Rais Yatim

Rais bin Yatim (Jawi: رايس بن يتيم; born 15 April 1942) is a Malaysian politician. He was a minister in multiple federal governments from 1974 to 2013 and the eighth Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan from 1978 to 1982. He held the Jelebu seat in the Parliament of Malaysia until 2013.

Rais Yatim
رايس بن يتيم
6th President of International Islamic University Malaysia
In office
2 June 2013  1 June 2018
ChancellorAhmad Shah
Preceded byMohd. Sidek Hassan
Succeeded byDr. Maszlee Malik
Minister for Information, Communication and Culture
In office
10 April 2009  5 May 2013
MonarchAbdul Halim
Mizan Zainal Abidin
Prime MinisterNajib Razak
DeputyJoseph Salang Gandum
Heng Seai Kie
Preceded byAhmad Shabery Cheek
(Minister for Information)
Shafie Apdal
(Minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage)
Succeeded byAhmad Shabery Cheek (Communication and Multimedia)
Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz (Tourism and Culture)
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
19 March 2008  9 April 2009
MonarchMizan Zainal Abidin
Prime MinisterAbdullah Ahmad Badawi
DeputyAbdul Rahim Bakri
Preceded bySyed Hamid Albar
Succeeded byAnifah Aman
Minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage
In office
March 2004  March 2008
MonarchMizan Zainal Abidin
Prime MinisterAbdullah Ahmad Badawi
Preceded byposition established
Succeeded byShafie Apdal
(Minister for National Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage)
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
Prime MinisterMahathir Mohamed
Preceded byAhmad Rithauddeen Ismail
Succeeded byAbu Hassan Omar
Member of Parliament
for Jelebu
In office
Preceded byYunus Rahmat
Succeeded byZainuddin Ismail
In office
Preceded byAbdul Samad Idris
Succeeded byIbrahim Sareh
In office
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byAbdul Samad Idris
8th Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan
In office
12 July 1978  29 April 1982
MonarchTuanku Ja'afar
Preceded byMansor Othman
Succeeded byMohd Isa Abdul Samad
Personal details
Rais bin Yatim

(1942-04-15) 15 April 1942
Kampung Gagu, Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan, British Malaya (now Malaysia)
Political partyPPBM-PH (2018–present)
UMNO-BN (1967-1988; 1996–2018)
S46-GR (1989-1996)
Spouse(s)Masnah Rais
ResidenceAmpang Jaya, Kuala Lumpur
Alma materUniversity of Singapore (1973)
King's College London (1994)
OccupationPolitician, lawyer

He was a member of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the leading party in Malaysia's previous ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, except for a period in the 1990s when he was a member of the opposition Parti Melayu Semangat 46 (S46). Presently he is a member of Malaysian United Indigenous Party (PPBM), a component of Pakatan Harapan (PH) ruling coalition since he quitted UMNO to join PPBM on 4 June 2018.[1][2]

After leaving active politics he became the President of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) from 2013 to 2018.[3]

Early life and education

Rais was born to a Minangkabau family.[4] A lawyer by profession, he graduated from Language Institute (also known as Language Teaching College), Kuala Lumpur in 1964. In 1968, he taught Bahasa Malaysia to the American Peace Corps in the United States. He obtained his honours degree from National University of Singapore. In 1994, he obtained a PhD from King's College London. His doctoral dissertation was eventually published in 1995 as Freedom Under Executive Power in Malaysia: A Study of Executive Supremacy.[5]


Rais has held various positions in the national cabinet and other state government positions. He had been appointed a Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan (1978–1982), Minister of Land and Regional Development (1982–1984), Minister of Information (1984–1986) and Foreign Minister (1986–1987).

When he fell out of favour of the UMNO leadership in April 1987, he resumed his law career. He worked with a firm, Ram, Rais & Partner, from 1987 to 1999. During the 1990s he became the deputy leader of the opposition Semangat 46, a breakaway party led by UMNO members dissatisfied with Mahathir Mohamad's leadership. Like most Semangat 46 leaders, he rejoined UMNO by the end of the decade.[6] Upon his return to the ministry in 1999, as Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, he was effusive in his praise for Mahathir, who had outlasted the Semangat 46 movement with successive election victories.[7] He held the ministry until the 2004 election, after which Abdullah Badawi, who had replaced Mahathir on his retirement, appointed him as Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage.[8]

In June 2007, Rais was nominated as a candidate for the post of the next Commonwealth Secretary-General after Don McKinnon's term in office ended in March 2008. However, he pulled out on 26 July, citing the lateness of campaigning, and his duties and commitments as the Main Committee of the upcoming 50th Merdeka celebrations, which limited him from travelling out of the country to lobby for his candidacy.[9]

Rais served another term as Foreign Minister from 18 March 2008 until 9 April 2009, when the incoming Prime Minister Najib Razak appointed him as the Minister for Information, Communications and Culture. He remained in that ministry until the 2013 election, when he was dropped as a parliamentary candidate.[10] Speaking generally about Barisan Nasional's decision to drop a number of senior figures from its parliamentary lineup, Najib stated that it was to "satisfy the demands of voters who want to see Barisan Nasional and UMNO change and reform".[11] Rais accepted the decision and called on fellow UMNO members to remain loyal to the party.[12] Within a few months he was appointed as the President of the International Islamic University of Malaysia.[13]

Personal life

He is married to Masnah Rais and has four children. His hobbies are photography and travelling. He is also a writer on the subjects of law, politics, and Malay society.

Election results

Parliament of Malaysia: Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan
Year Votes Pct Opponent(s) Votes Pct Ballots cast Majority Turnout
1974 Rais Yatim (UMNO) Unknown Unknown Abdul Muluk Daud (DAP) Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Zainal Abidin Bador (IND) Unknown Unknown
1982 Rais Yatim (UMNO) 22,279 75.70% Yap Sen Koong (DAP) 5,477 18.61% 30,285 16,802 78.19%
Raja Aziz Raja Karim (PAS) 1,675 5.69%
1986 Rais Yatim (UMNO) 16,137 77.43% Ishak Md Nazir (PAS) 4,705 22.57% 21,712 11,432 76.02%
1990 Rais Yatim (S46) 12,780 49.24% Ibrahim Sareh (UMNO) 13,175 50.76% 26,637 395 80.03%
1995 Rais Yatim (S46) 11,710 44.42% Yunus Rahmat (UMNO) 14,650 55.58% 27,830 2,940 77.34%
1999 Rais Yatim (UMNO) 17,028 63.21% Jaafar Muhammad (KeADILan) 9,909 36.79% 28,236 7,119 75.65%
2004 Rais Yatim (UMNO) 20,650 77.87% Rosli Yaakop (PAS) 5,870 22.13% 27,470 14,780 72.83%
2008 Rais Yatim (UMNO) 19,737 70.83% Norman Ipin (PAS) 8,127 29.17% 29,029 11,610 75.05%


Honour of Malaysia


  1. "Rais Yatim joins Pribumi". The Star. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  2. Minderjeet Kaur (4 June 2018). "Umno veteran Rais Yatim joins PPBM". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  3. "Rais Yatim dilantik Presiden UIAM". Sinar Harian (in Malay). 3 July 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  4. Menbudpar Indonesia-Malaysia Bertemu, Antara News.com, 20 May 2013
  5. Yatim, Rais (1995). Freedom Under Executive Power in Malaysia: A Study of Executive Supremacy, p. xii. Endowment Publications. ISBN 983-99984-0-4.
  6. "Rais says goodbye with 40-page booklet". Bernama. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  7. M. Bakri Musa (2003). Seeing Malaysia My Way: Collection of Personal Essays. iUniverse.
  8. "Tan Sri Dato' Seri Utama Dr. Rais Yatim". International Islamic University of Malaysia Holdings. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  9. "Rais Withdraws From Commonwealth Sec-Gen Race (mirrored)". Bernama/Diplomacy Monitor. 28 July 2007. Retrieved 21 August 2007.
  10. "21 new faces in Negri Sembilan, Rais Yatim dropped". Bernama. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  11. "Malaysia's ruling coalition axes scandal-hit figures". ABC News. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  12. "Rais: Dropped candidates should respect decision". Bernama. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  13. "Rais new IIUM president". Bernama. 4 July 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  14. "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat".
Political offices
Preceded by
Mansor Othman
8th Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan
1978 – 1982
Succeeded by
Mohd Isa Abdul Samad
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