KUALA LUMPUR: In remembering Tun Abdul Razak Hussein whose passing was over 40 years ago, the vision and noble values of the country’s second prime minister need to be revisited, appreciated, relived and kindled in the mind and soul of every Malaysian.
The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah said the nation and its people not only lost a great statesman but today they were more worried about losing Tun Abdul Razak’s vision.
The late second prime minister’s vision, he said, was to build a country that was strong and united, nurtured and fostered through the school environment, and so were his leadership qualities based on honesty, integrity, accountability and sacrifice so that the country could remain independent, sovereign, prosperous and respected.
When launching the book, “Fulfilling A Legacy-Tun Razak Foundation” here yesterday, the Perak Sultan also called on the people to remember Tun Abdul Razak’s five legacies after becoming prime minister for 1,941 days since Sept 22, 1970 until his death on Jan 14, 1976.
These legacies included returning the power to the people to choose a government after disbanding the National Security Council; bringing back public confidence and support for UMNO and Barisan Nasional and their leaders; and the Malays and Bumiputeras given the trust to lead various government organisations, and corporate and private bodies.
His other legacies were urbanisation of rural areas with the development of various facilities and opening of Felda land schemes; and increasing educational facilities at various levels from school to university.
Sultan Nazrin Shah said Tun Abdul Razak accepted the responsibility of becoming second prime minister against the backdrop of five scenarios, including the country being in the political recovery incubation period after the May 13, 1969 incident (race riots); and UMNO and Alliance experiencing a big confidence deficit following its loss of two-thirds majority in the country’s third general election on May 10, 1969.
The other scenarios were the Malays and Bumiputeras being in a defiant and protesting mood as they felt independence gave them no meaning when they were living in hardship; the majority of them living in the rural areas with minimum basic facilities; and limited access to educational facilities, especially tertiary education.
“Besides the five evident legacies left by Tun Abdul Razak, implicit were two elements that mirror the human values and Islamic soul that must be delved into and upheld,” the Sultan said.
Firstly, he said, Tun Abdul Razak had no greed for power, proven by his willingness to return power to the people and his wanting to hand over power as soon as possible to the young back-up leaders by entrusting the responsibility and tasks to them, whether in the party, government or administration.
The Sultan said the second element was Tun Abdul Razak’s trustworthiness and honesty that were portrayed by transparency and integrity in the administrative practices, very prudent spending of government funds, and carefully ensuring that these funds were not spent on oneself and family.
“(Tun Abdul Razak) was firm about paying back every sen of government money even on a bottle of hair oil or a toothbrush for his personal use, which his staff could have overlooked, or had mistakenly used the office money to purchase it when he was overseas.
“If Tun Abdul Razak is still breathing today, surely he will be disappointed and regret seeing the four scenarios happening in this country now.”
Firstly, the Sultan said, when referring to Tun Abdul Razak’s vision on unity, in their eagerness to win support, the political parties today were more inclined to sensationalise religious and racial issues.
“Secondly, the National Education Policy contained in the Razak Report outlined the important role of schools in promoting unity among the people through the national school stream.
“Today, however, the implementation of the National Education Policy has increasingly failed in fulfilling the goal of schools as a teaching place for fostering unity.
“The young generation from different races today, who go through various school streams, will not have the opportunity to interact and know each other, and instead they grow up separately in their own racial group.
“Thirdly, at the implementation level, various slips from the actual path of the New Economic Policy occur, especially abuse of wealth distribution opportunities to the extent of causing leakage of the Bumiputera economic share on a big scale.
“Fourthly, corruption and integrity. Tun Abdul Razak would be heartbroken to see the exposure after exposure, and arrest after arrest because of large-scale corruption involving high-ranking officials and educated individuals, with huge amounts of money involved, which have tarnished the good name of the country,” he said.
At the end of the event, Sultan Nazrin Shah presented a copy of the book to Tun Abdul Razak’s wife, Tun Rahah Mohammad Noah, where he said the people should appreciate Rahah’s role as the source of the late prime minister’s strength and it should be emulated.
“To Tun Hajah Rahah, the nation and people are indebted for having sacrificed by lending her beloved husband to us. The nation and people say ‘thank you’ and record our appreciation. Please accept this from us,” he said.
Also present at the event were Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Zarah Salim and chairman of Yayasan Tun Razak board of trustees, Tun Mohamed Hanif Omar. – Bernama