Tun Abdul Razak: A man of the rakyat


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 14 Jan 2016

The Prime Minister in reminiscent mood at the Japanese-style courtyard at the memorial.

The Tun Abdul Razak Memorial, built at his former official residence, shows he was a down-to-earth man.

TUN Abdul Razak Hussein grew vegetables to relax, and even did some poultry rearing.

“He was a keen golfer, but he also loved to grow things, and he had a green thumb. What he planted, grew,” said a curator of the Tun Razak Memorial, which used to be Sri Taman, his official residence.

The house is being kept as much as possible in the state it was in when the Tun lived there with his family. Even a golf cart that he used is still intact, along with the books in his study.

The two-storey house features a Californian-style design and has a Japanese courtyard. But, for all that, it was not ostentatious.

Tun Razak did not want a swimming pool built despite the pleading of his five children, said the curator, Mahani Mohammad.

“It was too expensive, and Tun was concerned about what the rakyat would think ... the people were always on his mind,” Mahani said.

The son examines his father’s diaries, which contain notes on the Red Book development policy for which Tun Razak is famous.
The son examines his father’s diaries, which contain notes on the Red Book development policy for which Tun Razak is famous.

“Actually if you go through the house you will realise that he was a down-to-earth man. He loved his children, but he did not believe in pampering them.”

Sons Najib, Johari, Mohamed Nizam, Mohamed Nazim and Mohamed Nazir each had a room with a bed, a wardrobe and a desk. There was no bathroom attached.

Mahani said the master bedroom showed that Tun Razak, who was Prime Minister from 1970 to 1976, was a considerate husband.

There was a side door to the room which he would use if he came home late from work or an official function so as not to disturb his wife, Tun Rahah Mohammad Noah.

Sri Taman, which is in the Lake Gardens area, covers 1,200sq m.

The exhibition halls contain some 1,650 items arranged according to various categories, including biography, personalia, politics and education.

Holding pride of place is the Red Book, which laid down in detail the policy of development for which Tun Razak is famous.

For his achievements in raising the nation, he is known as “Bapa Pembangunan” (Father of Development).

The Memorial holds 1,650 items in its exhibition halls. It was Tun Razak’s official residence, Sri Taman, from 1962. — Photos: Bernama
The Memorial holds 1,650 items in its exhibition halls. It was Tun Razak’s official residence, Sri Taman, from 1962. — Photos: Bernama

For Tun Razak, “Development means, first and foremost, a change. A change of attitude and a change of mind. The Government can open up roads, provide healthcare services, water supplies, amongst other daily needs.

“We will do this to our fullest extent with our own resources, but it must be remembered that the pace of progress of any nation in its development, is the pace of progress of each son of the soil.

“Progress and the destiny of the nation is in the hands of the people and I ask each one of you to resolve and to give your best towards the progress of Malaya.

“At the end of the day this is our country, our home,” he said.

Tun Razak was not yet prime minister and Malaysia had not been formed when he said this in May 1960.

But this was the unshakable belief that sustained him to the end of his days. – Bernama

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