KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 (Bernama) — Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, 55, although regarded by many as a political blueblood considering his prestigious lineage with two highly regarded premiers in the family, was neither groomed nor raised as a politician.
The eldest son of the second premier Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and nephew of the third premier Tun Hussein Onn, makes his entry into Malaysian politics at a young age of 22 after his father’s sudden death at the age of 53 due to Leukemia in London.
In an essay titled ” A Hard Act To Follow” written by him in “Tun Abdul Razak A Personal Portrait” -Â a collection of essays written by Abdul Razak’s families, friends and colleagues on the Malaysian Father of Development, Najib said: “My father never intended me to go into politics.”
“In fact, to think of it, he actually discouraged me from entering politics,” he said and added that Abdul Razak wanted him to do accountacy but he decided to take up Economics and graduated with an honours degree in Industrial Economics from University of Nottingham, England in 1974, two years before his father’s death.
The former public relations manager of Petronas for two years from 1974 to 1976, however, when offered to contest his father’s Parliamentary seat of Pekan upon his death, accepted it despite of “never dreamt-not even in my wildest imagination – that I would be a Member of Parliment so early in life.”
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Blood calls to blood and Najib’s bloodlines to the political arena were strong enough that he himself could not ignore the calling when it came.
Thus, the very young and inexperienced politician made his headway and never looked back since and true to his line, showed immense natural aptitude until he finally held the post that his late father and uncle held.
He started his ascent in Umno as Pekan Umno Youth Chief, and in the same year he was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Pekan unopposed, and four years later he was elected as Pahang Umno Youth Chief and in 1981 elected as the youngest Umno Supreme Council member at the age of 28 and thus, began his meteoric rise in the party.
In 1982 he was elected as Umno Pekan Division Chief and also as the Deputy Chairman of the Pahang Umno state Liaison Committee, and a year later as the state Umno liaison chairman.
In the Umno turbulent year of 1987, Najib was appointed as acting Umno Youth chief and in May 1988, was appointed as the Umno Baru Youth chief and held the post until 1993 before moving on to contest a higher post, the party’s vice-presidency, scoring the second highest votes of 1,202 and from then on, there was no looking back for Najib.
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Najib continued to be elected as the party vice-president in the 1996 and 2000 party elections, scoring the highest votes.Â Â With the stepping down of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as party president andÂ Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi taking over the premiership in 2003, Najib was Abdullah’s choice for his deputy.
The announcement was made on Jan 7, 2004, two months after Abdullah held thepost of Prime Minister.
In the September 2004 party election, Najib was endorsed as the new Umno vice-president unopposed and last week, Najib was again endorsed by the party delegates as the new Umno president, marking the smooth transition of power from Abdullah to him.
In the government administration, Najib started his career at an early age of 25, the youngest to be appointed as a deputy minister. It was in 1978 when his uncle, Hussein appointed him as the new Deputy Minister of Energy,
Telecommunications and Post.
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Two years later, he moved to the Education Ministry, working under Tun Musa Hitam who was then the Education Minister.Â Â In the 1982 general election under the new premier, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad,Najib contested the state seat of Bandar Pekan and appointed as Pahang’s 11th Menteri Besar at the age of 29.
He held the post for nearly four years, before going back to a Federal seat, contesting the Pekan Parliamentary seat in the 1986 general election and and elevated to a minister’s post as the Culture, Youth and Sports Minister at the age of 33.
A year later the Ministry was revamped and named as Youth and Sports Ministry.
In October 1990, Najib was appointed as Defence Minister and four years later in May 1995, he was moved to the Education Ministry and back again to the Defence Ministry in 1999 and held the post before moving on to the Finance Minsitry in September last year.
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While helming education ministry, Najib left a mark in upgrading the ministry especially in improving the teachers’ status, not only promoting the deserving ones but also creating a special programme to enable non-graduate teachers to obtain degrees with loans from the National Higher Education Fund.
He also played an important role in making Malaysia a centre of education excellence in attracting foreign students, besides launching smart schools, a concept aimed at developing thinking students with information technology tools playing an important role in the teaching-learning process, corporatisation of universities, and the establishment of the National Education Fund which was aimed at giving loans to poor students to further their studies at institutions of higher learning.
While in defence, Najib had brought about modernisation through the procurement of advanced equipments for the ministry and set up a Armed Forces Department for veteran Affairs to oversee the welfare of retired armed forces personnel.
After being appointed as Deputy Prime Minister in 2004, Najib was given the task to oversee the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), an agricultural land scheme for the poor that was developed by his late father. He not only introduced various projects including making the conglomerate a global player, but also emphasised on the importance of education for the new generation.
Felda set up scholarships in 2006 for the high achievers among Felda settlers’ children to be sent abroad to further their studies at the best universities in the world, and two years before it, the tuition scheme was introduced at the Felda schemes to help students achieve good results in theUPSR, PMR and SPM examinations, while for the 112,635 settlers, various benefits and incentives had been churned out annually including productivity incentive bonuses.
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Despite having heavy responsibilities and packed schedules, Najib was able to author three books, the first was in 1996 titled “For The Sake of Peace”, and two years later another book titled “Asia-Pacific’s Strategic Outlook – Shifting of Paradigms”, and in 2001 another titled “Defending Malaysia: Facing the 21st Century.”
In his article” A hard Act To Follow”, he said: “Having entered politics, I try to do things in a way that my father would have approved of. But one thing is certain: I do not like to see myself as a populist politican.”
“I do not want to be seen as a politician who will do anything and everything possible to garner support and to propel his own ambition. Benefit to the country should ultimatley be the decisive factor.”
Source : Bernama