29 June 1997
These two things I know for sure will happen to me: death and politics will bedevil
me till I meet my Maker. However, I shall not now allow it since I did not permit
politics even in my heyday to interfere with my pursuit of happiness. By that I mean
to fall in love, to enjoy friends, to read and write, to travel, to play games, and
bounce the baby!
Of course, the main job of politicians is to serve the rakyat (people), the nation,
and not themselves.
Once upon a time, not quite a long time ago, I was quite a busy man. Despite that
I managed, quite well in fact, to reconcile my private life and political commitments.
I was at the Kuala Lumpur Maternity Hospital to hold my wife's hands when our first
child was born on Nov 28th, 1969. Adhha is now 27 and will marry next month. Most
of my classmates have long ago become grandfathers. I was not at the hospital when
my daughter Didi came into the world in mid-morning on Feb 16, 1971 because I was
ill after returning from the Haj, pilgrimage to Mecca, two days before her arrival.
I am not ashamed to say I was also not at the hospital when Fuad's turn came on Sept
5 in 1974. I was in Sabah accompanying the then Vice President of Umno, Encik Ghaffar
Baba (now Tun) on an important political mission. We were ordered back to Kuala Lumpur
almost as soon as we arrived in Labuan.
Ghaffar and I were separately rushed to Istana Negara, for the swearing-in ceremony,
he as Minister of Agriculture and I as the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's
Department. I became the only Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's office until
the late Datuk Seri Kamaruddin Isa was sworn in as the second Deputy Minister taking
over from me the religious portfolio several months later.
There was no minister - only us and the Prime Minister! It was a good time. We accomplished
a lot. However, Tunku Abdul Rahman complained in one of his books that it was a heady
period for me. Years later we became good friends, I explained and he accepted my
When we disembarked at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Base in Sungai Besi, I had to
make a quick decision either to rush home and then to Istana Negara or go to the
hospital. A waiting aide told me my wife Fauzah had been rushed to the maternity
hospital an hour before. I decided not to upset the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Tun
Razak, the Prime Minister.
As soon as the group photograph session was over, I rushed to the hospital to see
my wife and my youngest son. I am proud to record here that all my three children
were born at the Kuala Lumpur Maternity Hospital, then an excellent hospital. I do
hope it still is.
Fauzah was understanding, but my intensely private wife was not overjoyed about the
appointment though she was happy for me.