AN online retirement ceremony held on Sept 1 in honour of SMK Mantin principal Zahari Long (pic) saw an outpouring of well wishes from various parties.
Among them was Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin, who sent a message wishing Zahari a happy retirement, according to a statement from the school.
At the ceremony, Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun and state legislative assembly speaker Datuk Zulkefly Mohamad Omar thanked Zahari for his outstanding performance in the education field, as well as his role in elevating the school’s name in both academics and sports.
Education Ministry’s Examinations Syndicate director Datuk Pkharuddin Ghazali, who is Zahari’s former superior, commended the outgoing principal for being “a very dedicated and responsible leader who always shares his experience and knowledge with others”.
Another former superior Universiti Sultan Azlan Shah vice-chancellor Tan Sri Dr Nordin Kardi noted that Zahari is a capable leader who earned respect from his colleagues and believes that being trustworthy in discharging his responsibilities is the main pillar to achieving his leadership goals, the statement read.
In his speech, Zahari, 60, reminded the school’s teachers and staff members to equip themselves with knowledge, skills, good attitude and maturity to achieve their goals.
The key to success is to work hard; as the saying goes, “No pain, no gain”, he said.
“Tasks and duties in our job descriptions are not a burden; they are our responsibilities which will be handed over to other people when we retire,” he added.
Born in Melaka, Zahari obtained his degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) at Universiti Pertanian Malaysia before following in his parents’ footsteps to be a teacher. Since 1984, he had served in various capacities in several schools in Negri Sembilan.
He was appointed to the role of principal at SMK Senaling in 2018 before taking on the helm at SMK Mantin in 2020.
From 1996 to 2012, he had also held positions outside of the schools he was serving. Among the roles he had assumed were those of Negri Sembilan National Civics Bureau director, Putrajaya National Civics Bureau community development branch director, and Putrajaya Public Organisation acting branch director, among others.
Zahari’s life principle is, according to his own words, “reaching out, building the nation by first building its human capital”.
Due to his excellence in service throughout his 37 years in the education field, Zahari had received the Excellent Service Award six times – in 1995, 1998, 2004, 2007, 2015 and 2020.
In 2003, Zahari was bestowed the Pingat Ahli Setia Negri Sembilan.
Post-retirement, Zahari plans to deepen his religious knowledge and be actively involved in non-governmental organisations.
He is married to Saudah Alias with six children.
Also in attendance at the retirement ceremony were members of the school community, other school principals, and representatives from SMK Mantin Alumni Association and Parent-Teacher Association, and Seremban and Negri Sembilan Education Departments.