The Life Saving Society of Malaysia (LSSM), which began as the ' Royal Life Saving Society Malaysia Branch' was established in the year 1964. As early as 1927, a group of life savers had been trained in the Bronze Medallion under Mr. Lee Fong Lim at the Penang Chinese Swimming Club. The establishment of the RLSS Malaysian Branch marked the beginning of organised life saving in the country.
In 1961, the Earl Mountbatten of Burma,
the Grand President of the RLSS Commonwealth Council, visited Kuala
Lumpur and met up with Mr. Teoh Teik Lee who was then the local
representative for the RLSS United Kingdom. His Lordship proposed the
formation of an autonomous national life saving organisation that was
consistent with the independent status of our country. This proposal
also had the blessing of the then Prime Minister, Y.T.M. Tunku Abdul Rahman,
who not only gave his full support but also consented to be the
Patron of the society. Thus it came about that the early development of
the RLSS Malaysian Branch was associated with two very illustrious
names - the Earl Mountbatten of Burma and our beloved T.Y.M. Tunku
The RLSS Malaysian Branch was formed in the inaugural meeting on
9TH December 1964. Mr. Teoh Teik Lee was elected the first President
of the Society, a position he held for the next twelve years. Three
years later, on 14TH February 1967, at Carcosa, the residence then of
the British High Commissioner, the Society received its 'Instrument of
Membership' to the RLSS Commonwealth Council from the Grand
President, Earl Mountbatten of Burma. This auspicious ceremony, held
under the patronage of T.Y.M. Tunku Abdul Rahman, was witnessed by
dignitaries and representatives from the Commonwealth nations, including
the Hon. Justice Joske, President RLSS Australia. Malaysia became the
5TH branch of the RLSS Commonwealth Council.
In the first year of operation the Society managed to train 50
life savers. Three years later, this annual total reached 500 and was
doubled in 1970. Since then, the annual awards issued by the Society
average a total of 2000.
In June 1976, Tan Sri Hamdan Sheikh Tahir, on his retirement as
Director-General of Education, Malaysia, accepted an invitation to lead
the Society, thus taking over from Mr. Teoh Teik Lee as President. In
1984, in keeping with national needs and aspirations, the title 'RLSS
Malaysian Branch' was changed to 'Life Saving Society Malaysia' under
a constitutional review. November 7TH 1988 ushered in a future of
great promise with the official opening of the LSSM Headquarters by
the Chief Commonwealth Secretary, Mr. John Taylor. Our search for a
permanent secretariat and home was over.
On 1ST May 1989, Tan Sri Datuk Hamdan Sheikh Tahir was elevated
to the high office of Head of State of Pulau Pinang as its Governor,
and later conferred the title 'Tun', the nation's highest decoration,
by our King, the Yang DiPertuan Agong. Our President invariably had to
relinquish the Presidency of the Society to attend to State matters,
and was succeeded by Datuk Mohamed Yeop Abdul Raof who was unanimously
elected the third President of the LSSM at its Biennial General
Meeting on 21ST May 1989. Dato' Mohammed Yeop stepped down as president
in 2002 due to ill health. He was succeded by Dato' Ismail Shah Bodin
as President in 2002 and who is still at the helm to this day. In 1989
as well, Tun Dato' Seri (Dr.) Haji Hamdan Sheikh Tahir honoured the
Society by accepting the position of 'Honorary Life President'.
The future beckons towards achieving our ultimate goal - A life saver in every family.