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Sakmongkol ak 47

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Tun Razak’s Legacy

Tun Abdul Razak bin Dato Hussein

A leader's greatness can be measured by the longevity of his legacies. Many of Tun Razak's legacies are relevant even until now. No doubt they will endure long into the future.

The list of his enduring legacies is indeed impressive. PERNAS, MARA, PNB, PETRONAS and of course FELDA, BANK BUMIPUTERA, FAMA, FELCRA, UDA,MAS, LPP, UKM, the state SEDCs, BERNAMA, PUSAT ISLAM and many others. . These were undoubtedly the product of Tun Razak's attuned thinking about what were needed by Malays and Malaysia. Unless the issues of income disparities and poverty are solved, there will never be unity in Malaysia. Nothing more threatens the unity of the various races than widening income disparities.

I am sure; the various disabilities that constrained Malay society were uppermost in Tun Razak's mind. Certainly he wasn't oblivious to the differing maximising postulates of Malays. These postulates hold that the Malay has in him the same desire for success as other races such as the Chinese. The difference lies in the belief that the meaning of success to the Malays is different as that held by the Chinese. The Malay values graceful living more than making money as the prime motive. To the Malay, there is this trade-off between graceful living and making more money. The more money you make means you have to give up the opportunity to live out life gracefully.

In my mind, whether these postulates turned out as predicted or actually governed the economic behaviour of the Malay, is secondary. To Tun Razak the trade-off is a luxury of choice issue and because it is choice grounded on luxury, it is usually exercised as a matter of personal matter.

In other words, Tun Razak did not fully subscribe to the finitely predictive and confining properties of the maximising postulates. The maximising postulates would also hold as true, that Malays shun changes and innovation simply because they are more intent to preserve the old ways of their forebears. To Tun Razak, they do not.

More important to Tun Razak, was how to ensure, Malays get to the position of being able to exercise such a luxury of choice in the first place. And to arrive at that position, the more important issue to Tun Razak, was to increase the capacity of Malays to earn more. Herein, to my mind, lies the genius of Tun Razak. In particular, it lies in his stubborn refusal to cave in to constraining values. The crucial mission for Tun Razak, was to emancipate the Malays from mental servitude. It must begin with the Malay man himself.

Although I am not a FELDA settler not the product of FELDA parents, I would place the creation of FELDA settlements as the most important of the Tun Razak legacies. Even those pioneers who were given the opportunities to own land and work on them were not able to envisage the significance of FELDA. Indeed when Tun Razak went around enlisting volunteers to join FELDA, he encountered opposition. There were Malays opposing the idea, saying it was a communist inspired land resettlement. Or even worse, there were also accusations that FELDA was a modern version of enslavement.

FELDA encapsulates the singularly most important element in Tun Razak's thinking- that man is master over his self and environment. That within permissible limits, man sets out to accomplish what he sets out to do and in doing so, he must by necessity, unbound himself from his surroundings. His surroundings then represent surmountable limits and not limiting walls. To Tun Razak, if the man is incapable of becoming aware that he can overcome his constraints, he must be cultivated to do so.

That's the beauty of the idea behind FELDA. You transplant thousands of Malays from their traditional settings of idyllic villages and comforting limitations to new surroundings. You provide them with challenges that can only elicit the necessary responses. These came in the form of individualised attempts to overcome the new challenges. Whether its mastery over his physical surroundings or adjusting to new inter-personal relations. Malays from diverse backgrounds and social settings were forced to live together and therefore induced to make the necessary adjustments.

But the most important aspect of the idea behind FELDA was the liberating effects of the uprooting. For not only it disentangle Malays from traditions, but it also liberated them from the bitter world of myths and incapacitating legends. That to my mind was the most important element behind the idea of FELDA.

I can only speculate that Tun Razak was not unaware of Arnold Toynbee's A Study of History. He would have understood the idea behind mimesis or imitation. In particular, he would be aware by the direction taken by mimesis in differentiating a forward looking and backward looking society. In backward looking society, taken to be synonymous with less advanced society, mimesis or imitation takes the form of replicating what tradition decreed. Generally speaking, in societies where customs are overbearing, those societies remain static.

In forward looking society/progressive society, mimesis or imitation is directed towards creative personalities who embody the pioneering spirit. In such a society, as Walter Bagehot observed, the 'cake of custom' is always being broken and society is thus placed in dynamic motion along a course of change and growth. Since Tun Razak spent a number of years in England, he would have also been familiar with the thinking of Bagehot.

That is the other most important idea behind FELDA- imbibing the Malay with a pioneering spirit.

To Tun Razak, economic development of society is determined by at least three influences.

  1. The constraining effects of his environment on him and how that impinges or liberates him
  2. His willingness and ability to master and transform his environment.
  3. The attitudinal values bequeathed upon him by his forebears.

The idea of FELDA seeks out to minimise the limiting effects of physical surroundings. In their stead, the idea reinforces Tun Razak's belief that to change and progress was a doable thing by the Malays.


flyer168 21 May 2009 at 04:00  

Dato' Sak,

An interesting article which reminds me of the late Tan Sri Taib Hj Andak who was the "Implementer" of the FELDA Schemes.

He was my late father's contemporary at Lincoln's Inn Inner Temple doing Law in the early 40s.

As usual the original idea was great but after Tan Sri Taib Hj Andak left, the concept was mismanaged & abused by the Powers-that-be....

I would like to share these links with you....

Rural development and the state: contradictions and dilemmas in ... - Google Books Result
by David Alexander Maclure Lea, D. P. Chaudhri - 1983 - Social Science - 351 pages

These negative attributes of new settlement give site-office staff an ...

This is particularly relevant to FELDA schemes where so many activities are ... -
Impact Evaluation of World Bank Agriculture and Rural Development ...
outside of FELDA schemes or in other Bank-supported oil palm projects in other .... Positive features included stabilization of the rural population and ...

On the negative side, the status of women, and also to some degree of the ... - Similar pages -
by K McPhail - 1991


Anonymous,  21 May 2009 at 07:17  

Dt Sak,

Those establishment created to encourage malay participation in economic activities.personally i think they are great in their endevour a companies or GLC.The question is have they done enough o propagate malay businesses and enterprauner to establish.Does mentor and mentee program a success.Does vendor program work.


Hj Hadi kata, tak ade rasuah dlam pemilihan parti pas. Boleh percaya ke, masa dia memerintah terenganu, ade company melayu yang dia support kaya, sampai orang kata sampai anak cucu pun tak habis makan.bukan salahguna kuasa dan kroni ke tu.Mereka ni bukan main sombong lagi.teruk pada umno putras tau.Tidak ade langsung open tender dalam surat khabar masa tu.banyaknye proposal2 yang tiba2 jadi je tanpa rakyat jelata tahu pun.bagi saya itu sistem tertutup namanye.sebab tu dia kalah lepas 4 tahun memerintah.i memang tak percaya kalau rakyat terengganu boleh lupa ini semua

Unknown 21 May 2009 at 14:03  

Dato' Sak,

Maybe those who knows him well can tell us whether he ever did go around Sloganeering;

"People First"

"I am People's PM!"

"I only work for the People"

My impression was that Tun Razak was a rather quiet person who spent more time working than sloganeering...

Eyes Wide Open 21 May 2009 at 15:48  

"economic development of society is determined by at least three influences.

- The constraining effects of his environment on him and how that impinges or liberates him

- His willingness and ability to master and transform his environment.

- The attitudinal values bequeathed upon him by his forebears."

YES, Dato!

Can we reclaim the NEP to embody these values again, instead of the one we have now that have been hijacked to being merely a vehicle to award hyper-inflated contracts/monopolies to cronies, the cost of which is borne by the rakyat?

For the sake of all Malaysians, I hope so.

Anonymous,  21 May 2009 at 17:41  


This story is not complete on FELDA.

You missed out the Chinese and Indians and other non-Malays who also toiled the lands in FELDA schemes.

This is how, when history is not told completely, vital facts go missing forever.

And let me tell you also, its because of this refusal to admit, we now have FELDA settlers children only made up of Malays that are being sponsored by FELDA to undergo engineering training in the national airline.

This is a result of the refusal to acknowledge the participation of non-Malays in FELDA schemes.

If you can, do ask this question to the FELDA authorities - how come not even a single non-Malay has been selected for the engineering training with Malaysia Airlines?

This is how non-Malays get disillusioned at the way civil servants and those in the so-called government 'Lembagas' think and execute policies of the government.

Afetr 50 over years of independence this is the sad state of affairs by the people who champion for the 'ketuanan' spirit.

Do you have a remedy for this type of attitude?


ajoyly 21 May 2009 at 21:10  

It is important to remember that there are also other non Bumiputra Malaysians who are poor.They need help to improve their economic situation. Another consideration is to review the policy emplaced to make it more appropriate and relevant. So that all Malaysians will benefit irrespective of race. In the long run, the saying - it is better to teach ( Malaysians )how to fish will be the better alternative. As this will remove the syndrome of dependance on the government.

Anonymous,  21 May 2009 at 21:21  

Remember the Prosper programme introduced by Pak Lah...its like Felda except what the government provides are "shop lots" in prime areas for qualified Bumis to do business instead of land for cultivation.Wonder how it is working out?

There is also another very good scheme to assist the Bumis but generally misunderstood..Like Felda whereby the government provides the seeds,tools and other stuff for qualified Bumis to earn a decent living.Its what is generally known as the AP system.

we need more Felda ideas.

confuseus 21 May 2009 at 21:37  

Betul tu, Datuk.
I can further add that 2 legacy organisations that saved our economy during the bad times were Petronas (oil) and Felda (oil palm) but sadly these same legacies are being raped by their own offsprings and one is happening right in front of my eyes !!!

Dah tulis dan komplen macam
macam pun , orang tak paham....Sigh !!

Anonymous,  22 May 2009 at 00:37  

Anyone here remember PERCON? The company had a multi racial mgmt team.The objective was for the company to be the premier bumi construction company and the "payung" for small bumi enjoyed a lot of success in the early years and was a fountain of Bumi construction (engineers and supervisors) talents.I believe it was also established during Tun Razak's time.

But the company became a sitting duck for the naysayers (mainly Bumi)"privately owned companies" who went on to promote the Wibawa and direct nego concepts.

Today..not much is left of both except maybe lots of money in the bank for some.

Anonymous,  22 May 2009 at 09:27  

From the comments so far one glaring fact stares directly into one's face.

Good idea with VERY poor implementation!

Felda, Felcra, Percon, Pernas & even Petronas fall into this category.

Some might argue that Petronas is an exception. I would venture that Petronas is a hero created by a situation. It's fortunate that there were/r some passionate officers who could/can carry their duties despite the 'cash-cow' requests. In short, Petronas CAN do very much more & better! But not for very long now, until the oil deposit is gone.

The leader creates ideas & the followers bring those ideas to fruitions. Yet almost all of them r been hijacked along the process, to benefit a few selected war-lords!

WHY the poor implementation? Such glaring failures!

Quality of the people carrying out those ideas comes into mind. So who select those people? Based on what criteria r those been selected?

There r a lot of soul searching to be done. M'sia has lost 40+yrs of progress, crying out for doing this & that, while our competitors r streaming ahead at light speed.

Can we find a tychronic efforts, first - to right the wrong & second - to move on to play catch-ups & over-takes?

In a sense these r the true legacies of Razak.


Cikgu Ngah,  22 May 2009 at 12:39  

Assalamualaikum Dato'

Sewaktu Tun Razak meninggal dunia saya belum pun dilahirkan lagi. PM Malaysia yg saya kenal dan lalui zaman pemerintahannya hanyalah Tun Mahathir, Tun Dollah dan Dato' Najib kini. Oleh itu, apa saja yg saya tahu mengenai Tun Razak adalah semata-mata melalui pembacaan sahaja, ataupun cerita lisan yg diceritakan oleh orang2 tua kepada saya. Melalui sumber2 inilah, saya mengenali beliau dan mula mengagumi dan menghargai jasa dan sumbangannya kepada negara.

Saya pernah terbaca satu artikel oleh A. Samad Ismail mengenai Tun Razak. Tajuknya 'Tun Razak: The Peasant Aristocrat'. Daripada tulisan Pak Samad itu dptlah saya simpulkan bahawa Tun Razak bukanlah seorang pemimpin yg sukakan publisiti. Beliau tidak sukakan kepada publisiti murahan dan para wartawan begitu sukar untuk menulis cerita yg sensasi mengenai beliau. Beliau lebih suka bercerita mengenai rancangan pembangunan luar bandar, pembinaan sekolah, jalan, parit, tali air dan pembasmian kemiskinan daripada bercakap tentang perbincangan dua hala dgn Perdana Menteri Britain, demikian tulis Pak Samad. Betulkah begitu Dato'? Jika benar demikian, maka memang Tun Razak seorang pemimpin yg sgt istimewa.

Rancangan FELDA memang merupakan satu legasi beliau yg sangat penting kpd negara dari segi ekonomi, politik mahupun sosial. Saya berpendapat ini satu eksperimen sosial yg terbesar di dunia. Dulu orang2 Melayu duduk di kampung2 tradisional dan boleh dikatakan dlm sesebuah kampung itu, semua orang ada mempunyai hubungan keluargaan antara satu sama lain. Menerusi FELDA, Tun Razak bawa orang Melayu dari serata negara duduk di penempatan yg sama dan ini mencipta satu budaya dan corak hidup yg baru. Demikian kita lihat di sesetengah kawasan FELDA, masyarakatnya tidak begitu kuat dan kukuh ikatan kemasyarakatannya. Banyak gejala sosial berlaku di FELDA. Di sebuah rancangan FELDA di tempat saya Dato', penduduknya tak pernah adakan aktiviti korban pun pada hari raya korban setiap tahun! Tetapi bukan semuanya gagal dan tidak berjaya. Banyak sekali kisah kejayaan rancangan FELDA yg boleh kita temui. Apa yg jelas, menerusi FELDA, kemiskinan tegar sudah berjaya ditangani, meskipun tidak seratus-peratus. Itu belum kira sumbangan FELDA kepada hasil ekonomi negara lagi.

Saya rasa Dato' patut tulis lebih banyak mengenai arwah Tun Razak untuk pengetahuan generasi muda sekarang. Kami perlu tahu tentang sumbangan beliau, visi, idea, kekuatan personalitinya, strategi politiknya yg 'superb' dan tak patut dilupakan salah silapnya (jika ada.

Saya setuju jika dikatakan bahawa Dato' Najib jauh beza dengan ayahandanya. Tun Razak tak pandai berpidato dan bergaya dengan berpakaian berjenama mahal. mungkin inilah sebab mengapa beliau tahu apa yg dimahukan oleh rakyat. Beliau tak pandai berslogan dan cakap berdegar-degar. Tetapi, idea dan pemikirannya lebih segar dan bernas daripada para Ketua Pemuda UMNO Bahagian zaman sekarang yg pakai baju bonia dan pandu kereta 'Harrier' ke sana sini.

Ibu saya sentiasa memuji Tun Rahah sebagai seorang isteri PM yg merendah diri dan pandai menjaga penampilan agar nampak bersesuaian dengan imej suaminya. Secara peribadinya, ini saya tak nampak pada Datin Seri Rosmah.

Entahlah Dato', ini semua cuma pandangan peribadi saya sahaja. Macam yg saya katakan tadi, saya tak hidup di zaman Tun Razak untuk mengenali beliau secara lebih dekat. Jika saya tersalah, maafkan saya.

Terima kasih.

Anonymous,  22 May 2009 at 17:36  

We should emulate Indonesia's practise of declaring the net worth of all potential President/Vice Presidents.
Election pairings May 2009:

Jusuf Kalla US$29.07 million

Wiranto US$7.85 million

Megawati Sukarnoputri US$14.15 million

Prabowo Subianto US$159.6 million

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono US$$920,500

Boediono US$2.14 million

And SBY net worth is less than USD 1 million after his term as President.Wonder what is the net worth of our previous and current PM/DPMs?

Dhahran Sea,  22 May 2009 at 20:54  

Salam Tok,
It'd be interesting to see whether Najib could hatch some innovative ideas and implement them successfully like his father? Looking at the way things are at the moment he seems to be "busy" hatching "ideas" to win his Perak "game" at the expense of everything else!

Anonymous,  22 May 2009 at 20:57  

When you try to explain something related to business/commerce/technology to an UMNO Minister you will get blank faces,dreamy eyes and stifled yawns...and will continue to do so unless you hit that secret code..then they will quickly wake up and say one of the following ;

PM said that word too.whats it ah?..tell me where to go visit?

You are sure MOF can approve?Sure your cost not too low?Can bump up a bit lah..

Ur sure this is latest technology?PM like it it to be green now..Why?

When you talk to a Chinese Minister..they actually stay awake and ask lots of questions..and they TAKE notes.

I am a Malay and it is painful to admit that most of our current Malay Ministers have limited attention spans,fails to see the big picture and is focused on doing only the stuff he thinks PM/MOF will approve.So no out of the box thinking...
And to make it worse..even with their lack of real knowledge they are pretty bigoted and thinks their words are pearls of wisdom.
Painful realities.

Anonymous,  23 May 2009 at 05:41  

Tun Daim Zainuddin has personally told Dr Mahathir that Singapore possesses all the evidence that Najib, Razak Baginda and Altantuya met at the Oriental Hotel in Marina Square one year before she died.

This means, with the evidence that Singapore possesses, they would be able to blackmail Najib. Surely Dr Mahathir would not want someone who can be blackmailed into doing Singapore’s bidding become the next prime minister knowing how he feels about Singapore and those perceived as under Singapore’s control?

Anonymous,  15 June 2012 at 11:23  

Thank you for your information, Sir.

Please visit and Like our Facebook page at:

A film about Tun Razak's administration era.


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