KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who has been in politics since he was 21, was an extremely busy man even before he became Prime Minister Friday.
However, his children say that despite his heavy duties over the years in Umno, as a mentri besar and a cabinet minister, he has been an attentive dad and they are confident that he will be a calm and able leader. Bernama interviewed his eldest son Mohd Nizar, 31, and Puteri Norlisa, 28, on what it was like growing up with such a formidable man as a father.
“Being a politician, time with the family is quite limited.
“He has to make a lot of sacrifices to carry out his tasks as a politician but makes a point to see us whenever he can,” said Mohd Nizar. However, he said, they were lucky in that despite his hectic schedule, Najib never neglected his duties as a father and ensured that they received the best in education and had all their needs taken care of.
“We are very thankful as we’re lucky in that sense,” he said. Puteri Norlisa, meanwhile, was very philosophical in her answer.
“That’s the reality of it, it’s not a 9 to 5 job. Come Saturday or Sunday, he’d still be working as there are people there needing his guidance.
“We have to be understanding about it but he does make us a priority whenever he can. We also have to give in, but we do get the chance to see him once he makes the time,” she said.
Mohd Nizar, a management consultant, said his father always stressed the importance of education, working hard and not giving up.
“For example, when I was studying for my chartered accountancy exams, which were very difficult, he advised me to keep trying and never to give up. Alhamdulillah, I succeeded.
“He said this was important because many people easily gave up when they were already nearing the pinnacle of success,” he said.
Puteri Norlisa concurred, saying that her father would constantly call, SMS or visit her when she was studying in England to ensure that she was doing alright.
She just returned to Malaysia three months ago after spending 10 years studying and working in England, the last three years as a solicitor at the Eversheds in London.
Both siblings went to the University of Nottingham, Najib’s alma mater. And just like Najib, Mohd Nizar received his primary and early secondary education at St John’s Institution in Kuala Lumpur before gaining admission to the Malay College Kuala Kangsar to continue his Form 4 and Form 5.
Mohd Nizar also took a degree in industrial economics, like his father, and is currently a Youth member of the Titiwangsa Umno division.
Puteri Norlisa, however, said that she was not politically inclined.
Asked on the qualities they admire most in their father, Mohd Nizar said it was the former’s ability to remain calm under pressure.
“He can remain calm and composed in very tense situations. As a leader he is not quick to become panicky or to jump to conclusions when confronted with controversial situations.
“However, he does not take his time to deliberate on a matter. After gathering enough facts and a thorough consultation, he will make his decisions promptly,” he said.
He added that his father was also a very good listener.
“He can listen to a person from the beginning to the end without interrupting, and that’s not an easy thing to do.”
Puteri Norlisa, meanwhile, talked about her father being a leader of the country.
“He’s lucky to get several ministerial portfolios, so when it comes to the country’s administration, his general knowledge on the matter is very high.
“It’s always inspiring to hear him talk of his ambitions for the future of the country because he gets very passionate about it,” she said. When asked how they dealt with the unpleasant rumours surrounding Najib in the past two years, Mohd Nizar said it was merely politics.
“We believe in him and what he stands for, the allegations thrown to him were baseless and unfair.
“It is normal for politicians to go through this and his detractors will stop at nothing to put him in a very bad light, but as a son, I believe he has a good heart,” he said.
On their their father becoming the prime minister, they said they were thankful to God (syukur) but were aware of the burden and the responsibility.
They also expressed confidence in their father’s ability to steer the country through the current global financial crisis.
“I hope under his guidance, Malaysia will continue to rise in the eyes of the world, and that the legacy he leaves behind is one of great positive impact to the country,” said Puteri Norlisa.
Her brother, meanwhile, appealed to his countrymen to keep an open mind and heart towards his father’s abilities.
“I ask Malaysians to give my father a chance to prove to them his capabilities and leadership ability.”
Speaking on memorable moments with their father, Mohd Nizar said it was the times they spent alone with him when they travelled.
“I really cherish those moments because it’s not easy to get quality time alone with him, so just doing simple normal things like shopping, especially in a foreign country where nobody knows who he is and you get to enjoy each other’s company without any disruptions.
“Those are the really special moments,” he said. – Bernama
Source : The Star