Tan Sri Dato’ Seri (Dr.) Muhammad Ghazali Shafie
Sport: Track & Field
Year Inducted: 2004
Perhaps one of the best ambassadors for our nation and definitely one of the best-recognized for his international achievements is Tan Sri Muhammad Ghazali Shafie, former senior Cabinet Minister (1970-1984) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1981). One only has to scour through our historical texts to come across various references to his undeniable contribution towards many of the nation’s key events. Most notably, he was instrumental in the formation of Malaysia in 1961, and tasked with leading the campaign for the execution of the “Malaysia Plan”. Without him, the Malaysia we know today would not have come into existence.
Born on 22nd March 1922, Muhammad Ghazali Shafie received his early education at Clifford School in Kuala Lipis, Pahang after which he moved on to Raffles College in Singapore. The war years saw Ghazali as an Intelligence Officer in the Allied Forces and an active member of the Resistance Movement. He joined the University College of Wales, graduating with a LL.B degree with Honours in 1951. Upon returning to (then) Malaya he served as Assistant State Secretary Selangor and Acting State Secretary for a time. Upon Malaya’s independence Ghazali became Deputy Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (then External Affairs) and later the Secretary-General.
Ghazali was appointed Minister with Special Functions soon after, and was responsible for formulating the New Economic Policy and 2nd Malaysia Plan. In 1967 he helped to form ASEAN, which today consists of 10 member countries and was later made Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Apart from his various political engagements he was also actively involved in various sporting commissions and committees, including the position of the Deputy President of OCM, President of the Malaysia Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU), President of the Royal Selangor Flying Club, and Patron of the National Shooting Association of Malaysia.
Ghazali’s interest and involvement in sports dates back to his days in Clifford School in Kuala Lipis where he played for his district and state in soccer and hockey competitions. He later represented Raffles College in soccer and the University College of Wales in hockey and badminton. He then took up a keen interest in golf and flying and holds a private pilot’s licence.
Fondly nicknamed “Grizzly” by Malaysia’s first premier, (The Late) Tunku Abdul Rahman, he was seen as ‘The Big Bear’ whose presence was felt at every occasion. Or perhaps it was due to his ample head of hair which was in constant disarray. Nevertheless, one thing is clear: whether in politics or sports, Tan Sri Ghazali has been the face of Malaysia, carrying the nation’s flag on his shoulders for many national and international events and in the nation’s history.
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