Tan Sri Datuk (Dr) Hj. Abdul Mubin Sheppard (1905-1994)


Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Hj. Abdul Mubin Sheppard (M.C.ff. Sheppard) was a historian of Malaysian cultural and heritage.

Tan Sri Mubin Sheppard was born in Ireland in 1905.

In 1927 he sat for the Malayan Civil Service (MCS) Competitive Examination in London, and  arrived in Malaya in 1928 to serve with the MCS till 1963.

He served as a Company Commander in the Federated Malay States Volunteer Force (FMSVF) from 1941-1942. During the Second World War (1942-1945) he became a Prisoner of War (POW).  He retired as a Major in the FMSVF in 1945.

In 1958, his illustrious career as a historian and archivist started.  He was appointed the “First Keeper of Public Records” which is now known as The National Archive of Malaysia.  He held a few other  important post during his career as an archivist:

  1. The first Director of National Museum of Malaya
  2. Asst. President and Editor of Malaysian Branch Royal Asiatic Society (MBRAS)

Between the years 1959 and 1963, he was:

  1. Executive Committee member of the Malayan History Society
  2. Central Committee  member and the Committee Chairman of PERKIM and its publication.
  3. Co-founder and the President of Gurney Boys Club Seremban.

Tan Sri Sheppard was also a founding member of the Badan Warisan Malaysia and Sahabat Warisan Malaysia. Sahabat Warisan Malaysia (Friends of the Heritage of Malaysia Trust) was a society set up in 1984 to support Badan Warisan Malaysia in its objectives. The Mubin Sheppard Memorial Prize is a culmination of one of its fundraising efforts.

Tan Sri passed away on 11 September 1994 and was laid to rest at the Ampang Muslim Burial Ground in Kuala Lumpur.

1.  Arkib Negara Malaysia
2.  Journal of Malaysian Branch Royal Asiatic Society (JMBRAS)
3.  National Library of Australia (online catalogue)

12 thoughts on “Tan Sri Datuk (Dr) Hj. Abdul Mubin Sheppard (1905-1994)

  1. Tan Sri was a member of the House of Lords (hereditary member). Although he refused his position it cannot be denied that he is an aristocrat. I am not sure whether he is a Baron a Duke or a Viscount, and I hope Izu could find out more. He married a Kelantanese Malay, but it ended in a divorce. He was married to an English lady and up to his death, was legally married to her. He died in Brickfields at his condo, the Pines, if i am not mistaken. Izu please do contact me!

    • Dear Wan Zaharizan – Yes, he lived in Crescent Court in Brickfields, but he died in Subang Jaya Medical Centre on 11th September 1994, after several days in its ICU. I got this from the NST archives. The Crescent court house has been sold in recent years, as I was told verbally. I am not sure what’s the name of the Kelantanese princess, but from the same source as above, her first wife is known as Puan Sri Rosemary. She had several children with Almarhum. In Malaysia, he, too, is known to have several adopted children. On the other hand, he inherited a castle in Ireland , known as Cabra Castle. Unfortunately, he sold it on grounds of difficulties in maintaining it. Moreover, he spent most of his later life in Malaysia, even after retirement that may have led him into selling off the land. I hope this may help into further details in Che Zuriani’s academia matters.

      – Mutalib

      • hi.. as far as I know, he is never married (here in malaysia). he has a few adopted children, in which one of it is my late father-in-law, Yaakub bin Othman (Datuk Naning during his time) Tok Othman went to Singapore to fight the Japanese and was believed to have been killed but his body was never found. He was a very good friend of the late Tan Sri Mubin Sheppard. Tok Othman’s wife was carrying his first child(Yaakub) when he was killed. From that moment on Tok Mubin took over the responsibilities of bringing up that child, providing them with financial and emotional support.

      • Hi

        just wonder whether do you need me to respond on the above statement.


        On Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 12:55 PM, SembangKuala wrote:

        > nurehan commented: “hi.. as far as I know, he is never married (here in > malaysia). he has a few adopted children, in which one of it is my late > father-in-law, Yaakub bin Othman (Datuk Naning during his time) Tok Othman > went to Singapore to fight the Japanese and was believed” >

    • Grandfather Mervyn was my mother’s father, because he changed his religion after the war he no longer was recognised as being married but he had 1 child my mother and his wife lived until 2000 when she died aged 97, they never divorced.
      I saw Grandfather several times in the 1970’s as we went out to Malaysia to see him on our way to Indonesia where we were then living. He was a very knowledgeable man, kind but scary for a small child to look up to. (he had a big nose). I have 2 of the paintings from his apartment here which he gifted to us in his will, leaving other items to my brothers, sister and of course my mother. 🙂

      • Dear Emma
        Please keep in touch.. i had sent a copy of by book to your mum in 2016.. but she never reply. please let me know how she is doing. please keep in touch.

  2. Dear Friends

    I am so excited that there a few of you that also interested in knowing more about Tan Sri Mubin. I had done a research about him since 2004 especially in his contribution in architectural conservation. i had sent an article regarding this topic to JMBRAS and informally received an acceptance for the journal publication only in June 2010. hopefully it will be published.

    anyway, it is good to know other information about him as i am trying to complete my Phd now. Please contact me at zuraini_mdali@um.edu.my or zuraini_mdali@yahoo.co.uk.


  3. Pingback: Origin of Perak State Anthem | SembangKuala

  4. Assalam.

    Just to inform everyone who is interested to know more about Tan Sri Mubin sheppard, in shaa Allah my book title: Mubin Sheppard and Pioneering Works in Architectural Conservation in Malaysia published by UM Press will come out very soon (visit UM Press website).

    Perhaps i would like to meet Nurehan since I also interested to know more about his adopted son who Sheppard really proud of.

    Just to share some info.

  5. I can confirm that my father, Mubin Sheppard, and my mother, Puan Sri Rosemary, remained married until their deaths. I am the only child of that marriage. Tan Sri was not a member of the English aristocracy, nor a member of the House of Lords – however, he received honours from HM the Queen.
    My father was wonderfully supportive of Dato Othman, through University (in Ireland) and onwards until his untimely death. My father and I had a lively and affectionate correspondence, he stayed with us in England and took a great interest in his 4 grandchildren, and their education. We also stayed with him – most memorably, for the Award of his Honorary Doctorate – and he with us, while we lived in Jakarta.

    It is very good to see this account of his life’s work, and to know that dato Nurehan has memories to record here. You may like to record the list of his publications? He wrote books for school-children to delight in the legends (including mouse-deer, but also tales from Ramayana, etc), and was an excellent Editor of the MBRAS Journal.
    There were many books, given his great interest in conservation, including the seminal work on the Arts and Crafts of Malaya, which led to the British Council sponsoring a world tour for several of the exponents – and later led my father to the founding of the National Museum, of which he was the first Curator – and then the Trust for conservation of the architectural heritage.
    His family remains very proud of all he did and was.

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