Tun Abdul Razak served as the second prime minister of Malaysia from 1970 until 1976, the year of his death. Razak is celebrated as one of the most important "second generation" Malaysian politicians who sought to tackle the deep economic disparities splitting Malaysia during that era.
Razak was born in 1922 to parents Dato' Hussein bin Mohd Taib and Hajah Teh Fatimah bt Daud. Razak's civil service began in 1939, and he went on to study at Raffles College in Singapore before the onset World War II. Afterward, Razak traveled to Britain, where he continued his studies and became increasingly interested in politics. He returned to Malaysia and again entered the civil service in 1950. In 1959, Razak became Minister of Rural Development.
As prime minister, Razak created the much admired New Economic Policy, which was aimed at eradicating poverty among all Malaysians. Poverty, Razak believed, was the underlying cause of bitter racial antagonisms prevalent throughout the country. Razak was an avid sports fan, having special affinities for golf, hockey and tennis. Razak was also a voracious reader, preferring autobiography and biography.
The Universiti Tun Abdul Razak was founded in 1997 as one of the first private educational institutions in Malaysia; it is named in his honor. Razak is also honored with the Tun Abdul Razak Chair at the Center for International Studies at Ohio University.