Distinguished gentleman who led a simple life

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 30 Jul 2013

PETALING JAYA: Hussain Ahmad Najadi used to live in a posh bungalow in the Jalan Ampang area, but gave it up for a condominium that was within a 15-minute walk from his office at Menara Haw Par.

“At my age, I feel much safer living there,” he told The Star in an interview on April 2 to promote his autobiography, The Sea and The Hills.

It was released in March by publish-on-demand agency Xlibris.

According to him, his autobiography was about fostering better understanding between countries and civilisations.

“Malaysians still misunderstand the Arab world, and whatever they know about it usually comes from Hollywood movies and other Western perspectives of the Middle East,” said the soft-spoken man, who came across as incredibly humble, given all his achievements.

Najadi actually walked to work on most days, but if he had to drive to meet clients, he relied on a hybrid vehicle, which was his way of minimising his impact on the environment.

He was extremely well-read, and a typical work day would see him reading at least 20 international, regional and local publications, including The Star.

And despite having a personal assistant, he still wrote his own e-mails, and was comfortable enough to print his handphone number on his name card.

Fluent in five languages (English, Arabic, Farsi, German, French), an Arab gentleman could not possibly have been more sophisticated than Najadi.

Despite his age, he had flown to the Middle East regularly to meet clients in his capacity as specialist in cross-border corporate finance.

For much of his decades-long career in finance, Najadi had facilitated much trade between South-East Asia (Malaysia and Singapore, in particular) and the Middle East.

Najadi’s company, Arab Investments for Asia Kuwait Ltd (AIAK), had more than 30 years of investment banking history in Malaysia, the Middle East, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

During the interview that took place in his simple and unassuming office, Najadi also revealed that his next book would be titled Decline of the West: The Enemy Within.

“It would tell the story on how the West slipped into decline, like the way the Roman empire disintegrated, through their own self indulgence,” he had said.

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