Archives for : Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak

Rappler – Moderation is the hallmark of all religions



Today is a day of great hope. A day which sees the dawn of a new beginning for the people of Mindanao. A day when we welcome a unified Philippines when out of the darkness comes a new light, albeit with an old name—Bangsamoro.

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NST – Razak’s 3 Endearing Legacy

January 17, 2012

DATUK Zakaria Ahmad, 79, who had accompanied the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein on many occasions and was tasked with taking care of him and his children, understood the iconic Father of Development well.

London trip

Datuk Zakaria Ahmad (left), former personal secretary to the late Tun Abdul Razak on a trip to London in 1973 together with Razak’s wife Tun Rahah and their sons Najib (second from left) and Ahmad Johari. NST file pic

Zakaria had to comprehend Razak’s character, the way he behaved and know what he wanted, and did not want.
That included knowing what Razak liked to eat.
“When we went overseas, diplomats would ask what our prime minister (Razak) liked to eat and I would say spring chicken or steak.”
The two also had a secret code for Razak’s daily appointments.
“Blue ink indicated that the person would come and could be trusted; red ink meant the person cannot be trusted and it was not certain he or she would show up; while pencil scribbles meant the person would not come,” Zakaria says chuckling.
The amiable leader always seemed to have time for the common citizen.
Zakaria recalled that once, a man from Kuala Lipis, Pahang travelled a great distance to meet with Razak just to ask one question: “When will Tun (Razak) bring us cows?”
In those days, the government gave away a pair of male and female cows to villagers so that they could earn a living, Zakaria explains.
“Razak told the man he would tell the Agriculture Ministry to send the cows soon and he did it.
“To him, there must always be a reply to a request, yes or no.
“He did not like delays and could not tolerate staff who did that.”
Razak’s penchant for speed and efficiency could be seen in his quirky way of reading letters, Zakaria shares.
“Razak did not want to read letters from top to bottom.
“He told me the front is the kata-kata aluan (nice words) and the ending is the conclusion which takes too much time to read.
“The middle is what people want so he reads that part.”
This listening ear and love for the people was perhaps his most endearing trait.
During floods, Razak would visit the affected sites in a motorboat and identify the areas that needed immediate help.
“He knew that people by the river would find it difficult during floods so he made sure they were moved further away from the river.”
His undying care for the people was also extended to Zakaria.
Once, when Zakaria was inflicted with iritis — an inflammation of the iris, Razak visited him in the hospital.
“The eye specialist was surprised and asked why I did not tell him I was Razak’s personal secretary.”
With so many people to meet, Razak had devised a system which allowed him to communicate and touch base with all  Malaysians.
Once a month, he would organise separate dinner functions at his residence, Sri Taman, for the  Sultans, governors, cabinet ministers, senior government officers, senior police officers, armed forces’ officers, businessmen, corporate leaders, Umno leaders,  menteris besar and Umno members so that he could listen to their suggestions and also tell them his plans for the country.
After the May 13, 1969 race riots, Zakaria said a lot of people had asked Razak to take over from Tunku Abdul Rahman but Razak had said no.
“He told me he could not depose Tunku (Abdul Rahman) because they were good friends.
“He said Tunku appointed him as the deputy prime minister so he could not depose him and he did not want people to do the same to him later.”
Zakaria believes that Razak’s stance set the standards for future Umno presidential hand overs, where it is always peaceful and not done by force.
In 1970, after serving Razak for years, Zakaria asked for a job transfer.
Razak refused to grant his request at first but in the end, appointed him as head of the Ceremonial Division.
When Razak went for a medical check-up in London in 1973, Zakaria found out that the former was stricken with leukaemia.   Before Razak left Malaysia for the final time, Zakaria went to see him.
“Razak said to me ‘I’m not here, take care of yourself’.
“I can still remember that phrase until today.”
Upon Razak’s death, Zakaria’s appointment as the head of Ceremonial Division turned out to be truly poetic.
The long-time aide Zakaria received his boss’s  body at the Subang airport and brought it to the Parliament House for people to pay their respects before burial.
“There was a procession from  Parliament House to Masjid Negara for prayers and thousands of people crowded around and followed Razak’s body.
“That was how popular he was.
“He was buried in the Makam Pahlawan behind Masjid Negara and my ceremonial duties ended there,” Zakaria says, with tears in his eyes.
There were three greatest legacies that Razak passed on to Zakaria, which the former had carried out by example, that is — to speak the truth, honour your words and respect others.

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The Star – Special scheme to encourage savings

More benefits: Najib launching the Skim Amanah Rakyat 1Malaysia or Sara 1Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Looking on (from left) are Hamad Kama Piah, Muhyiddin and Ahmad Sarji

January 13, 2012 | By Raja Faisal Hishan

KUALA LUMPUR: A special scheme targeting households with monthly incomes below RM3,000 has been launched.

The Skim Amanah Rakyat 1Malaysia (Sara 1Malaysia) is aimed at increasing disposable income and encouraging savings among the lower income group.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Sara 1Malaysia would be a continuation of the various forms of aid and assistance implemented by the Government to benefit the group.

“The Government has implemented many efforts and initiatives for the people over the past three years,” he said when launching Sara 1Malaysia at PWTC here yesterday.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Permodalan Nasional Bhd chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid and president and group chief executive Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman.

The Prime Minister had, when tabling Budget 2012, announced that such a scheme would be made available to benefit 100,000 households.

Under the scheme, those eligible can invest RM5,000, which could also be obtained through loans from selected financial institutions.

In return, participants would enjoy monthly returns of RM134, or RM50 if a loan was obtained.

A participant’s total investment would be worth between RM5,000 and RM13,000 after five years.

Applications for the scheme can be made from Jan 30.

The Prime Minister said mega development projects were not meant to benefit the corporate sector and the people of Klang Valley only.

He explained that such projects would help ensure economic growth of 5% to 6% yearly, resulting in steady revenue for the country.

“With this revenue, we can allocate a bigger budget to be distributed to sectors such as health and rural development,” he stressed.

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The Sun – Is it just the economy, stupid?

*Image from

November 23, 2011 | By Oon Yeoh

THERE are so many factors that will determine which coalition – Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan Rakyat (PR) – will win the next general election.

I think everyone, including opposition supporters, agree that it will be tough going for PR to win because of the East Malaysia factor. It’s not for nothing that Sabah and Sarawak have been called BN’s “fixed deposit”.

Barring a miracle, it’s highly unlikely that we will see any significant East Malaysian swing to PR in the general election. However, if PR manages to win enough seats in Peninsular Malaysia to win a simple majority (or close to it), we are likely to see East Malaysia parties switching sides. This is not to say East Malaysian politicians sway easily, but rather that they are extremely pragmatic.

So, if BN were to lose the peninsula in a big way, it could very well find its fixed deposit slipping away after the polls. I’m sure BN’s political analysts and strategists recognise this, which is why the fight for votes in the peninsula is so important.

The economy is a big factor. That’s the case everywhere you go, not just in Malaysia. Remember US President Bill Clinton’s famous phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid!”? But there’s also another factor that’s increasingly important, especially amongst the urban folk and most notably amongst the young. And it’s the kind of stuff that BN traditionally doesn’t score very well in.

Yes, I’m talking about civil liberties stuff. You know, free speech, human rights, separation of powers and all that good stuff that civil society cares about. In the past, this was fringe stuff, especially when compared to the economy. But as society progresses and matures, this is exactly the kind of stuff that matters. The so-called “rice bowl” is not the be all and end all any more. People do start caring about the environment, about transparency, freedom of information and so on.

The exposure the internet affords today’s youth plays a big role here. Where in the past, the main sources of information were TV, radio and newspapers, these days people just go online for alternate viewpoints.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently said winnable candidates are those who are accepted by the new generation. He went as far as to say that this would be the decisive factor in the next general election.

For its part, Umno Youth unveiled a new slogan: “BN pilihan orang muda (BN, the choice of the young).” “All our efforts will be focused on that slogan. We want to show young Malaysian voters that the choice is in their hands, and what BN has to offer,” its chief Khairy Jamaluddin said.

If it is really true that the election will be decided by the so-called “new generation”, the prime minister would do well to consider whether the various issues that this segment of society cares about are best championed by BN or PR.

When Najib first became prime minister, he made all the right moves. He took walkabouts and mingled with the public. His 1Malaysia slogan told people he wanted a united country, and his remark that the days of “government knows best” are over gave people hope that his administration would be less paternalistic.

If I were Najib’s political adviser, I would tell him not to rely only on the warm and fuzzy feedback he gets from the people he meets on his walkabouts or at tea parties for his Twitter followers and Facebook fans. Well-wishers in such situations are not going to give brutally honest feedback.

Rather, I would commission a public opinion survey and ask folks whether they think racial polarisation is still a problem or whether they feel people are more united than ever before. It’s also worth asking if people feel the government is adequately catering to their idealistic aspirations for a more civil society.

It might be the economy, stupid, but like it or not, these are the kinds of things that the new generation cares about. And they’re the kind of things that help win elections in this day and age, the economy notwithstanding.

Oon Yeoh is a new media consultant. Comments:

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