January 23rd, 2016

Tun Abdul Razak: Malaysia’s true ‘Father of Development’

Some say that the best solutions to future challenges lie with learning from the experiences and struggles of the past.

As such, Malaysians must never forget our past and what our forefathers fought for! Let us also take lessons from their struggles for the people and nation and be guided by their unwavering principles and steadfastness.

Malaysia’s second prime minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak, must surely go down in history as a genuine leader and true Malaysian.

The younger generations of Malaysians have never met him but they must surely know of his valuable contribution to the country while he was with us – a short life of only 53 years which was tragically cut short by leukemia.

Former international trade and industry minister Rafidah Aziz recalled that Razak,who was Umno president at the time, appointed her to the economic bureau where she was asked to examine the welfare and fate of rubber smallholders.

He was concerned that they were oppressed as they did not get a fair deal and suffered from poverty.

“I was a lecturer at the faculty of economics and administration, University of Malaya. I felt very proud to be given this task. I did the best I could and submitted the report which recommended the formation of Risda to take on the welfare of the smallholders.

He accepted my proposal and I was appointed to Risda’s board. In 1974, he selected me to be a senator, and later a state assemblyperson, said Rafidah, adding: “for that I owe him a debt that cannot be repaid.”

Razak was a man who listened intently and held onto a clear vision for the country and people. He focused on the country’s development issues, the equitable distribution of wealth and socio-economic imbalances.

“He never “played politics”, the only politics he knew was for the betterment of the country and its people.

“There was no “hype” that carried his leadership, he did what he thought and knew to be fair for all; not to gain popularity but because it was the right thing to do.

“I always remind myself that I was in the presence of the forefathers of Malaysia’s independence.

Rafidah Aziz Rafidah Aziz

“There is so much I have learnt about the politics of development and national integration from genuine leaders - those who hold onto integrity, wisdom and without self-interest,” she said.

Rafidah affirmed that she was one of those brought up in an era where the political culture allowed them to be respected, but that culture has been eroded through time and is less motivated by the strengths of national unity and the demands of a country like Malaysia, which strives on its diversity.

“Tears flowed freely that day Tun Razak passed away. In such a short time, a strong foundation for the nation’s development was built under his leadership. He left a legacy which future leaders could build on and strengthen the nation further,” said Rafidah.

Razak never wanted to use the powers granted under the National Operations Council (NOC) and even seemed fearful of them, said Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Speaking about his father, Najib said Razak did what many others would not by restoring parliamentary rule.

“Indeed, his actions went against the grain of many leaders in the world and in the region at the time. He never wanted to use the powers he wielded.”

Najib said that by 1971, peace and order had been restored in the country and Razak had re-established parliamentary rule. For that alone, Tun Abdul Razak would be remembered as one of Malaysia’s greatest leaders.

In an ironic turn, the Najib-led government of the day recently tabled the contentious National Security Council (NSC) Bill that could very likely grant emergency powers to the prime minister.

Naturally, the Bill has come under heavy criticism by politicians, legal groups and human rights activists.

Razak was a staunch believer of democracy and this was proven when he returned power to Parliament.

In paying tribute to Razak, former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the former could have continued to rule through the National Operations Council (NOC) following the suspension of Parliament in 1969.

Parliament was suspended at the time and an emergency rule was put in place following the May 13 racial riots.

However, Abdullah said Razak wanted to return power to Parliament and give democracy back to the people as he believed a strong Parliament would help the country achieve better success.

“After the establishment of the NOC, the process to return power back to Parliament was Tun Razak’s best policy,” he said at a Special Commemorative Seminar on Tun Abdul Razak on Jan 14.

Earlier, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein echoed this view that Tun Razak could have ruled through the NOC but did not do so and instead led his government to victory in the 1974 elections.

Thursday, 14 Jan 2016 marked the 40th anniversary of Tun Razak’s passing.

Indeed, Malaysians can learn a lot from this great man.

Unmasking Tun Abdul Razak and the ugly truths about him

It was on 15 March 1975 that the World Cup hockey final was played in Kuala Lumpur between India and Pakistan. Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, prime minister of Malaysia back then was the guest-of-honour. It was a titanic clash between the two arch rivals and India emerged the winners.

But it was during the prize-winning ceremony that it dawned on me some revelations about Razak. He was led to the winning rostrum. But, in a gruff manner, he just handed the trophy to Ajitpal Singh, captain of the Indian team, and walked away with a disgusted huff towards the Pakistan team.

In the Pakistan camp, he gave them their runners-up award and shook hands with each and every player and official and exchanged pleasantries with them.

The Indian team was made up of Hindus, Muslims and Christians. But the Pakistani team were all Muslim. As a fourteen-year--old schoolboy watching the unfolding drama on the field from the grandstands, it dawned on me that Razak was not a sportsman. He was biased, prejudiced and racist and it was obviously evident.

This is why, recently, on commemoration of the 40th anniversary of his death, it comes as shocking the sign of support for him from Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Rafidah Aziz and of course, his son Najib, but please do not believe the accolades they shower on him.

Razak was a Malay chauvinist and he was a racist who only had eyes for his own race.

With the ouster of Tunku Abdul Rahman, following the 13 May 1969 race riots, Razak and Umno deposed the Tunku and he became prime minister only to swiftly and hastily implement the ill-conceived New Economic Policy (NEP) which reeked of racism and a form of apartheid.

This was actually the beginning of how Malaysia slowly and steadily, over the years, started to shy away from the pure democracy of the Tunku. The Tunku was appalled and shocked by the NEP's implementation and he protested that it was a denial of the equal rights of the minority races, the Chinese and the Indians.

 Tunku Abdul RahmanTunku Abdul Rahman

Razak ushered in the era where democracy was severely compromised and there was no more fair play, justice and meritocracy, neither was any of the tenets and obligations of democracy adhered to by him.

And instead of swinging with the great Western democracies, he established ties with the communist regimes of China and Russia.

During his tenure as prime minister, he began the slant towards Malaysia becoming a police state and he governed with an iron fist in a velvet glove.

Razak's period of governance was marked by a heavy oppression of the people and the evil NEP served no purpose as after the 30-year period it ran, it brought prosperity only to a fraction of Bumiputeras.

Razak was also guilty of fabricating and coining the previously non-existent term of “Bumiputera” or indigenous people. But the NEP was only responsible for creating a wedge between the Malays and the other races and for establishing a governing elite in this country who now holds sway over the majority of the people in this country.

In my view, it was kind of a blessing in disguise that Razak's tenure as prime minister was quite short. He passed on in 1976 from leukemia.

This country now badly needs leaders, regardless of race of religion, who will sacrifice and serve the people and bring glory and honour to this nation. Leaders who will turn this nation around and realize its potential as a Great Nation. Not biased or prejudiced leaders with foggy ideas and chronically ill thinking ways that leads us to regress and brings us backwards to the Dark Ages.

Wajib ambil tahu hal ekonomi

SATU dunia sedang hadapi masalah pertumbuhan ekonomi yang lembap akibat kejatuhan harga minyak mentah. Tak kira negara itu pengeluar petroleum atau bukan, semuanya kena tempias kejatuhan petroleum.

Dah lama minyak mentah jadi senjata politik antarabangsa. Sekarang ia turut jadi kunci ekonomi dunia. Negara-negara pengeluar utama petroleum macam Arab Saudi sengaja tekan turun harga sebagai senjata diplomasi dan strategi untuk gagalkan pembangunan sumber alternatif tenaga, khususnya minyak dari batu syal (shale).

Pada tahun 2007 dan 2008, harga minyak mentah melambung sampai AS$145 satu tong.

Ekonomi kita tunggang-langgang dan hidup rakyat jelata susah apabila, pada tahun 2006, kerajaan naikkan harga runcit minyak.

Tujuh tahun kemudian, harga minyak mentah jatuh ke bawah paras AS$35 satu tong.

Walaupun kita pengeluar petroleum kecil tapi sumbangan industri minyak dan gas kepada ekonomi negara dan hasil kerajaan sangat besar.

Jadi bila harga minyak mentah jatuh merudum dan diikuti pula oleh kelemahan mata wang ringgit, kesan kepada ekonomi kita berganda.

Maka betullah dakwaan kata bukan semua masalah ekonomi dan kesusahan yang rakyat jelata alami hari ini adalah akibat kesalahan atau kelemahan mana-mana pihak.

Ekonomi perdagangan

Kunta Kinte dah banyak kali kata. Ekonomi kita adalah ekonomi perdagangan. Walaupun kita negara kecil, tapi kita adalah antara negara perdagangan terbesar di dunia.

Jadi apa yang berlaku kepada ekonomi dunia, kesannya kita akan rasa melalui perdagangan.

Suka tak suka kita kena akui bahawa tak banyak yang kita boleh buat untuk pengaruhi harga minyak di pasaran dunia atau lindungi negara kita daripada kesan naik turun ekonomi dunia. Inilah ciri kebergantungan dunia global.

Yang boleh kita buat adalah mengurus sebaik mungkin kesan kejatuhan harga minyak mentah terhadap ekonomi kita. Inilah peranan kerajaan, sektor swasta dan rakyat jelata.

Dalam keadaan susah dan mencabar macam inilah kecekapan dan kewibawaan sesebuah kerajaan diuji dan ditentukan.

Kalau baik kerajaan, maka kuranglah kesan dan bebannya ke atas rakyat jelata. Kalau kita ikut konsep pemerintahan Barat yang berdasarkan pasaran bebas, tugas kerajaan sangat mudah iaitu bantu peniaga dan pengusaha dalam urusan mereka.

Berdasarkan kefahaman inilah maka hari ini kerajaan semakin tidak terlibat dalam urusan ekonomi dan perdagangan sebaliknya diserahkan bulat-bulat kepada sektor swasta.

Malangnya, matlamat sektor swasta adalah buat keuntungan dan bukan kebajikan. Kebajikan adalah tanggungjawab kerajaan.

Kebajikan semua rakyat jelata

Tapi kalau kita ambil konsep Islam, tugas kerajaan atau pemerintah lebih besar dan lebih mulia daripada itu. Tugas kerajaan adalah menjaga kebajikan semua rakyat jelata, khususnya yang memerlukan bantuan.

Kita kena akui bahawa dalam keadaan ekonomi yang lembap macam sekarang inilah golongan miskin paling memerlukan campur tangan kerajaan.

Ironinya banyak kerajaan dan pemerintah abaikan tanggungjawab kebajikan dalam usaha mereka tangani krisis ekonomi. Mereka lebih utamakan isu cukai dan mata wang daripada kebajikan rakyat jelata.

Kita ambil contoh negara Greece yang orang dulu-dulu panggil Yunani.

Akibat rakyat jelata silap pilih kerajaan atau tak ambil peduli hal politik, mereka hari ini menderita. Negara muflis dan yang terpaksa tanggung beban kesalahan kerajaan adalah rakyat jelata.

Kerajaan yang hambar dan ahli politik yang korup sekadar kalah dalam pilihan raya tapi yang menderita tinggal sehelai sepinggang adalah rakyat jelata Greece.

Duit pencen pun hilang. Apa yang berlaku di Greece sekarang dah lama berlaku kepada banyak negara lain di Afrika, Amerika Selatan dan Asia.

Negara muflis, rakyat menderita tapi ahli politik yang jahanamkan negara hidup bebas dan senang. Kunta Kinte tak mahu memandai-mandai.

Memadailah kalau Kunta Kinte kata, sekiranya kita tak ambil peduli hal politik, pemerintahan dan ekonomi, janganlah salahkan sesiapa kalau kita jadi macam Greece atau Zimbabwe.

Kita wajib berusaha dan ambil tahu. Doa dan sungutan saja tak cukup. Kita kena masuk campur demi diri kita dan anak cucu kita.

Bagi kebanyakan kita, inilah bumi tempat hidup dan mati kita. Kita tak mampu dan tak berhasrat nak lari ke mana-mana. Wallahuaklam.