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Some Notes on Going to School at Tengku Mahmud School, Besut, Terengganu: 1968 – 1980

Posted in With Friends by tsabri on June 20, 2011

Tengku Mahmud School (TMS), Besut, Terengganu.

1968 – 1980.

Determination Leads to Success: TMS’s motto.

It was where and when my formal education began. I was seven years old then. I knew no kindergarten, but  I heard there were six year-old children being sent to sit in Standard 1 as ‘temporary’ students. During the primary years, Standard 1 to Standard 6, I remembered that our classes were relocated several times to wait for new buildings and other such facilities. TMS has its own interesting history. It was established in January 1954 as Besut Government English School, the first English medium school in Besut. The name was later changed to TMS in August the same year after being officiated by the Sultan Terengganu. It became Besut’s first secondary school in 1958. The school’s administration was divided into two, primary and secondary, in 1965. Today, 2011, the school (secondary) is known as Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tengku Mahmud.

Primary years were introductions to the world – learning new things and meeting new friends. I was attracted to the school’s library. I knew that there were many exciting things, matters and people in the books. My involvement with the books resulted in an unfortunate event: the public caning for stealing library books! Harhar… that morning the school’s bell rang for a long time. Students were called to assemble. After some announcements, a long list of names was called and one by one we lined up to receive the cane_ including the head boy and some prefects too! Harhar… what a public event it was! We really learnt some painful lessons.

Official Opening Reception in 1954.

There was also what was called the Express Class, where one could skip a year of study because of good performance. But my 1968’s batch was somehow not counted under the scheme; it was only for our juniors. And, later there were ‘express’ students joining our class. There was also the Standard Five Assessment Exam. My primary years at TMS ended in 1973. Whilst many remained at TMS, continuing the secondary education, there were some who left TMS for other secondary schools outside Besut. Those with good results were given scholarships to study at places like MARA Science Junior College (Maktab Rendah Sains MARA), and Sekolah Menengah Sains.  I went to Sultan Sulaiman Secondary School in Kuala Terengganu with a few TMS friends.

I went back to study at TMS in 1975. I again saw people from my primary years, and there were also new friends – largely from Remove Class, a class designed to accommodate non-English medium primary students from the Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan and Primary Chinese. I had my Lower Certificate of Education, 1976, and Malaysian Certificate of Education, 1978, as well as the Higher School Certificate, 1980, at TMS. The Form Six class that I was in at TMS – I couldn’t really remember whether it was the first or second batch (?!!). And again, together with friends from primary TMS 1968 – 1973, as well as secondary TMS 1974 – 1978, there were new friends from other secondary schools in Besut who came to have their Form Six at TMS.

We went through many shifts and changes in our learning experiences: Ejaan Lama to Ejaan Baru Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Melayu to Bahasa Malaysia to Bahasa Melayu (?), Tulisan Jawi to Tulisan Rumi, English to Malay mediums, and many more. It was indeed an experience. My special thanks to all teachers, workers and friends of TMS 1968 – 1980. TMS is always in my heart.

* illustrations from


2 Responses

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  1. mdsabri3 said, on July 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    KuYi.. When we were in Form 5… if my memory serves me correctly…the first batch of Form 6 started at our school… Many from SNS came… So, it was the second batch for Form 6 …

  2. M. Zolkarnain Tun Abdullah said, on May 29, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Thank you sir for giving some history to the school that I was in (1979-1984). Had been wanting to contribute to the school but I was all over and can’t seem to find the time to visit. Do hope to be able to collaborate on writing the history of our school and how the graduates had changed the world – mainly due to the strict education TMS had put into us.

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