Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Where were you and what were you doing when Tun Razak's body was brought back from London?

The American have a favourite question for social conversation: Where were you and what were you doing when Kennedy got shot? It shows the Americans great sense of their history and how much they endeared the Kennedy in the past.

For us Malaysians, we should be asking that same question but instead, the event is the return of Tun Razak's body from London.

At that moment, the whole country was glued to the television upon the announcement of his death on January 14, 1976 by then Deputy Tun Hussein Onn.

Everyone was rushing to pay their last respect to a great leader that wash away evil from bitter experiance of May 13, 1969. Miles of people queued at parliament.

Attention was on the return of the body by MAS, procession from Parliament to Masjid Negara, and the burial at the Makam Pahlawan next to the grave of his earlier Deputy, Tun Dr Ismail Abd Rahman.

Tun Dr Ismail died two years five months earlier on August 2, 1973 [read here].

Khairy claimed he remembered his family was in grief and waited at Kuwait airport for the plane bringing back the body home stopped over in Kuwait?

He must be really gifted person to be aware of his family's grief in January 1976 when he was just born days before. [Read Wikipedia here].

No issue for us that anyone wish to express their appreciation for Tun Razak in whatever form. It is only an issue when his memory was manipulated to propel a mediocre leader. [Read our past posting in 2007 here , here and here]

We were at ... 

At the time, we were in a MRSM boarding school in Seremban and just completed our LCE as they called it for English medium SRP.

Prep hours start at around 8:00 PM and no TV was allowed so we may have not witness Tun Hussein crying on television when making the announcement. Or perhaps news program was allowed to be seen but we missed it.

By the time prep was on-going, words were spreading of his death. We didn't get much studying done that night and everyone and the teachers were spending time talking about Tun Razak and how much has he done.

In 1976, May 13 1969 was still fresh in the mind of many of the boys from Kuala Lumpur, especially those residing in Kg Baru and Kampong Pandan.

Even at 16, we were very much aware of Tun Razak and his commitment to developed the country and help out the economically trailing Bumiputera community.

The very existense of MRSM and MARA had the mind and heart of Tun Razak. Young MCOBA and Director in Mara, Encik Wahab Alwi was assigned to develop MRSM, IKM, Giat Mara, and many other educational and training institutions under MARA

MARA had so much relevant to our life. Our family used to live in a small rumah murah pasang siap kayu MARA that only cost RM2,000 then. MARA gave us RM15 a month pocket money at MRSM.

Father's half brother joined another Tun Razak social engineering work at Felda in Air Hitam, Johor.

It is still fresh in our mind of their conversation in front of a pelita at my uncle's Felda home. There was no electricity yet. We were there to pay respect and seek his blessing before enrolling into MRSM.

Father and his half brother talked on the benefit of joining the Felda scheme and what his younger brother did. He was satisfied that his brother had finally made a life for himself. That uncle today drives in a Mercedes albeit an older model.

At one time, father saved his three half brothers out of the clutches of their stepfather and personally raised them till grandmother accepted the sons of her madu into her home.

There was opportunities and assistance opening up for our smallholder farmer-families back in kampong, Cikgu-Cikgu uncles and aunties, and many others.

Efforts after efforts by Government reported in the media could be heard launching and implementing projects as part of Tun Razak's drive for rural development, eradication of poverty, social justice and nation building.

It made us take development for granted and as a must without realising that almost any other program and effort in this country has Tun Razak's touch.

Body arrived ...

After prep and about time for sleep, one of our friend was busy packing up to get ready ready for his parents. They are coming from nearby Lake Garden Seremban home to fetch him to go to Kuala Lumpur that night itself.

He was a close relative of Tun Razak from his Pahang mother side. The father's side is related to Dato Harun and many other Selangor leaders. In case, someone question why he managed to get enrolled into MRSM, his father was not rich and merely a government officer.

By the time the body arrived on the good ole MAS, the whole school was glued to the television. The airline is another of Tun Razak's work for the social reason to bridge East and West Malaysia. We are fighting hard to defend it's continual existence and strategic role in nation building.

There was that the packed crowd of people from all walks of life and races awaiting and crying as the body was lowered out of the plane. Toh Puan Rahah and the family walked out from the plane.

The body laid in a state of rest at Parliament and there was a procession to bring the body to Masjid Negara.

At the burial, we could see our hostel friend on television at Makam Pahlawan together with the rest of Tun Razak's family and friends together with the nation's leaders of the time. All of us were excited to see our classmate came out on television.

There was no tears flowing from us because we didn't know how much it meant. But we were just stunt by the loss of this great man and leader. If it happened today, we would have shed our tears  openly.

Sacrifice of great leaders

Tun Razak made a great sacrifice by any man for his people and nation.

The more reason now that is known that he preferred to keep his terminal leukemia disease a secret to enable himself to accomplish as much work as possible than languish in bed.

Read about this selfless leader in Bigdog's article published on the NST here in KL Chronicles.

We had known of the story of Tun Razak's secret illness that led to his death from Tengku Razaleigh and his boys. There was no conspiracy as some opposition blogger wrote. 

It was the movie Tanda Putera that made us realised and appreciated it more. It was made more significance by another sad and touching fact.

Before Tun Razak was to go for the CHOGM conference in Ottawa Canada, Tun Dr Ismail needed to inform him of his ailing heart condition and that he needed immediate surgery. At the same time, his wife Toh Puan Norashikin was also due to undergo an operation.

It turned out that Tun Razak was first to confide and inform Tun Dr Ismail of his own leukemia condition.

Tun Razak said he does not have much time and need to clear up as much work as possible and seek Tun Dr Ismail to help and support him. He insist he keep his disease a secret from everyone, including his wife and family.

Toh Puan "Neno" went through her surgery while Tun Razak was away. It was also during that same time that Tun Dr Ismail had a heart attack at home and died immediately. He left at a time Tun Razak needed him most.

Our University mate and Tun Dr Ismail's son, Tarmizi was the one witnessing his father's last moment.

Tanda Putera

These moments was well displayed in the movie Tanda Putera that finally will find some breathing space for public viewing after the ridiculous political insecurity of Lim Kit Siang, and Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon and the vindictive Dato Dr Rais Yatim.

By cancelling the dates twice and losing the promotional momentum twice despite it being fit for viewing, it still didn't save Barisan Nasional from the near absolute Chinese political boycott.

For that matter, Koh Tsu Koon himself could have voted for DAP.

After working and spending so much for the viewing meant for September 2012 and again for Novermber 15, Tanda Putera release was postphoned for political expediancy.

That does not auger well for program already put in place by FINAS to develop and promote the local movie industry with such indiscriminate interventions.

It made a mockery of the Prime Minister's commitment to develop the creative industry under the purview of the Ministry of Information, Multimedia and Communications and policy of self censorship by Home Ministry..

Tanda Putera was finally launched yesterday evening at GSC, Garden next to Megamall. After the viewing and during the PC compered FOC by Dato Mahadzir Lokman, Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba lashed out her frustration.

If only some member of the entertainment press had been more intelligent in their questions, the message of Tanda Putera is not about racism or Malay supremacy or stereotyping the Chinese but about the greatness of two leaders that we had and worthy to be emulated by other leaders.

That is the message that need to be expanded and promoted instead of asking questions with intentions to probe and make into an issue on the film re-editing to fulfill the political masters.

From someone, who saw the movie thrice through various channels of opportunities, believe us that there was hardly much re-editing but merely retouching that made it better.

The racial slurs actually happened during May 13 incidents was still there.

The pissing at Menteri Besar's residence flagpole was there but there was no Lim Kit Siang. There was never in the first place

And there was incidents of Chinese killing Malays, Malay killing Chinese, Malay helping Chinese and Chinese helping Malays. There were humans behaving like animals and human still with some sense of humanity.

The message the entertainment media should understand is that the 15 minutes backdrop on May 13 was to to tell the public that it was a really bad moment in our history. and it was a cliff hanging situation the two leaders had to face up too.

The excuse to rebut using the argument to raise the spectre of May 13 for political gain should never be used whenever May 13 is mentioned. It was a bad and defining moment in our history that should seriously not repeat again and be reminded.

By the development of current event, it could recur if senses does not prevail and power craze is making everybody lose any sense of rationality.


Shumi must have put her foot down to insist that "No way Jose" will anyone interfere in a work which bears her name. Finas and Rais can say and threaten whatever but it is the director with the name on is the one having IP ownership. 

Must be one fiesty women to stand up against the manipulative Rais. It must be for her love and appreciation for Tun Razak. The great Tun gave her family a better life; able to improve from a small home to a more comfortable inhabitant.

The media should help the gallant effort of Shumi and her team to ensure as much Malaysian, supporters and critics, come to see before talking and commenting about the movie and made a mess of her work.

More corporation must come forward to contribute and encourage school children to come and see the movie and learn what great effort and sacrifice our past leader had done. It is the sacrifice of such "hero" that made the nation what it is today.

It help to encourage production of historical and intellectual content film. Too much silly love stories and action movies can be stunting on the public mind.

And today's leaders, including Tun Razak's son, Dato Najib, could learn from the significance of this momentous event.


Special tribute must be given to the cast because the characters played are not easy to emulate.

Actor Rusdi Ramli was Tun Abdul Razak.

He made it known of the burden in acting the Tun Razak character as he realised the Prime Minister will be watching this movie about his father. He was only convinced that he could do it after balding his hair and realised he could emulate Tun Razak.

The lovely actress Faezah Elai was young Toh Puan Rahah, who was only made known of her husband's terminal disease in London at his death bed.

It was not easy to play out the character of a supportive wife of a leader and someone who was put in position to remain strong for the children so that Tun Razak was not be distracted by the family for his illness from continuing his work..

Actor Zizan Nin looked twenty years more than his age to play Tun Dr Ismail, whose parent's home was near one of our Johor Bar home. We shifted a lot from one rented home to another.

There was not much past clipping of Tun Dr Ismail for Zizan to work on.We believe he is destined for greatness.

Actress Linda Hashim was awesome in her depiction of the mother of six Toh Puan Norashikin. She is awesomely beautiful in person too.

There is also the friendly Kavita Sidhu as University Malaya's English tutor Kara. She kept appearing in the background at every defining moment of event but the lovely Kavita is no Forest Gump.

From 29th onward, take all your family member to the theater near you and watch Tanda Putera. Make the movie a success so that more will know the truth about May 13 then be deceived by imposters referring to foreign sources claiming to be an expert on May 13 event.

The international media and foreign embassy personnel were then kept at bay and cooped inside observing curfew like everyone else. Dr Kua Kia Soong was an absolute liar but Pak Lah administration's spinmaster Dato Kalimullah allowed the lies to prevail,  

By making the movie a success and promoting it's message, it can subtlely tell all our leaders, ruling or opposition, that to be leaders, one must be responsible in one's actions, dedicated and commited in their work, and finally, willing to sacrifice for the sake of the people and nation.

Congratulation to Shumi... don't give up on historical movies. Here is McCartney for you:

* Updated 22/8/2013 2:30 PM


Abdul Rahman said...

Correction,Allahyarham Tun Dr Ismail died almost 2 1/2 years earlier,i.e.2 August 1973.I myself cannot forget the date as I was the recipient of Aminuddin Baki educational award from Tun himself at Dewan Kelab Sulaiman,Kampung Bharu.The event lasted until 6pm and at 10pm I was awakened from my sleep at Asrama Doktor Latif Jalan Keramat to be ferried to Tun's house.The award program organised by GPMS was Tun's last official program.I was at the tahlil that night among dignatories. The next morning I boarded the train to Ipoh after the 2 weeks school holidays.This proud Muar boy the top achiever for MCE 1972 was to continue his Lower Six school term at STAR,Ipoh.Though Tun's son Taufik is familiar with me I never had the opportunity of sharing the historical moments of 2 August 1973 with him.I last bump into him while having lunch at RSGC befare last Ramadan.We were in different companies.May be I should share my moments with his late father the next time we meet.Taufik is such a warm character.

Anonymous said...

kNo correction required on Tun Dr Ismail's death. The writer wrote it as 2August 1973.
We should all see Tanda Putera. Zizan Nin appears very much like Tun Dr Ismail.

sri hartamas

Abdul Rahman said...

As a necessary addition,when Tun Razak died in January 1976 I was already in Worthing,Sussex,UK doing my ACCA.I heard of the news of his death when I was at the Malaysia Hall in Bryanston Square on 14 January 1976.I remember that evening the mood at Malaysia Hall was sombre as friends pass the message to one another.Al-Fatihah to both our leaders,our parents and loved ones who precede us.

Anonymous said...

19It a waste of Suhaimi Baba time. Do you think the so called 3 Million aka 3 Juta UMNO member will take their families to the theater to watch Tanda Putra? 10% pun belum tentu. If the 3 million UMNO member is nationalist UMNO wont be at the lowest level now. RIP UMNO unless there a change in their hearth especially Mr Najib

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a beautiful well written article in memory of 2 great men. And i love silly love song. Tun Razak and Tun Dr. Ismail , the peoples' hero - Majestic malaysian leaders. Malaysians , dont fear May 13th 1969, its our history and it gave us our present. Many of us and our families are products of Tun Razak's affirmative action. We are proud to say that we will never forget where we come from.


A Voice said...

Joe Black

Stick to the subject. Comment rejected!

A Voice said...

sri hartamas

We corrected it when you came to read.

Anonymous said...

Tun Razak's NEP is seldom miscontrued by affirmative action.

NEP had a bigger agendas of eradiccation of poverty and restructuring society.

Affirmative action is only a small part of restruturing process but often overly highlighted.

It is in this two NEP agenda that it is Tun Razak's approach at achieving social justice.

Alas his son does not appreciate the greatness in his father's ideal because of his myopic advisers.

The Eugenist said...


It was indeed a proud moment for me to have a photo of my grandfather, Allahyarham Dato' Seri Hj Hussien Yaacob, former Perak state Assembly for Selama taken with Allahyarham Tun Abdul Razak during the latter's visit to my grandfather's constituency.

And according to stories from my dad, the late Tun Razak was very close to my late grandfather and my grandfather often sent the best durian to the late Tun whenever he's in Perak.

The Tun even wanted my grandpa to contest for the Larut Parliamentary seat but my grandpa declined the offer. He's inability to communicate and write in English was the excuse given to the Tun.

Hesmel Faznee Faisal

Anonymous said...

I will come to KL to watch it.

Kudos to Suhaimi Baba...hope the present PM will come to his conscience watching the he his father's son?

And if Tanda Putera can be would be damn great if Suhaimi do a film on the first racial riot in Singapore 1964?

Of course the younger generation of Singaporean Malays would want to know the "real version" not the PAP version.

Zakhir Mohamed said...

I was at Subang Airport and I personally witnessed the Jalur Gemilang drapped casket carrying the remains of Tun Abdul Razak Hussein being taken off the MAS B707, lowered by the catering lift and carried across the tarmac into the hearse

I was eight years old and my father was sobbing like a child whose pet just died

Anonymous said...

Yes. My family n I n many of us r proud products of tuns affirmatve action n we declare we will never forget.

attila said...

I remember my Indian dad, who was a mid-level govt servant, and my Malay neighbours gathered in front of our Grundig tv in our kg pandan govt quarters house all wiping their eyes. It was the first time I saw my father openly cry. He would also speak glowingly of tun ismail.
Sadly, I was a stupid 12 yr old then wth a crush on Donny Osmond, so didn't pay attention to history.

Anonymous said...

I was getting ready to go school. Then my neighbor (a teacher) told me that the school is closed because Tun Razak meninggal. From that onwards, me and family were glued to tv whole day.
Me and nangoi-nangoi will watch the movie.

Anonymous said...

i was a student in um and had an extra day of no lectures !

can't remember much of those woozy years (if u know what i mean). uni was already 'transformed' by the infamous akta universiti of 74...and i think it never ever recovered the heights of experiential education.

today hmm tak tahu lah...i assume it became a place for political wannabes and ass-lickers. you tak support just become a tired old lecturer.

so i guess from the perspective of university activism, that fateful day was was just another day of spin down the long tube...

bryan said...

The Nat Geo documentary " A leader's Legacy- Tun Abdul Razak " should be the must watch documentary to know the great man more.
A very moving tribute to a great statesman,arguably best PM so far.
even Najib was in tears as he said "my father passed away in the service of the nation, there can be no other service greater than that".
All the great and sad moments, may 13 ,launching of NEP , relationship with the Tunku A. Rahman.and tributes from TDM, KU LI. Musa hitam etc etc.
My favourite was when the nation and races were united by his China moment.

Anonymous said...


Pity you are still stuck in Anwar's mediocre rebel mind of 74.

Should wake up coz he is not genuine but a political fake and opportunist

Anonymous said...

Assalammualaikum wbt Dear Voice,

Najib is NO Tun Razak.........


A Friend of Penarik Beca

Anonymous said...

dear anonymous 8:27 am.

pity you should make that comment.

we knew anwar was a fake since pbmum days - there ARE people who have seen this coming in those days too. i am one of them.

read my comments properly - i was referring to the experiential learning that is missing from today's kids.

and stop trolling. stick to abitw's points in the blog.


Unknown said...

The late Tun and his wife. Tun Raha were like family as my late father also hailed form Pekan, Pahang. So we visited (the whole gerabak or just my abah and me) both Seri Perdana (near Masjid Negara) or his cousins and relatives in Cabinet the late (Tan Sri Hamzah, Tan Sri Ghaz and Dato shariff Ahmad). They always welcomed us with no security hassles or appointment (unlike today!) I remember someone giving me the riot act look when I was at the gates of their house near the Indian Embassy, for an official reason!
TUN was indeed my hero and I my family and I owed so many things to him so much so it took me a long time to get over his passing!
Tun Raha has remained close.
I still visit Pekan whenever I can. When my aunt died in July some years ago the `van Jenazah' of Yasyasan Tun Raha gave her the final ride. I thought about the initial stage of its formation. I had wanted to offer the little piece of land I had but as it was little nothing came out of it!
Nobody can emulate these magnificent and humble couple such a far cry for the PMs couple thereafter.
My only wonder, did Tun ever regretted picking Mahathir into UMNO again and as his Deputy!
We have now moved on and forward but on some planes we have gone Backwards, we Malays!

Anonymous said...

I was in standard 3 when Tun passed away..I remember my uncle talking abt his untimely demise in London.

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