Friday, October 3, 2008
Yab Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Hj Abdul Razak
Home Biography Yab Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Hj Abdul Razak
Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia
The lifelong dream of Malaysia’s 9th Deputy Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Hj Abd Razak, is a united, peaceful and prosperous Malaysia, with abundant opportunities for all citizens.
As the son of Malaysia’s second Prime Minister, the late Tun Abd Razak, Najib was born into Malaysian politics. Najib grew up watching his father and knew the demands of mainstream politics, and he always knew that at some point in his life he wanted to serve his community and country. But the untimely passing of his father on January 14th, 1976, at the age of 54, suddenly thrust Najib into the spotlight. Five weeks after his father’s passing, Najib, at the age of 22, was elected to fill the Pekan vacancy, becoming the youngest Member of Parliament in Malaysia’s history. In 2004 he ascended to the second-highest office in the nation, Deputy Prime Minister, 47 years after his father’s appointment to the same post.
Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib was born on July 23rd 1953 in Kuala Lipis, Pahang. He was educated at St. John’s Institution in Kuala Lumpur and Malvern Boy’s College in Worcestershire, England before earning a degree in Industrial Economics from Nottingham University. Returning to Malaysia in 1974, he entered the corporate world, serving briefly in Bank Negara (Central Bank) and later with PETRONAS (the national petroleum corporation) as a Public Affairs Manager. But the untimely death of Tun Abd Razak dramatically altered the course of his life.
Najib quickly adapted to public life as a Member of Parliament, and soon found that the art of politics came naturally to him. Within a short time, the young Najib showed that he was a credible and capable politician and a leader in his own right. In his first year as an MP he was appointed Deputy Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Posts, and later served as Deputy Minister of Education and Deputy Minister of Finance. In 1982 the nation’s new Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, placed Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib to contest the State Assembly seat of Pekan. Following Najib’s election victory, the 29-year-old Najib became the Menteri Besar of Pahang, the biggest state in Peninsular Malaysia. Pahang was at the time on the verge of a political crisis due to serious differences between the previous MB and the Sultan of Pahang. But Najib was not only a rising political star, he was one of the Four Noblemen of the Pahang Royal Court (by virtue of his inherited title as the Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar) and he was warmly welcomed by the palace. The crisis quickly abated, ensuring the unity of Pahang UMNO whilst Najib embarked upon measures to strengthen education in the state. In 1982 Najib played a key role in establishing Yayasan Pahang, a foundation dedicated to promoting education and sports among the youth of Pahang through scholarships and funding. Najib strengthened state enterprises to maximize earnings from Pahang’s abundant natural resources. In cooperation with FELDA, the Federal Land Development Authority, he paved the way for the establishment of new land settlement schemes, 2 providing new income opportunities for those who were landless and in the lower income group.
Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib became the deputy chief of UMNO Youth in 1982, and assumed the top job in the organization in 1987. In 1988, after a struggle for control of the party, a newly reconstituted UMNO came into being and Najib was appointed as Youth Chief, a post he held until 1993.
In the 1986 general elections Najib was returned as the Member of Parliament for Pekan, and was appointed as Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports. He immediately focused on improving Malaysian sports and introduced the National Sports Policy in 1988. In 1989 Malaysia achieved its best-ever performance at the South East Asia (SEA) Games, which were held that year in Kuala Lumpur.
In 1991, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib was appointed Minister of Defence. Najib revitalized a Ministry that was seen as lethargic and listless, and modernized the Malaysian Armed Forces through strategic capability enhancement, procurements and exercises. In 1995, Dato’ Sri Najib had a change in cabinet portfolio and was appointed Minister of Education. His challenge was to respond to Malaysia’s newly proclaimed aspiration to become a fully developed nation by the year 2020. During his five-year tenure, Najib put into place the mechanisms that would enable a generation of Malaysians to meet the challenges of the future. He restructured the Ministry, corporatized the public universities, and encouraged collaboration with foreign universities and institutions. This provided more educational opportunities for Malaysians and positioned Malaysia as a regional learning hub. Dato’ Sri Najib also upgraded teaching certificates to the status of diplomas, so that teachers in that category would receive a higher monthly starting salary.
In 1999, following the political turmoil of the year before, Najib won re-election to his Pekan Parliamentary seat. He was then appointed as Minister of Defence for the second time and resumed his efforts to improve and modernize the Malaysian Armed Forces. Upon his appointment in 2004 as Deputy Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Najib was given a broad portfolio of responsibilities, including oversight of FELDA, the Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), and the Election Commission. He also chairs more than 28 Cabinet Committees which preside over a wide range of issues. Dato’ Sri Najib is married to YABhg Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, and is the proud father of five children.