A TRUE BROTHER THROUGH THICK AND THIN
This is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s keynote address, titled ‘Tun Abdullah, the Exemplary Loyal Statesman’, at the Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Lecture in Putrajaya on Thursday
IWISH to express my gratitude to the Almighty for being picked as the first person to deliver a lecture on Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. I accepted this invitation, without any hesitation, to attend and deliver a lecture.
I welcome the noble efforts undertaken by the Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Legacy Association, chaired by Jefridin Atan, in organising a series of meaningful lectures.
Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, or more affectionately known as “Pak Lah” by most Malaysians, has long been a key figure in Malaysia’s history.
In coming up with my notes for this lecture, what’s in my mind and deep in my heart about Pak Lah, in an informal perspective, is that he is not only a close family friend, a brother and reliable friend in good times and bad times, but most importantly, he is the most sincere soul that I have ever known.
Returning to this programme, I was made to understand that the Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Lecture initiative was aimed as an annual platform to invite intellectuals and prominent figures from various fields to discuss and study the thoughts and contributions made by Tun Abdullah throughout his illustrious career as an administrator, right to the point when he became prime minister and Umno president, as well as his struggles now.
As we all know, Tun Abdullah, was the fifth prime minister of Malaysia, and known as the “Father of Human Capital Development”. In highlighting the importance of human capital for the country’s development, Tun Abdullah often emphasised the need to strengthen human resource development as the most important capital in the quest for national progress.
Among his popular choice of quotes in many of his speeches in various functions or forums is: “We do not want a situation in Malaysia where we have a firstclass facility or infrastructure, but a third-class mentality.”
To me, what Tun Abdullah stood for is true.
Despite having all the facilities and infrastructure in place, or having a building with all its bricks and mortars in place, it will be meaningless if it is not paired with the necessary human capital in the form of trained individuals, who are knowledgeable with noble characteristics or have an intellectual power par excellence... everything would be meaningless.
In fact, when Tun Abdullah became prime minister at the launch of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, he stressed the objective of ensuring the nation’s development goal is balanced and holistic for the benefit of the people.
Tun Abdullah also often highlighted the need for increasing the value or value-add in the national economy, enhancing the capacity for knowledge, creativity and innovation, nurturing “first-class mentality”, tackling socio-economic inequalities constructively and productively, as well as increasing the level and quality of life, sustaining institutional capacity strength as well as national implementation and to inculcate integrity among the people.
From another point of view, I respect Tun Abdullah as a leader, who has consistently upheld the virtues of Islam. This is not surprising, given his background of study in the field of Islamic Arts Studies from Universiti Malaya.
This is why, in addition to talking often about human capital, Tun Abdullah also takes a balanced approach with regard to national and Islamic civilisation, in accordance with the
Through Tun Abdullah outlined 10 key principles, among which are faith and devotion to God, just and trustworthy government, mastery of knowledge, quality of life as well as cultural and moral integrity.
In this respect, when I took over as the prime minister, I felt it was suitable and proper to continue with the basic principles envisioned by Tun Abdullah.
Therefore, through the philosophy of 1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now, it is a continuity of the vision in my era and the link to what had been worked on during Pak Lah’s era.
In fact, in the interest of the country’s future, the whole world is now on the verge of what is called “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, which comes through in various combinations, in the form of agents of change, such as information technology and the Internet, robotics, nanotechnology, task automation and 3D printing.
In fact, there is so much more that I can list out of the sacrifices, contributions, and service and dedication by Tun Abdullah.
Just now, we saw an exhibition of the National Integrity Institute, J-Qaf curriculum in schools, the availability of Halal Corporation and, for me, each time I chair the Iskandar Regional Corridor, the Eastern Corridor, East Coast Economic Corridor and the Northern Economic Corridor, I recall that all this is Pak Lah’s legacy to the nation.
For the purpose of my speech and lecture presentation, maybe, I can list out a few key elements about our “Gentleman Statesman, Loyal Without Peer”, which, among others, are:
I would like to pay tribute to Tun Abdullah, Malaysia’s fifth prime minister, who is also the sixth Umno president, for his devotion in serving the people with determination since 1964, having begun as an administrator in the public sector;
on behalf of myself and my family, I would like to appreciate the services and sacrifices of Tun Abdullah, especially when he was appointed to the National Operations Council, or NOC, to help my father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, as its chairman when the nation faced the racial tragedy in 1969. He had a close relationship with my father, in that, he often said: “You are the biological son of Tun Razak. I am his political son”; and,
I would like to state my appreciation to Pak Lah’s loyalty because whatever happens, he continued to support and stand by the government, the party and Barisan Nasional, and had never betrayed the party or left Umno.
Back to our personal relationship, what touched me is that he not only called me “my brother”, but Tun Abdullah has always been a true friend as he remained loyal and was in the government with me through thick and thin, in whatever situation.
In fact, what is most touching to me is the love Tun Abdullah has for the party and the nation, as a great leader with a noble heart,
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi launching the Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Lecture in Putrajaya on Thursday. With them is Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Legacy Association chairman Datuk Jefridin Atan.