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Singapore's First President Yusof Ishak - 1,910 AD

Yusof Isaac Presiden Singapura Singapura
Jakarta (DreamLandLibrary) - Encik Yusof bin Ishak (12 August 1910 - 23 September 1970) was the first President of Singapore. He was born in Padang Gajah, Trong, about 18 stones from Taiping, Perak. His father, a descendant of Minangkabau, came from West Sumatra and his mother from Langkat. They emigrated to Pulau Pinang and after that to Perak, Malaysia.

Encik Yusof is the oldest child in a family of 9 people. His father, Encik Ishak bin Ahmad, was the Director of the Strait Fisheries and the Allied Malay States. Encik Yusof received his initial education at a Malay school in Kuala Kurau, Perak. Two years later, he was transferred to the Malay School in Taiping and in 1921, began teaching in English at the King Edward VII School, Taiping.

In 1923, his father was placed in Singapore. Encik Yusof followed his family and continued his studies at Victoria Bridge School until December 1923.

In 1924 he was accepted at the Raffles Institution school where he graduated from the Cambridge School Certificate in 1927 with honors and was given the opportunity to continue his studies in the Queen's Scholarship class.

When at school, he was very active in the sports arena. At Raffles Institution, he is active in sports hockey, cricket, weight lifting and boxing. In 1933 he won boxing in the light class. As a brilliant cadet at the Cadet Cor School he was promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant, the first student to accept a position in Singapore. He is also the student leader and principal editor of the "Rafflesian" school magazine.

Work in Journalism
After leaving school in 1929, he and two colleagues published a magazine called "Sportsman", a two-week magazine that published sports news. In 1932 he ruled the company 'Warta Malaya', the leading Malay character of the time. His journalism skills allowed him to rise to the rank of Assistant Management and Editor in Chief for a short time. In 1938, he placed the position of 'Warta Malaya' and together with several other partners, founded the company 'Utusan Melayu Press Ltd'. The first edition of the Malay Envoy was issued in May 1939 with Encik Yusof as the company's first director.

During the Japanese Occupation (1942-1945) Encik Yusof was in Malaya. When the Japanese surrendered, he returned to Singapore on 3 September 1945 and resumed the printing of the Malay Envoy.

In 1948 Encik Yusof visited England as a member of the First Press Delegation. In early 1957, he went to Japan to inspect the latest military equipment flavored by the 'Malay Envoy'. In May of the same year, he visited Kuala Lumpur to oversee the construction of the Envoy Building. While in Kuala Lumpur, Encik Yusof was appointed President of the Malaya Press Club.

Lay for the Layman
Mr Yusof holds several key positions in the Singapore government. From 1948 to 1950, he served on the Film Appeals Committee. He has been a member of the Nature Reserve Committee for a year and also the Malay Organizational Commission. In July 1959, he was appointed Chair of the Singapore Public Service Commission. On 3 July 1965, Mr. Yusof was appointed Chancellor of the National University of Singapore.

Mr Yusof was appointed as Singapore's State Minister on 3 December 1959, making him the first local person to hold office. Mr. Yusof and his wife, Mrs. Noor Aishah made their first official visit to Cambodia in April 1963. That same month, he and his wife went to Mecca to make a pilgrimage where they were welcomed as guests of the country of Saudi Arabia. An official visit was also made to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in May 1963.

Yusof was awarded the title of Honorable First Class Honored by the Sultan of Brunei in November 1960 and the Prime Minister of Honorary State of Malaysia (SMN) by Yang in the Malaysian Agong Pertuan in November 1963.

On August 9, 1965, when Singapore separated from Malaysia and became a sovereign nation, Mr. Yusof was appointed as the first President of the Republic of Singapore. He was re-elected for four years since December 4, 1967.

President Yusof Ishak died on November 23, 1970 in Singapore and was buried in the Kranji National Cemetery.


December 10, 2012

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