Born in Oslo, Dr Just Faaland may have been a Norwegian, but Prime Minister Najib Razak credits the economist as ‘anak Malaysia’.
It is understood that Faaland had passed away, according to a condolence message posted by Najib on his official Facebook page.
“The late Tan Sri Dr Just Faaland was among the economic experts who helped formulate the New Economic Policy (DEB) and had worked closely with my late father Tun Razak,” Najib wrote.
“He was a person who was committed in improving the living conditions of the poor and neglected, especially the Bumiputera, which then contributed to the success we achieved as a country, today.
“Although he was Norwegian, it is not wrong for me to say that Malaysia owes him and considers him as ‘anak Malaysia’,” he added.
Faaland turned 95 on Jan 25.
According to a Facebook post by Majlis Perundingan Melayu MPM, it is believed that Faaland passed away last Friday in Norway.
Faaland was also the recipient of the Merdeka Award in 2010 for outstanding contribution to the advocacy of equitable growth through eradication of poverty and reduction of socio-economic polarisation.
In a biography article on the Merdeka Award website, Faaland was said to have come to Malaysia before May 13, 1969 as part of a group that would advise Malaysia on economic matters.
Following the race riots, he worked closely with then Prime Minister Abdul Razak Hussein as well as the Malaysian government and the Economic Planning Unit ‘to elevate the living standards of the poor and marginalised’.
Faaland was also conferred with the Panglima Setia Mahkota award in 2002 which carried with it, the title Tan Sri.