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Rais bin Yatim

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by Jason Chua last modified Nov 13, 2012 01:11 PM
Information, Communications, and Culture Minister. He is the longest serving Cabinet member of the Federal Government, having served five Prime Ministers since 1974. He is also a Member of Parliament from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)

Y.B Dato' Seri Utama Dr

+60 3 2282 5333

Kementerian Penerangan, Komunikasi dan Kebudayaan, Tingkat 8, Angkasapuri, 50610 Kuala Lumpur


Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan

Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan

Datin Seri Utama Masnah Rais

4 children


LL.B (Hons.) degree (1973) from the University of Singapore

Ph.D in Law (1994) from King’s College, University of London

Qualified specialist language teacher, graduating from Malaysia’s Language Institute in 1964

Pursuant to this niche qualification he was enlisted thereafter to teach Bahasa Melayu to the American Peace Corps volunteers in DeKalb Illinois and Hawaii, USA.

A qualified lawyer, he was called to the Malaysian Bar in 1973 during which period he set up his legal practice – Ram Rais and Partners in Kuala Lumpur.

He has written extensively on various topics, especially on law, politics and social engineering.

Dr. Rais Yatim began his career as a specialist language teacher in 1964 and prior to commencing his legal studies, had even taught Malay to members of the American Peace Corps in DeKalb, Illinois and Hawaii.  Since his election to parliament in 1974, Dr. Rais Yatim has had a long and illustrious career as he steadily rose up the ranks of Government under the UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) banner, which is the leading party in the Barisan Nasional (National Front), Malaysia’s multiethnic and multiparty ruling coalition.

Dr. Rais Yatim’s political career took off in 1974 with his appointment as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports under Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia’s second Prime Minister.  He spearheaded Malaysia’s main anti-drug movement in 1976 when he formed PEMADAM, the National Anti-Drug Association and became its president for 11 years (1976-1987).  Since 1976 he has served under all subsequent Prime Ministers and has held various portfolios

In 1974 Tun Abdul Razak, the second Prime Minister appointed Rais as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports where the present Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah was then its Deputy Secretary General.  Tun Hussein Onn, succeeding Tun Razak in 1976 as the third prime minister, appointed Dr. Rais as Deputy Law Minister and later as Deputy Home Affairs Minister.  In 1978 Rais began to serve as the 3rd Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of the State of Negeri Sembilan, a post he held until 1982 when he commenced full ministerial duties in the Land and Regional Development Ministry in the government of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.  He was later transferred to the Ministry of Information (1984-86).  In 1986 he began serving as the country’s Foreign Minister.  During the internally competitive days of Malaysian politics (1987-1996) Dr. Rais helped lead the Semangat 46 party as its deputy president.  He resumed active legal practice in his former law firm in Kuala Lumpur for the period 1987-1999.

In late 1999, three years after disbandment of Semangat 46, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad re-offered him the Jelebu Parliamentary seat, his political base since 1974.  Dr. Mahathir then appointed him as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of legal matters.  It was during this stint of appointment that Rais developed various advancement in the arena of the administration of justice.  His persistent involvement in the development of the modern Malaysian courts entailed the present progressive facilities of the courts including the judiciary’s computerized administrative system in the federal capital.  In his previous post as Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister, Dr. Rais had been tasked to develop a comprehensive major national programme in culture as a pivotal element in local human development, a subject deemed somewhat neglected heretofore.  His ardent leadership in the promotion of multicultural activities has become a mainstay in local as well as international culture promotion.  The 2006 and 2007 Malaysia week cultural festivities in Covent Garden, London have been a great success in the arena of international cultural understanding.  He has also led many ASEAN-based cultural festivals.  Dr. Rais is an active member of the Asia Europe Ministerial Meeting.  One of his considered views is the need to use culture as a basic tool for better human relations and harmony.


* Deputy Minister of Law (1976-1977) * Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (1977-1978) * Chief Minister of the State of Negeri Sembilan (1978-1982) * Minister of Land and Regional Development (1982-1984) * Minister of Information (1984-1986) * Minister of Foreign Affairs (1986-1987) * Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department – legal portfolio (1999 – 2004) * Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage (2004-2008) * Minister of Foreign Affairs (19 Mac 2008 – Mac 2009) * Minister of Information, Communication and Heritage (April 2009-Present)

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