Tun Mohd Khalil is the third child of Yaakob bin Awang Shukor and Salmah binti Zainuddin. He was born in Kuantan, Pahang on 29th December 1937 and was four years old when the Japanese invaded Malaya.
Mohd Khalil obtained his early education at Sekolah Ahmad Shah, Kuantan Pahang, and because of his academic excellence, he was offered a place to study at Malay College Kuala Kangsar, Perak in 1950. After completing his secondary education, Mohd Khalil furthered his studies at Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur and obtained a Bachelor Degree in Arts (Honours) in 1962.
While in university, besides being a committee member of the influential Student Representative Council, Mohd Khalil was also President of the Sports Union, captain of the athletics team and represented the university in rugby.
After completing his education at Universiti Malaya, Mohd Khalil was offered the post of Pengawal Hal Ehwal Politik at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Throughout his tenure of 13 years as a diplomat, he has been assigned for duty at several countries, namely Italy, Maghribi, Singapore and Indonesia.
While on duty in Indonesia, Mohd Khalil took the opportunity to attend a course at the National Defence College at Jakarta in 1974. After that, he furthered his education at the University of Southern Philippines and obtained an Honorary Ph.D certificate (Public Administration) A’ Law.
On 28th February 1965, he tied the knot with Miss Zurina Kassim. She is from Melaka and they are blessed with three children, Mohd. Raznam, Lala Nezha and Rahadian Mahmood.
After spending 13 years abroad, Mohd Khalil returned to Malaysia and was seconded as General Manager of Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Jengka (LKWJ), Pahang. His vast experience abroad has enabled him to bring about development and effectively resolve various issues.
His involvement in politics began during the 1978 general election when he was given the mandate to become a Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for the Bukit Ibam Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN), which he won with a big majority of votes.
He was highly committed in his duties as the State Assemblymen for Bukit Ibam and he brought with him much development to the area. His excellent record as a state assemblymen earned him the BN candidature in the 1982 general election for the Parliamentary seat of Maran, which he won.
The victory resulted in him being appointed as the Deputy Education Minister. He was also among the pioneers who spearheaded the establishment of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), the sixth public university in Malaysia.
On 14th July 1984, he was appointed as a Minister at the Prime Minister’s Department and was responsible for matters related to public service and the Pilgrims Fund Board (Lembaga Urusan dan Tabung Haji).
During the 1986 general election, Mohd Khalil contested for DUN Bukit Tanjau and won. On 14th August 1986, he was appointed as the 13th Menteri Besar of Pahang. After 13 years in Pahang, on 22nd May 1999, he stepped down as the Menteri Besar of Pahang and transferred to Kuala Lumpur to be appointed as a Senator. During the 1999 general election, he contested for the Kuantan Parliamentary seat and won it with a majority of 7,361 votes. He was then appointed as the Information Minister and Umno Secretary General.
Mohd Khalil was conferred several titles by the Sultan of Pahang namely Setia Mahkota Pahang (SMP), Darjah Sultan Ahmad Shah Pahang (DSAP) that carries the title Dato’ Seri Indera Mahkota Pahang (SIMP) dan Seri Sultan Ahmad Shah (SSAP) that carries the title Dato’ Seri.
He was also conferred the Darjah Johan Setia Mahkota (JSM) and Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM) that carries the title Tan Sri by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. In 2003, Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah conferred him the Seri Panglima Darjah Kinabalu (SPDK) which carries the title Datuk Seri Panglima whereas the Sultan of Kelantan conferred Darjah Al-Ismail (SJMK). He also received the Grand Cross Of The Order Of Merit - G.C.O.M (Germany). On 20th Julai 2004, Mohd Khalil was conferred Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara (SMN), which carries the title Tun, by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
In conjunction with his appointment as the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Melaka, it is the honour of the Proclamation of Chancellor Ceremony and First Convocation of Kolej Universiti Teknikal Kebangsaan Malaysia (KUTKM), to appoint Tuan Yang Terutama Tun Mohd Khalil bin Yaakob as the Chancellor of this University.