KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s social and charity scene will be dimmer now with the passing away of Melewar Industrial Group chairman Tunku Panglima Besar Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah ibni Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
The 83-year-old socialite was the younger brother of the Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negri Sembilan Tuanku Jaa’far. Their late father Tuanku Abdul Rahman Yam Tuan Muhammad was the country’s first Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Tunku Abdullah, who had just arrived at the airport from London yesterday, was said to have experienced breathing difficulties and was rushed to the clinic at the KLIA where he was pronounced dead at 9.20am.
Tunku Abdullah, nicknamed Charlie, was a lovable, kind-hearted and jovial royal who enjoyed life to the fullest.
His zest for life was legendary for he married six times.
Tunku Abdullah was the second son from the first marriage between Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Che Maimunah.
Born on May 2, 1925 in Kuala Pilah, Tunku Abdullah married Tunku Zaharah Tunku Zakaria in 1946, Che Engku Ho Yuzin (1959), Che Engku Khatijah (1966), Che Engku Chesterina (1973), Che Engku Maimunah (1991) and Che Engku Rozeeta (1997).
It was always joked he enjoyed the most muhibbah of marriages as he had married two Malays, a Chinese, a Caucasian, a Japanese and an Eurasian. Ho Yuzin is Chinese, Che Khatijah’s maiden name was Kathryn Heather Barbara Martin, Chesterina Sim Zecha is Eurasian while Maimunah’s Japanese name is Yuko Shima.
He leaves behind nine children and 17 grandchildren.
Tunku Abdullah graduated in Public Administration from the University of Glasgow and had a diploma in agriculture from Miyazaki University in Japan. He was in the civil service for 10 years before entering politics as Rawang MP from 1964 to 1974.
Besides being Melewar Industrial Group chairman, he also held similar posts in MAA Holdings, Georgetown Holdings and Datuk Keramat Holdings among others. The MAA headquarters has a pub named Charlie’s Reserve in his honour.
His son Tunku Yaacob said his father was already unwell onboard the plane.
Tunku Yaacob remembers his father as very jovial, with a great positive outlook and was usually happy.
Tunku Abdullah’s remains were brought to his residence at Bukit Tunku here and then buried at the Seri Menanti Royal Mausoleum in Kuala Pilah after asar prayers.