Legacy of a statesman: (From left) Andaya, Barbara, Tawfik and Ooi showing copies of ‘Drifting into Politics’ in Singapore.
SINGAPORE: Former Umno MP Tawfik Ismail hopes to continue with some unfinished business involving his late father’s work as deputy prime minister, including matters pertaining to the review of the Malaysia agreement with Sabah and Sarawak.
He said his father, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, the country’s second deputy prime minister, was appointed to head the review committee 10 years after the formation of Malaysia in 1963 by then prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.
“However, my father passed away in 1973 and everything went silent. The review is necessary including the need to address the issues of producing identity cards when entering Sabah and Sarawak, barring of politicians from the peninsula who are also Malaysians and the sharing of national resources, among others,” he said.
Tawfik was speaking at the launch of his father’s third book Drifting into Politics: The Unfinished Memoirs of Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman at the Institute of South East Asian Studies (Iseas)-Yusof Ishak Institute here on Monday.
Besides launching the book, Tawfik was also a panellist at a seminar along with academics Leonard Y. Andaya and his wife Barbara W. Andaya and Iseas deputy director Ooi Kee Beng.
He said the other issues that needed to be reviewed included the role of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim).
“According to the Constitution, it is under the purview of the Malay Rulers and the respective states and not the Federal Government’s duty.
“My father would have also wanted a more united Malaysia with regards to racial unity and would be sad about what is happening in the country now.
“The social contract among the various races is our Constitution. Everything is stated there by our founding fathers,” he said, adding that there were many misinterpretations.
He hoped that the three books published about his father would be a source of information on what happened before Merdeka and the formation of Malaysia.