Standing tall as a shining legacy of the nation’s Father of Independence, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Memorial is an important repository of his life in the headlines as well as away from the limelight.
The venue was originally the home of the Tunku between 1956 and 1970 when he was serving as the Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya, and subsequently as the first Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Today, the memorial is a vast three-building complex, comprising the Residency (Tunku’s former official residence) and two newer blocks. It is tucked away in a quieter part of bustling Kuala Lumpur, on Jalan Dato Onn. It serves as a permanent custodian for all archival, museum and library materials belonging or relating to Tunku. Admission is free.
Why you should go
Most Malaysians know of Tunku in his official capacity, but a visit to the memorial will offer an up-close-and-personal glimpse of his life behind closed doors. Established in November 1994, the memorial houses an extensive personal and official collection of items accumulated during his lifetime.
One of the many rooms features items that depict Tunku’s love for sports and filmmaking, whereas another shows – in great detail – the arduous journey taken to liberate Malaya from the grip of colonialism. The place could be a fantastic one-stop learning centre on all things Tunku.
What to do
Walking through the quiet hallways of the over-a-century-old Residency building, with its period furnishings and worn walls, visitors will get a better sense of Tunku’s life away from the headlines and back-biting of politics.
The two-storey bungalow is where visitors will find Tunku’s private office, seven bedrooms, a dining room, two sitting rooms and a drawing room for receiving VIPs. Speak to the caretaker seated at the entrance and you might be treated to tales of things that go bump in the night at the old house.
Be sure to take some time to check out the granite display of the Proclamation of Independence, newspaper coverage and personal book collection. There are also audio-visual display, photographs and documents that detail the biographies of Tunku and his wife Tun Sharifah Rodziah.
Who will like it
Open from Tuesday to Sunday, students will benefit greatly from the historical materials that are on display. Above all, Malaysians of all ages should pay this place a visit to learn more about the country’s independence seen through the lens of Malaysia’s first Prime Minister. The myriad of exhibits and information panels will certainly enlighten many.
How to get there
Private vehicles, taxis or ride-hailing such as Grab or Uber, would be your best bet. Alternatively, the Kerja Raya bus stop – about six minutes walk away – is serviced by the Rapid KL Bus 851. If you’re planning to alight from the train service at KL Sentral, take the Rapid KL 772 bus to Pasar Seni. Then change to Rapid KL Bus 861.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Memorial
Address: Jalan Dato Onn, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: 03-2694 7277
Hours: 10am-5.30pm, Tue-Sun; closed from noon-3pm on Friday.