24 January 1999
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He told me I would be promoted (Minister of Information) in the cabinet reshuffle
on Jan 26, 1976 and instructed me to do several things while he was away.
The last time I spoke with him at the Subang International Airport when we shook
hands at the steps before he boarded the plane. He looked into my eyes, his eyes
twinkling and mischievously said, "Have fun in Tokyo. I will see you in the
New Year. Goodbye."
He had asked me to go to Japan to launch a MISC ship - Bunga Setawar - which
was performed by Fauzah in Yokohama.
It was nit just Razak was a great Prime Minister, he has been a friend of presidents,
Prime Ministers, sultans as well as the kampung people and town folks who respected
him for what he didi for them. Many legends have been created around his name.
I know Malaysian history will fudge him a great Prime Minister but that depends on
who writes the history.
One of my cherished memories of my years with Razak was one particular visit along
the Pahang river in mid 1960s'.
He was touring upstream villages and sleeping in the Sultan of Pahang's houseboat.
We have tramped perhaps forty miles through the mud and rain for three days meeting
the riverine villagers.
Leslie Hoffman, the editor-in-chief of Straits Times, who shared a cabin with
me was exhausted by the protracted journey. He said jokingly be would sooner perish
if we extended the visit another day.
Razak was cool, did not appear to suffer from any form of fatigue. Though he did
not need a walking stick, Razak always used one which beside his off-white bush jacket,
became a Razakian trade mark.
Hoffman, unused to rural life, found the sardine packed schedule hectic, which left
him with little time to breath even though the eating and feasting as is the way
of kampung hospitality fascinated him.
I kept the spirits of the press up. Keeping them focused. Hoffman wrote an article
of the trip in Straits Times Annual.
I learned this good lesson from Razak, don't indulge to much in rhetoric when one
would do better to get on with it.
Every now and then in my waking ways, and especially when I am here in New York or
London, I tend to look hard and impartially at everything, certainly without any
implications of insincerity or exaggeration.
Razak had one matchless blessing, enjoyed by many Malaysians; a happy family with
a devoted wife and children. All boys and all are married except the second youngest,
Nadzim, an architect, who is still looking around for a suitable bride.
Who says it is easy yo find a life partner? I have a friend who has since married.
He married late because the woman he loved was married. In the end he married a woman
for convenience which blossomed into love and they lived happily ever after, as the
During my 14 years as his political secretary and deputy minister, Razak always treated
me and my family with full consideration.
There has never been any serious and irreconcilable political difference between
him and me except on two occasions - the separation of Singapore and a certain event
which followed the May 13, 1969 incident.
A stunned Datuk Hussein Onn came to his great opportunity, and the grief of the people
was mixed with anxiety.