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Yang Berhormat Dato' Seri
 Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein

Hishammuddin Hussein.jpg

Assumed office 
10 April 2009
Preceded by Syed Hamid Albar

Assumed office 
26 March 2009
Preceded by Mohd Ali Rustam

Malaysian Minister of Education
In office
31 March 2004 – 9 April 2009
Preceded by Musa Mohamad
Succeeded by Muhyiddin Yassin

Chairman of UMNO's Youth Wing
In office
31 March 2004 – 26 March 2009
Preceded by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
Succeeded by Khairy Jamaluddin

Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports
In office
1999 – 30 March 2004
Preceded by Muhyiddin Yassin
Succeeded by Azalina Othman Said

Born 5 August 1961 (age 48)
Political party Malaysia UMNO part of Barisan Nasional
Spouse(s) Yang Mulia Datin Seri Tengku Marsilla Tengku Abdullah
Relations Son of Tun Hussein Onn
Occupation Malaysia Member of Parliament
Religion Islam

Dato' Seri Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein (born 5 August, 1961) is a controversial Malaysian politician and member of United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). He is the current Malaysian Minister of Home Affairs. He was the previous Malaysian Minister of Education, having served since 30 March, 2004.



Hishammuddin is the son of Tun Hussein Onn, the third Prime Minister of Malaysia and the grandson of Dato' Onn Jaafar, the founder of UMNO and a Malayan freedom fighter. He is also the cousin of the current Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He was attending Malay College Kuala Kangsar before his father became Deputy Prime Minister in 1973. Upon his father's appointment to the post, he attended St. John's Institution in Kuala Lumpur before going on to the Alice Smith School, also in Kuala Lumpur. From Alice Smith School, he went to the English public school, Cheltenham College. Next, he attended the University of Wales, Aberystwyth where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) in 1984. He also attended London School of Economics and received a Master of Laws (LL.M) in Commercial and Corporate Law in 1988.

Prior to his commencing his political career, Hishammuddin was formerly a lawyer with the large Malaysian firm then known as Skrine & Co. (now known as Skrine) and later, a firm then known as Lee Hishammuddin (now known as Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill).

His wife, Yang Mulia Tengku Dato' Datin Seri Marsilla Tengku Abdullah, is a princess from the state of Pahang, Malaysia.

Keris controversy

Hishammuddin's act of waving the keris (traditional Javanese dagger) at the UMNO Annual General Meeting in 2005 drew applause from the UMNO delegates.

In 2005, Hishammuddin waved the keris (famous traditional Javanese dagger) at the UMNO Annual General Meeting. Commentators perceived this action as meant to defend Hak Keistimewaan Melayu , Malay Rights as per lawfully mentioned in Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia and in the social contract. Although applauded by the Malay delegates, the picture of Hishammuddin with the keris was widely ridiculed in the Malaysian blogosphere.

In response to concerns over the racial rhetoric, Vice President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that "Although some sides were a bit extreme [this year], it is quite normal to voice feelings during the assembly."[1]

The Deputy Chief of the Youth wing, Khairy Jamaluddin, insisted that "while there is nothing extraordinary about this year’s congress and that similar sentiments have been raised in the past, these feelings have never compromised the ultimate manifestation of governance in this country through BN’s power-sharing formula."[2]

Hishammuddin also defended the delegates' actions, saying that events earlier in the year related to the status of Islam in Malaysia and the NEP had "played on the Malay psyche. If they had not been allowed to release their feelings in a controlled channel, it could have been even worse." He defended his usage of the keris, saying it was meant "to motivate the Malays" and that it "is here to stay", denying that it was a symbol of Malay supremacy (ketuanan Melayu).[3]

Hishammuddin also asserted that "The keris is on the Umno flag...It is a symbol of Malay culture. You give keris as gifts to non-Malays, and non-Malays give them to me at functions." However, Chinese politicians declared themselves unconvinced by Hishammuddin's explanations, with the Malaysian Chinese Association (a member of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition) Youth chief, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, saying that "If I hold a Chinese sword at a wushu function, it would be different than if I hold one at a political event. This was a political function, so it is seen in a different context. It can create uneasiness."

"Cow-Head" Press Conference Debacle

Hishammuddin found himself mired in controversy again in 2009 when he came to the defence of a group of demonstrators who were protesting the relocation of a Hindu temple into their housing area. The protest was caught on video by the popular Malaysian news online portal, The protesters, with a group of about 50, marched a few hundred metres carrying the decapitated head of a cow. The cow is a sacred animal in the Hindu religion. The demonstration met with nation-wide condemnation from government & opposition politicians, non-governmental organisations, and the public.

In response the Malaysian Home Minister, invited the protesters to a discussion. In a press conference later, Hishammuddin defended the actions of the protesters saying that they cannot be blamed. He cited several reasons:

  • Although the demonstration was illegal & without a government-issued permit, the protesters had limited the size of their demonstration
  • The state government had made a poor decision in relocating the Hindu temple
  • The people should be allowed space to voice their opinions
  • Similar incidents have happened before (pig heads being thrown into UMNO grounds)

The press conference which was also recorded by Malaysiakini, was almost as controversial as the protest; opposition politicians came out to denounce the Minister's actions and called for his resignation.

To further embarrass Hishammuddin, the government-controlled Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) sent a letter to appealing for it to take down both videos. This has been interpreted by some as damage control by the government due to Hishammuddin's embarrassing press conference. [4] [5] [6]

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Notes and references

Other references

Ooi, Jeff (2005). "The 30% solution". Retrieved Nov. 17, 2005.



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