KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chief Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor, 65, has been a career politician, making his debut in 1990 when he won the Sulaman seat on an Usno ticket.
Hajiji was among the younger breed of Sabah Muslim leaders picked by Usno founder, the late Tun Mustapha Harun, to rejuvenate the party, which was then an Opposition to the Parti Bersatu Sabah government led by Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
Usno dissolved in 1991 to allow its members to join Umno en bloc.
He served in the Sabah Barisan Nasional state government in 1994 as an assistant minister of Youth and Sports and then in the Industrial Development and Finance ministries.
He was then appointed as the state Local Government and Housing minister when Tan Sri Musa Aman became chief minister in 2004.
However, after Sabah Barisan lost in 2018, Hajiji led an exodus of leaders from Sabah Umno to join Bersatu that extended its wings to the state last April.
Before he made waves in Sabah’s political scene, Hajiji was a familiar voice on the local airwaves where he was an announcer with RTM in 1976.
Hajiji grew up in Kampung Serusop, Tuaran, where his family was made up of farmers and fishermen.
The second of three siblings, he was known to be a talented orator in school and earned top marks in his MCE (Malaysian Certificate of Education) examination in 1973.
He left his job at RTM to become an assistant development officer at the Tuaran District Office in 1977.
He was offered a state scholarship to further his studies at New Hampshire College in the United States and returned with a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Economic Development and Human Services.
Upon his return, he served as a Customs enforcement officer from 1986 to 1990 before becoming Sulaman’s representative in the state assembly.
Known to be a soft-spoken man, Hajiji has represented Sulaman for a total of eight terms.
He was also political secretary to former deputy prime minister the late Tun Ghafar Baba.
Following Gabungan Rakyat Sabah’s win in the recent state election, the parties in the loose coalition made up of Barisan Nasional, Perikatan Nasional and Parti Bersatu Sabah agreed to name him as their choice for the chief minister’s post.
Hajiji is expected to be sworn in today.
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