Book on Malayan educationist, Thuraisingham, released

[TamilNet, Monday, 04 February 2013, 00:04 GMT]
The role and influence of Eezham Tamil, Datuk Sir Ernest Emmanuel Clough Thuraisingham (28 August 1898- 30 March 1979), in Malaysian politics during the formative years of Malaya, is chronicled in a recently released book written by three lecturers from the Malaya university’s History Department. At the book’s launch, Prof Abdullah Zakaria, one of the authors, described Thuraisingham as an "unsung hero who played an instrumental role in the struggle for Malayan independence."

Sir Ernest Emmanuel Clough Thuraisingham
Sir Ernest Emmanuel Clough Thuraisingham
Thuraisingam's parents were born in Jaffna, and Thuraisingham was born in Taiping, Perak in 1898. He graduated in politics and law from Cambridge University.

A close confidante of Dato’ Onn Jaafar, a well-respected Malayan nationalist, Thuraisingham played a leading role with Onn in the formation of the Independence of Malaya Party in 1951 and sought to instill a non-communal approach to Malayan politics, the authors of the book on Thuraisingham said.

Thuraisingham was a member of the Federal Legislative Council from 1948 and served as chairman of the influential Communities Liaison Committee and as Member of Education. A Member of Education was regarded as a minister, and Thuraisingham was in fact the country’s first de-facto education minister, local media covering the event said.

As the first Member of Education, he established a comprehensive system of education beginning in 1951 to provide free education for all children between ages six and 12, thus implementing the recommendations of the Barnes and Fenn Reports he presented to the Federal Legislative Council on 19 September 1951, reports said.

Before the advent of parliament and executive rule, a Member of Education was regarded as a Minister, thus Thuraisingham was in fact the first de-facto Minister of Education in the country in 1946, In May 1946, coinciding with the formation of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) by Dato’ Onn Jaafar.

In the post-independence period, he served as a senator.

Noted for his philanthropy and his integrity, Thuraisingham, as a an enthusiast of horses, also served as chairman of the Selangor Turf Club for 25 years.

The Malayan Union, established by the British Malaya, came into being in 1946, in a series of agreement between British and Malayan Union. The Union was superseded by the Federation of Malaya on 1st February 1948 and had been a fully self-governing British colony until the Federation of Malaya Independence Act was passed on 31 August 1957 in the British Parliament, at which time Malaya became fully independent.

External Links:
Wiki: E. E. C. Thuraisingham
Wiki: Federation of Malaya Independence Act 1957
Star: Book on nation’s first de facto education minister, E.E.C. Thuraisingham, launched
Gen: A personal tribute
UM: E.E.C Thuraisingham, A Malaysian Patriot
AA: Book on E.E.C Thuraisingham launched


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