Yang Amat Mulia Raja Tun Uda Al-Haj bin Raja Muhammad (31st August 1957 – 30th August 1967)

(S.M.N., D.U.P.N., K.B.E, C.M.G.)

Yang Amat Mulia Raja Tun Uda Al-Haj Bin Raja Muhammad was born in 1894, at Kuala Langat. He studied at the Malay College in Kuala Kangsar, a premier institutions formally reserved for aristocrats and members of the Malay royalty. He was Secretary to the British Resident of Selangor in 1947 and then became the first State Secretary of Selangor in 1949. On 31st August 1957, Malaya achieved independence and he became the first Malayan to be appointed Governor of Penang. He served as Governor until 30th August 1967. He became the Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Selangor in 1951 and was warded C.M.G. 1953 (Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (K.B.E.). In July 1953 he was appointed High Commissioner for Malaya in United Kingdom. In November 1954 he was reappointed as Menteri Besar, Selangor and on 24 August 1955 was appointed Speaker of Federal Council.

Tun Syed Sheh bin Syed Abdullah Shahabuddin (31st August 1967 – 31st January 1969)

(S.M.N., P.M.N.)

The Second Governor of Penang Tun Tan Sri Syed Sheh bin Syed Abdullah Shahabudin, served as Governor from 1967 to 1969. Penang’s second Governor. He was born on March 10, 1910 and was educated at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star.

Tun Syed Sheh was in the Kedah Civil Service and served as the Controller of Customs in North Kedah and the Director of Lands Kedah. He also served as the District Officer of Baling, Kulim and Kuala Muda. He became A.D.C.to the late Sultan Abdul Halim Shah. He was Ambassador to Thailand and Japan and was also Malaysia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and the Ambassador to the Republic of Eire. He was awarded several State decorations including the Kedah Meritorious Service Star, the Kedah Distinguished Service Star and the Kedah Long Service Star. For his services to the nation, he was awarded the Darjah Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara (S.M.N.) which carries the title “Tun” and the Darjah Panglima Mangku Negara (P.M.N.) by His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. His highest recognition for meritorious services to the state and nation came on 31 August 1967. His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong appointed Tun Syed Sheh bin Syed Abdullah Shahabuddin as the second Governor of Penang. Tun Syed Sheh was married to Tunku Habsah binti Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah.

Tun Tan Sri Syed Sheh Al-Haj bin Syed Hassan Barakbah (1st February 1969 – 1st of February 1975)

(S.M.N., S.S.M., P.M.N., D.U.P.N., S.P.M.K., P.S.B)

The Third Governor of Penang, Tun Tan Sri Syed Sheh Al-Haj bin Syed Hassan Barakbah, served as Governor from February 1969 to February 1975. In April 1946 he was Special Magistrate and in 1948 President of the Kedah Sessions Court in the Colonial Legal Service. From October 1955 to June 1958, he was Judge at the Seremban Court and in 1962 Judge of the Court of Appeal. In 1963, he was appointed Chief Judge of Malaya. On the 1st of June 1966 to 10 October 1968, he was appointed the First Lord President of Malaysia and in 1968, was appointed Senator. On 27 January 1969 he was appointed Yang di-Pertua Dewan Negara. February 1969 to February 1975 and served as the third Governor of Penang for two terms. He passed away in Alor Star, Kedah.

Tun Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dato’ Haji Sardon bin Haji Jubir (2nd February 1975 – 30th April 1981)

(S.M.N., P.M.N., D.U.P.N., S.P.M.J., S.P,M.K.)

Tun Sardon was born in Rengit, Johor on March 19, 1917. He was the son of Tuan Haji Jubir bin Haji Mohd Amin, a well-known plantation owner and businessman in Johor who later became a kathi in Singapore. Sardon was educated at Raffles Institution in Singapore. At Raffles, he formed the Malay Literary Association with his colleagues, including Aziz Ishak, Hamid Jumaat and Ahmad Ibrahim. He contributed articles on the plight of the Malays to Warta Malaya, a leading Malay newspaper in Singapore. He was assisted by Aziz’s brother Yusof Ishak, then a journalist who later became President of Singapore.

Tun Sardon pursued a career in Law in London and qualified as a Barrister from Lincoln’s Inner Temple. He returned to Singapore in 1941 and had his practice in Singapore and later in Johor Bharu. Tun Sardon held the post of Minister of Health until 1972. He retired from politics in 1974 and was made Ambassador to the United nations– a post then normally associated with retired politicians. In 1975, he was appointed as Yang di-Pertua (Governor) of Penang. During his tenure as the Governor of Penang from 1975 to 1981, Sardon was concerned with the poor and needy in Penang, during the economic downturn and with the assistance of prominent businessmen and community leaders from Penang, the Tun Sardon Foundation was incorporated on June 13, 1978. The Foundation was registered as a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital under the Companies Act 1965 to carry out charitable projects, including giving relief to the poor and needy, in particular the widows and orphans, victims of fire, floods, famine or other calamity and to those in need of moral or social rehabilitation or welfare.

Tun Sardon married Toh Puan Hajjah Saadiah in 1944. They had three sons and two adopted daughters. He passed away on December 14, 1985 and was buried at Makam Pahlawan near Masjid Negara, Kuala Lumpur, a mausoleum where many Malaysian leaders were buried.

Tun Datuk Dr. Haji Awang bin Hassan (1st May 1981 – 30th April 1989)

(S.M.N., D.U.P.N., S.P.M.J., S.P.M.K.)

Born on 4 November 1910 (according to Dr. Luqman Mazlan) in Muar, Johor, Tun Awang received his early education at Sekolah Bukit Zahrah in Johor Bahru. In 1931 he entered KEVII College of Medicine in Singapore and in 1936, graduated from KEVII College of Medicine, Singapore. From 1936-61, he was a Member of the Medical Service Malaysia – Singapore.

He was a doctor before and after WW2 and became an O&G specialist in Kandang Kerbau Hospital in Singapore. He then opened his own clinics in Johor and joined politics. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Muar and played a part in the formation of UMNO together with his brother in-laws – Dato Suleiman and Tun Dr Ismail. He was reelected in 1964 as Member of Parliament for South Muar, Johor. From 1964-69, he was appointed to the Senate of University of Malaya. In 1966, he was a member of the Parliamentary Select Committee – Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill and Member of the Royal Commonwealth Government and attended the Commonwealth Conference in Ottawa, Canada. On June 1, 1966, he was appointed a member of the National Family Planning Board and in 1966-72, a member of the Central Housing Trust. In 1968, he attended the Conference of International Union of Local Authorities in Bangkok. In 1969, he again saw victory as Member of Parliament for South Muar, Johor. On December 12 1972-5 and February 1973, he was the Deputy Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, Malaysian Parliament He was appointed Malaysian High Commissioner to Australia from September 1973-81.

In 1974, he attended the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) as a Malaysian delegate. In 1977, he was awarded the title Seri Paduka Mahkota Johor (First Class) which carried the title “Datuk”. On May 1 1981, he was appointed Fifth Head of State (TYT Yang Dipertua Negeri Pulau Pinang Kelima) by His Majesty DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong . His Majesty Sultan Abu Bakar of Pahang was the DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong while Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed was the Prime Minister, when Tun Datuk Dr. Haji Awang bin Hassan was the 5th Governor of Penang.

Tun has always been admired for his warm personality and powerful leadership qualities He retired as Head of State in 1989 and at the age of 79 and returned to Johor Bahru after his retirement. He passed away at age 88 years on October 23, 1998. He had two sons who are surgeons, Dr. Yahya Awang and Dr. Hussein Awang. Tun Datuk Dr. Haji Awang bin Hassan was succeeded by Tun Hamdan Sheikh Tahir, the 6th Head of State of Penang.

Acknowledgements to Dr. Luqman bin Mazlan (grandson of Tun Datuk Dr. Haji Awang bin Hassan)

Tun Tan Sri Datuk (Dr.) Haji Hamdan bin Sheikh Tahir
(1st May 1989 – 30th of April 2001)

(S.M.N., P.S.M., D.U.P.N., D.P.M.N., K.M.N.)

Tun Hamdan Sheikh Tahir was born in 1921 in Kuala Kangsar. He became the second Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) from 1976-1982 after embarking on a long career as an educationist in the public services in Malaysia. His was a teacher and became the headmaster of Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Ipoh, Perak. In addition he also worked in the Ministry of Education as the Senior Assistant in the Department of High Schools, Chief Invigilator of Examination Syndicate Board, Senior Assistant Secretary in the Department of Scholarships and Training and Senior Education Advisor to the Director of Education. After his retirement, he was appointed Vice-Chancellor, USM, Permanent Representative and Malaysian Ambassador to the UNESCO in Paris and His Excellency Yang di-Pertua of Penang (1989- 2001).

Tun Hamdan ‘s father, Sheikh Tahir Jalaluddin (1869-1956) was a famous Muslim ulama in Southeast Asia. Tahir Jalaluddin was born in Ampek Angkek, Agam, West Sumatera on 8 December, 1869 and was an Arab Peranakan of Minangkabau-Hadrami ancestry. He was one of six children of the sixth wife of SheikhTahir – his mother was Aishah bte Hj. Mustafa, the daughter of a businessman from Kuala Kangsar, Perak. Tun Hamdan however was educated in the colonial tradition and studied at Raffles in University of Malaya, Singapore. His wife, Toh Puan Zainab was a Malay Kirby trained teacher and shared many similar interests with him in education and scholarship. He passed away in 2004 in Penang and was buried among statesmen in the State Mosque at Penang.