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RIP: Abdul Razak Ahmad August 12, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Democracy, History, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics, Race Relations, RIP, Southeast Asia.

“Young members of the Bar may not know of the struggles that Razak Ahmad has been through, fighting for what he believes in.

There are a number of things that I respect about Razak. Years ago, he could have easily joined the ruling party, and become a Minister at least. There were, I believe, more than a few opportunities in which he could have crossed over to the “winning side”.

He chose not to. He clung on to his convictions.

I once asked him whether it had occurred to him to try to make changes from within the system. He replied that, under our system, that would not be possible.

What would probably happen is that one then becomes part of the system that creates the problems; and he does not want to become that.

It is easy to proclaim to hold on to principles. It is difficult to continuously do so knowing full well what one is giving up.

Razak passed the test, many times over.”

(Yeo Yang Poh, former President of the Malaysian Bar, 25 June 2007)



1. monsterball - August 12, 2007

Yes…..Like from the commercial side…many shunt away from politics…holding dear to principles in life more important to get rich… the easy ways.
I know many many true intelligent righteous lawyers also shut away from politics….but MCA seems to have alot of doctors as their members….and most doctors are bad in managing country affairs.
Have we not a living proof?

2. 12 Aug - WordPress PoliSci « oldephartteintraining - August 13, 2007

[…] RIP: Abdul Razak Ahmad […]

3. Sim - August 13, 2007

I was shock to hear the news, I just met him last week to discuss DSAI’s visit which unfortunately fell on the same day he passed away.

He is always someone i look up to as a student in JB. He is seen as a beacon or a man with principles in such a umno strong hold, johor.

RIP, he will always in our memories.

4. Jessy - August 13, 2007

I have never met Razak before, but always admired him for his beliefs and also in going all out to assist the poor. I convey my utmost condolences to his family and may his soul rest in peace.

In Razak, we had a true politician who was not there to enrich himself but to generally serve the public, something that we hardly find in the rest today.

5. elizabethwong - August 14, 2007

By M.G.G. Pillai – Sunday, June 15, 2003, 10:44 am

My old friend from Johore Bahru, the opposition politician, Mr Abdul Razak Ahmad, has decided to call it a day. A recurring back problem and the ravages of old age – the last time we met at a function at the Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Kuala Lumpur, we talked more of our infirmities as once we would of politics and the world; he is 60, and I four years older – forced him to take the course he did.

His importance in Johore politics is that he was there when the poor and the unconnected confronted the government, usually when it wanted to take their land, which happened to be in area where tens of millions of ringgit could be made. He was banished from Singapore for his activist role, as he was about to sit for his LL.B. final examination. That was never lifted. But it burnished his image more than Singapore would ever realise.

He is steadfast in his beliefs. That is a rare quality. Again, the news reports this morning did not do him justice. He is from Johore aristocracy, from one of 100 families who would provide a Sultan if the current line becomes extinct. His cousin is the UMNO stormy petrel, Dato’ Shahrir Samad.

It is for his steadfastness of purpose, against tremendous odds, for which his decision to retire will be greeted with concern. The news reports only mentioned the theatrics of individual actions, not the sense of purpose and concern for the underdog which has governed his life. He lives and breathes politics. His law firm in Johore Bahru has, more often than not, people driven to desperation because they knew no one, or if they did, asked too much, to help them resolve a problem with the authorities.

He would drop everything to settle it. I was once in Johore Bahru and was to meet him at his office for lunch. When I arrived, he was in the midst of listening to complaints of how the town council had brought bulldozers to flatten their dwellings on a site earmarked for a housing estate. Nothing else mattered to him then. We never did have lunch, but I spent a fascinating day with him as he tried to bring a glimmer of hope to that poor community.

His importance in Malaysian politics is that he was amongst the pitifully few who put their money where their mouths are, remained steadfast to the end, and retires a greater figure than hundreds of others who went on to greater things and slunk into anonymity when they retired.

In Johore, the state government would be careful not to get this gentle, soft-spoken warrior on to the warpath.

6. fuad - August 14, 2007

probably one of the best oposition MP we never had.

7. Libra - August 16, 2007

I met Razak in the early 70’s in JB and I was impressed with his soft and simple nature.
He was man of principles and such a man will never get himself sullied in UMNO politics.
There was a rumour then, that the then Menteri besar Tan Sri Othman Saat offerd him a post in the Ex-co if he would join UMNO.
Yes, he refused.
I hope his children will write a book about him.

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