Tun Dr Ismail was 58 years old when he died of a heart attack 39 years ago.
Dr Ismail was an important personality when Parliament was suspended and National Operations Council (NOC) was formed to manage the country. Order was quickly restored and bit by bit, Dr Ismail was one of those who painstakingly detailed the new elements in Malaysia post 13 May.
One of his pivot contribution during the NOC days is to restore public confidence to the Federal Government. According to former Lord President Tun Mohd Suffian “It was during the agonising days that his outstanding qualities came to the fore. Perhaps it can be said that more than anybody else the Tun (Dr Ismail) contributed substantially to the restoration of public confidence in the Government’s determination to restore law and order after the 13 May incidents.”
He was a towering Johor Malay. In the days of UMNO’s infancy and upon the summary resignation of Dato’ Onn Jaafar as UMNO President in 1951, then newly appointed President Tunku Abdul Rahman requested his involvement into mainstream politics, to maintain strength from Johor. After Tunku Abdul Rahman won the mandate of Malayans in the 1955, Dr Ismail was part of the London mission to negotiate Malaya’s independence in 1956.
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