Tun Razak: Seeing The Father Through The Son


March 28, 2017

Tun Razak:  Seeing The Father Through The Son

by Dr. M. Bakri Musa, Morgan-Hill, California

Image result for Tun Razak and Najib Razak

Note: Please read TUNKU: An Odyssey of a Life Well-lived and Well-Loved by Kobkua Suwannathat Pian (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 2017) for a fuller account of Tunku-Tun Abdul Razak’s relationship post 1969.

Last March 11, 2017, would have been Tun Razak’s 95th birthday. He died in 1976, his sixth year in office and two months shy of turning 54. On April 3, 2017, his son, Prime Minister Najib, will enter his ninth year in office.

Najib seems so different from his father. Or is he? Is Najib a reflection of his father? Just to pose that question is to commit secular blasphemy in Malaysia. Many Malaysians, Malays in particular, revere the Tun. He was buried at the Heroes Mausoleum at Masjid Negara. The country’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Bapak Merdeka (Father of Independence), was buried in the state and very provincial capital of Alor Star.

“Many” does not mean all. Among non-Malays, excluded from the largesse of Tun’s landmark New Economic Policy (NEP), memories of him are less charitable.

As a young surgeon in Canada in the 1970s I came across William Shaw’s glowing biography of Tun Razak. He was a legend at Malay College, a scholar-athlete par excellence. He breezed through his law studies, completing it well before his scholarship term ended. He could have been a successful lawyer there or have a lucrative career with one the many colonial firms.

Instead he chose to serve his country. He could have been the first native Governor of the proposed and subsequently-aborted Malayan Union. He was a rising star destined for great heights. Yet he gave all that up to join the fledgling UMNO, and with that, a very uncertain future. UMNO then, very unlike today, had no plump GLC directorships or lucrative government contracts to dole out.

Tun’s story as spun by Shaw inspired me to return. Then just days after I landed, the news of his unexpected death in London. Sudden and shocking! I was devastated. So too was the country

Razak’s legacy is NEP, and of course Najib. As for Najib’s, it’s too early to tell. This much however, is indisputable. He has burdened Malaysia with a humungous debt to be borne for generations. The full liabilities are not yet known. With most in foreign currencies and with the ringgit fast becoming worthless, those debts would only get worse. Crippling cuts to hospitals and universities are just the beginning.

Also indisputable is this. America’s Justice Department has filed its largest asset forfeiture lawsuit under its corruption and money laundering laws. “Malaysian Official 1,” aka Najib, is alleged to have siphoned off a staggering US$3.5 billion from 1MDB. Singapore has already convicted some of the culprits. Together with Switzerland, Singapore has also shuttered the banks involved.

Image result for Najib Razak dresses as a pious arab

Najib is both corrupt and incompetent, a lethal combination. Now desperate to hang on to power, Najib adds a third and volatile mix–religion. He regularly sports white jubbah and kopiah, a la the Bedouins. He unabashedly apes his predecessor in leading congregational prayers, an imam wannabe, with camera crew in tow of course. This from a man with Bill Clinton’s sexual proclivities but minus the compensating intellect.

Those desert accoutrements are harmless, more juvenile. Far more dangerous is his cavorting with extremist Islamists. Earlier, Najib exhorted UMNO Youths to emulate ISIS. Now he eggs on PAS Hadi with his mischievous RUU 355, the so-called Hudud Bill. In plural Malaysia, that is playing with religious fire, a potential hell on earth.

Razak too co-opted PAS following the 1969 race riot. While he acted from strength, Najib is from weakness. Make that desperation. These observations on Najib prompted me to reassess my hitherto hero, Tun Razak, spurred by the village wisdom, Bapak borek, anak rintik. Literally translated, frizzled roosters having spotted chicks; idiomatically, like father, like son. We do not become the characters we are out of nowhere. Our parents in particular shape, influence and develop our beliefs, morals, and assumptions.

As a kampung youngster back in the 1950s, I remember Minister of Education Razak exhorting Malays to send their children to the newly-established Malay secondary schools. Many fell for his sway, dis-enrolling their children out of English schools. The consequences of that initiative, and his education policies generally, are now plain.

I was a temporary teacher at one of those new Malay secondary schools back in 1963. I was appalled at the atrocious quality of the textbooks and the total lack of preparation for the new system. As a consequence, generations of Malay children paid and continue to pay a terrible price for Razak’s folly.

My saddest moment visiting the old village today is seeing my former English school classmates whose parents had switched them into the new Malay stream. They are stuck in the kampung; their education had failed them. Their only comment on seeing me was, “Your father was wiser than mine!”

What was my father’s wisdom? We should not listen to what our leaders say, rather follow what they do. What did Razak do for his children? He sent them all to English schools, and in England to boot! Hypocrisy would be too mild a term for that!

Today his son Najib is asking Malaysians to be frugal and civil servants not be corrupt. Laughable! Many in UMNO today are taking my father’s advice. They don’t listen to him but follow what he does! While Najib, his family, the Lows and a few of the highs like that Goldman Sach bonds salesman get hundreds of millions if not billions, those UMNO kutus are satisfied with a few devalued ringgits and some leftover contracts as rewards for their sucking up to Najib. Malays are not mudah lupa (forgetful lot), rather mudah puas hati (easily satisfied).

Returning to the shock of his death, Razak hid his lethal cancer from his family and country for years. Even his last desperate flight to England seeking medical treatment was undertaken in an elaborate ruse. A leader not trusting his people. Razak deceived not only Malaysians but also his loved ones.

Our Prophet(pbuh) counselled us to lead a life as if we would live forever (meaning, plan long term), but be prepared as if you will die tomorrow (keep your affairs in order so as not to leave a mess). Razak failed to prepare his young family as well as the nation. With five young sons, and a wife unprepared, that was the height of paternal irresponsibility.

In his memoir, Tunku lamented how Razak went through elaborate machinations to topple Tunku, or at least forced him to resign following the May 1969 riot. If only Razak had been straightforward and confided his wish to Tunku, he would have stepped aside sooner. There was no need for Razak to undertake those dirty, unseemly backroom maneuvers. Despite being comrade in arms for over a quarter of a century, Razak still did not take Tunku in his confidence.That was Tunku’s assessment of Razak’s character.

There is a picture of a young Razak in a Japanese Imperial Army uniform. His apologists spun that as his being a ‘secret agent’ for the British! Only with imminent Japanese surrender did he switch sides. There should be a special word to describe such Benedict Arnold duplicity. “Coward” and “traitor” would not do justice.

Young Razak was no Lieutenant Adnan. He wore his Malay Regiment uniform with pride defending his Tanah Air against the Japanese. Adnan gave the ultimate sacrifice; a wira sahih (genuine hero).

Image result for Najib Razak dressed as a pious arab

Note the parallel between Razak’s Japanese uniform and Najib’ Bedouin trappings. Najib also has a political father. Mahathir mentored Najib and more than just greased his ascent. Najib is Mahathir’s most obscene legacy. The redeeming grace is that Mahathir now recognizes his error and is desperate to rectify it. It must pain him to spend his retirement years on this onerous but necessary dirty duty.

Muslims believe that Allah punishes us in this world to spare us a more horrible one in the Hereafter. That belief is a salve to our current travails. As to what awaits us in the Hereafter, only He knows. That aside, I pray for Mahathir’s success, not for his salvation but Malaysia’s.

Image result for Najib Razak and his mentor Mahathir Mohamad

As for Razak, may his soul rest in peace. His early demise spared him the agony of witnessing what he had bequeathed unto Malaysia through his oldest son, Najib Razak.

19 thoughts on “Tun Razak: Seeing The Father Through The Son

  1. I read the topmost heading “Tun Razak: Seeing The Father Through The Son” and jumped straight into the essay. As I was reading it and almost reaching the end, I had a feeling that this could have been written by Inche Bakri Musa. The prose style, weight of contents and the cutting jabs made me to guess so. When I scrolled up (or down?) I was proven 100% right.

    Like father like son. Both are unsavoury in their own ways. They are nowhere comparable to Tunku or even Mahathir.

    • Both are political animals with ambitions byt the father is more dedicated to developing the nation while the son wNts to rape and reap the nations wealth. The rest is history.

  2. It is so surprising that I did the exact same thing as Hawking Eye above. I guess after being an ardent reader of this blog for such a long time has tuned us to the style of the writer, either witty or jabbing mode.

    Frank C.

  3. A little forgotten fact is originally, Tun Razak promised BN members the NEP was not suppose to have quotas but rather like a real affirmative actions handicaps and targets. When finally implemented, it became apartheid.

    Like it or not Tun Razak legacy is over entitlement especially his own son.

  4. “A chip off the old block,” goes the saying. But the late father was more refined and was a class above his thieving son. Sunny boy? Well, you all know better than I do.

  5. Its not ‘ Like father like son ‘ …..there’s a world of difference between father & son , both in strength of character and Integrity – they are both DIFFERENT ….. (or if you like ‘ son is unlike the father ‘….? ) – Q: Why or how are they ‘like ‘ ?

  6. When Razak died we were undergoing training at the police depot in KKB. We were given the day off to attend his funeral in KL.
    I decided to head in the opposite direction and spend my time in Fraser’e Hill.
    Looking back, and what I’ve seen and read of that man, I am glad I did that.
    Unfortunately, scum has a way of returning, and now the country is laden with the son.

    • Assalaammualaikum, I had thought of suing Durex for not promoting their product effectively at that time. Hope to give it another thought

  7. The difference between father and son is that in the case of the former, we already know there will be no more damage done by him, but in the case of the latter, who knows what else will befall the nation and its Rakyat, especially the poor and poorly educated of all races.

    The disaster so far is still a work-in-progress.

  8. Oh wow. Great article. Now I know where he got all his bad traits and dishonesty. Maybe his wife is his punishment.

  9. “If only the late Tun had practiced Coitus Interruptus,..”

    Well semper, in the days of yore, that was a ‘sin’. Spilling the seed and all that..
    What the ancestor should have passed on to the fruit of his loins was ‘tegakness’ – if not of the chin – at least in ‘jantaness’ (manhood).

    But Dr Bakri is right on all counts. I always puzzled over the ‘greatness’ of Razak as expounded by ultra-nationalistic morons. Now it’s only fitting that his heir is dismantling his legacy like Barisan (by RUU 355), Felda (by shady deals and rampant mismanagement) and so on.

    It would seem that the feudalistic, entitled, rent seeking, hubristic and corrupt kampung Malays who are forever grateful of only one bucketful of shit, instead of more – being dumped on their heads are actually quite pitiful.

    So Jibros, who is presently being ostracized by his own brothers for his peccadilloes, carnal indulgences and odious wastrel ways is seeking celebrity and recognition. What he deems as greatness, is actually weakness. All he surveys is falsity and hypocrisy.

    But in this age of information, it would seem that spilling the beans on Numero Uno, is a greater sin, at least in Malusia.

  10. The Malays, not all of course, will forgive Najib for anything because they worship his father. Even Tun Mahathir supported, mentored and promoted Najib because he too worshipped Tun Razak without whom Mahathir would not have returned to UMNO and became its president and consequently PM for over 2 decades.

    And who are we to say who the Malays can or cannot worship?

  11. A child is a product of a father and mother. So let’s not confine it to seeing the father through the son. We must also look at the maternal side as a child is nurtured and learn more from the mother in the development stage. The maternal side patriarch is Tan Sri Noah Omar, former Chairman and Director of Gentings. Hoe Lim Goh Tong acquired the vast freehold land in Pahang and Selangor are well documented. Interesting to note that the Noah Foundation holds over 300 million Genting shares.

  12. Well OM, Lim Goh Tong had the vision, gumption, cojones and fortitude to turn Gunung Ulu Kali, an accident of geography – which no one had foreseen, into a world class casino resort. He and bosom buddy Noah Beirut (first Speaker of Parliament, then President of Senate) set up Genting in 1965, and had to initially suck up to the Tunku. By the time Razak took over, they had a done deal. Jobbo already existed as a runt.

    Yeah, seems that the fruit of the loins never fall far from Genting Sempah.. But like durian runtuh, it can either kill and maim or else bring a delightful aftertaste.

    Never mind though, i belanja you Musa King and Ang Hei, next time round. Promise!

    • Musang King in Raub sounds nice but Ang Hie have to go to Balek Pulau and season not on yet. Heard that this year crop is smaller due to the dry weather. Rain check accepted. We can use KTM Elektrik which is fast and affordable. He he

  13. Thanks, Din for posting this excellent, informative and positively thought provoking piece of Dr Bakri.

    …And drawing from it , I ask,

    Would not the people, MPs in particular from the divide,be as, if not much more concerned seeing Salvation, through their own eyes and Collectively, of Malaysia ?

    The tragedy for the country and people is to have been misled into voting in Najib,who as a person, is looking and acting through his father, Razak’s eyes, and as a PM, Mahathir.

    One was a Treasonable Traitor (according to Bakri’s narratives), the other, a Corruptor/Corrupted PM. Both are devastating ” honest and heroic” Deceivers, whom Tunku would Never want to RIP with.

    So far,( with some remaining benefits of doubt), Najib is a toxic compounded legacy of both Razak and Mahathir.

    The MPs, especially those from E.Malaysia, and from within Umnob/Bn and the divide should STOP pretending-wake up and stand up to be Counted or be Held
    Accountable in Complicit for Allowing Malaysia from heading into a Failed state —

    Bearing in mind, TUNKU is both the Inspirational and Benevolent Leader as a PM and a person. Malaysia be blessed and Safe.

  14. I live in Southend-on-Sea, a little resort town on the mouth of he Thames. And, within walking distance from my house, we have a Genting casino which is doing very well, thank you.

    Just thinking about what I would do with a few of the 300 million Genting shares…

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