Architecture


Photo: The Memorial comprises of 3 buildings, The Residency, Block A and Block B
Picture taken by Zamri Salleh (USM)



The memorial, which sits on on 3 hectares (7.5 acres) of landscaped garden, was officially opened on 10th November, 1994 by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's Prime Minister. It serves as a permanent custodian for all archival, museum and library materials belonging or relating to Tunku. The memorial was established to commemorate the contribution and services of the Tunku, and to highlight the importance of the period in which Tunku emerged as the Father of Independence and the first Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The memorial exhibits items which related to the life and times of the Tunku. The memorial will also preserve these items and make them available for use by researchers and public. Exhibits include cartoons on Tunku, granite display of the 'Proclamation of Independence', biographies of Tunku and his wife Tun Sharifah Rodziah (in the form of audio-visual display, photographs, documents and artifacts), newpaper coverage and his personal collection of books. There is a theatrette where a slideshow introduction to the Memorial is presented.

Comprising three buildings, 'The Residency' is the main building flanked by 2 newer blocks.  It includes the Tunku’s former official residence called The Residency and two newer blocks housing materials belonging or relating to the Tunku, such as audiovisual displays, photographs, documents and artifacts, newspaper clippings and his personal collection of books. The main building is The Residency, a double-storey bungalow with high ceilings, polished hardwood floors and wide, open verandahs that overlook the grounds.




Photo: One of the living rooms in the Residency
Picture taken by Zamri Salleh (USM)



The Residency housed Tunku’s private office, seven bedrooms, a dining room, two sitting rooms and a drawing room for receiving VIPs and foreign dignitaries that was later dubbed the Cairo Room, because of the white chairs brought in from Cairo. It is lavishly decorated with a tiger skin rug on the floor and a decorative piece consisting of two upright elephant tusks, flanked by two elephant legs.

3.0 Timeline

Year

Event

1888

Construction of the building began.

1888 - 1957

The residence of the British Residents of Selangor. The first resident to live in this building was William Maxwell, the 3rd Resident of Selangor.

1956 – 1970

After the Independence, the residency became the main office and the official residence of  Tunku Abdul Rahman which he occupied from 1956 to 1972 as Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya, then as the first Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya and later, Malaysia

1992

2 years after the passing of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the function and the name of the residency was replaced to “Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial”. 

 10th November, 1994

The memorial, which sits on on 3 hectares (7.5 acres) of landscaped garden, was officially opened by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's Prime Minister.

1994 - present

The memorial serves as a permanent custodian for all archival, museum and library materials belonging or relating to Tunku.



4.0 References

[Website]

1. Official portal of National Archives of Malaysia. “National Centre for Archives & Research”.
Available at: http://www.arkib.gov.my/en/memorial_tunku_abd_rahman

2. Malaysia Vacation Guide. Available at: http://www.malaysiavacationguide.com/Tunku-Abdul-Rahman.html 3. Yahoo! Travel. “KL Attraction”.
Available at: http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-2766637 big_black_river_wildlife_kuala_lumpur-i

5. Malaysia Traveler.
Available at: http://www.malaysia-traveller.com/textile-museum.html

[Newspaper]

1. “Bangunan Residensi akan jadi Memorial Tunku Abdul Rahman”. Utusan Malaysia, 27th June 1992, pg 3.

2. “Residency’ becomes Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial”. The Star, 6th July 1992, pg 2.

3. “Jasa Tunku Tetap Dikenang” by Kamal Ahmad. Berita Harian,7th July 1992

4. “Tabung Amanah Memorial Tunku berjaya kompol derma sebanyak $13,031,500.00”, Utusan Malaysia, 8th July 1992, pg 1-2

5. “Simbol Sumbangan Tunku”, Berita Harian, 8th July 1992, pg 1-2

6. “Memories of the Residency”, Malay Mail, 8th July 1992

7. “Bukan untuk Dewa-Dewakan Pemimpin-PM”, Bacaria, 15th July 1992, pg 36