By Thursday December 11th, 2008 No Comments

Y.A.Berbahagia Tun Rahah,

Dato’ Sri Abdul Wahid Omar,
President and CEO of Maybank

YAB Dato’ Haji Abdul Ghani Othman,
Menteri Besar, Johor

Tan Sri Dr Mohd Yusof Noor,
Group Chairman FELDA

Tan Sri-Tan Sri, Puan Sri-Puan Sri,
Dato’-Dato’, Datin-Datin,

Tuan-Tuan dan Puan-Puan

1. First and foremost I would like to commend and congratulate Yang Berbahagia Datin Kalsom Taib for giving us Taib Andak – “In a Class of His Own”. This is a long overdue book chronicling the many contributions and accomplishments of her late father Tan Sri Dato’ Taib Andak who was an outstanding Malaysian, a distinguished civil servant and a true nationalist. 

2. I am very honoured to be able to launch this book as the late Tan Sri Taib and his wife, Puan Sri Zainab bte Dato Ahmad or “Mak Nab” as she is fondly known, had been especially close to my parents. 

3. My father and Tan Sri Taib forged a friendship from their student days in London that lasted a lifetime. Indeed, if not for Taib, I might not be here today. You see, it was thanks to Taib that my father met my mother, Tun Rahah. Taib somehow or other and fortunately too I might add managed to play the role of matchmaker adding thus to his list of achievements. 

4. For many of you who are not privy to the events leading up to the union of my parents, you will get to read all about it in the book by Datin Kalsom. There is even a photograph of my parents’ wedding in the book, which I believe was made available to Kalsom by my mother. Apart from that, Kalsom’s husband, Dato’ Shafee had also served my father as his private secretary for six years. He was a constant present at our home at “Sri Taman”.

5. The pivotal role that Tan Sri Taib played in leading and shaping two of our country’s key organisations, FELDA and Maybank can never in any way be underestimated. As Chairman of FELDA for nearly thirteen years (1958-1971) he successfully implemented the vision of Tun Abdul Razak in bringing the promise of independence to all strata of Malayans by combating rural poverty and landlessness.

6. It must have been my father’s close personal and working relationship with Tan Sri Taib earlier (in the 50’s, he was District Officer, Kuala Lipis and my father was State Secretary Pahang) that resulted in Taib being given the heavy responsibility of helming FELDA.

7. Through FELDA and its’ land schemes a progressive mechanism was created to eradicate rural poverty and landlessness. Through his dedication Taib had made this grand vision of Tun’s into a reality. Thanks to both of them, thousands of the rural poor were given hope and a new lease of life. 

8. Currently as the minister in charge of FELDA I will continue that good work. FELDA today have reached a level of development that I believe were never imagined by both my father and Taib. Kalsom has narrated this development quite succinctly in the book.

9. It is a testament to the calibre of our civil servants epitomised by men like Taib that we have been able to race ahead of the curve in the field of development among the community of nations, a tradition that has proudly been continued by the current corps of civil servants. 

10. The other organisation that Taib helmed was Maybank. It is; in fact, most appropriate that this launching ceremony is being held here in Menara Maybank, because Taib had been instrumental in the initiative to build this headquarters that is now an iconic landmark in the city. He had done so while he was Chairman of Maybank, an appointment he had taken up also at the request of my father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, to help the bank at a critical time in its corporate history. With his immense capabilities and the support of a formidable management team, he succeeded in pulling Maybank through the difficult times. 

11. For Malaysia to move forward particularly in these troubling times we need more men and women of Taib’s calibre, men and women that can perform and achieve beyond the ordinary and who are capable of punching above their weight. Individuals who are not afraid to undertake any challenges however tough or insurmountable they may seem to be. Men and women in the mould of the adage when the going gets tough the tough get going. 

12. Overall, I find Datin Kalsom’s book of her father to be a well written one. It is very readable, spliced with interesting incidents and illuminated with numerous photographs dating back to days long ago. In this book, we get to know Taib better in regard to his family background and upbringing. We develop a historical appreciation of the periods in which he grew up and made his mark. We learn of his prowess in various sports during his younger days apart from his contributions in the development of FELDA and Maybank, as well as in other public and private bodies. There are also glimpses of the type of man that Taib was from the words of his family members, peers and friends. Their words of gratitude and admiration and appreciation for the man who touched their lives bear testimony to the multifaceted abilities for the man who was a prince of sports, a leader, a team player, yet at the same time very humble and caring and known for his high sense of integrity. It is a book of an extraordinary man and of an extraordinary time written from the heart.

13. We need more Malaysians to pen down their experiences, we need more biographies and autobiographies, please share and record your knowledge for posterity. In order to move forward in realising our national potential Malaysians cannot afford to continuously reinvent the wheel. Only by using past experiences as a guide can we hope to avoid falling into the same pitfalls while we build on the successes of the past. 

14. In conclusion it gives me great pride and pleasure to officially launch Taib Andak – “In a Class of His Own”. Congratulations again, Datin Kalsom, for adding to the pool of biographies of Malaysians who have contributed to the nation and made their country proud.

Thank You. 

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