Written by: YBhg. Datuk Wong Sulong
October 31 is an important date for Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. It was on October 31 2003 that he assumed the highest political office in the country and in doing so became Malaysia’s fifth Prime Minister.
Therefore it was fitting that October 31 2016 — 13 years after he took office — should be chosen as the date to launch his official biography “Being Abdullah Ahmad Badawi — the Authorised Biography”.
The book was launched by the Perak ruler, His Royal Highness, Sultan Nazrin Muizzudin Shah.
The event, organised by Pertubuhan Legasi Tun Ahmad Abdullah Badawi (LEGASI) and MPH group (the publisher) was held at the Sime Darby Convention, and was witnessed by more than 700 guests, including ministers, family members and friends of Tun Abdullah, as well as a strong contingent of UMNO supporters from Kepala Batas. Tun Abdullah was MP for Kepala Batas from 1978 to 2013. Also present were the Permaisuri of Perak, Tuanku Zara Salim, Tun Jeanne Abdullah, deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former deputy Prime Minister, Tun Musa Hitam.
In his keynote address that was widely reported in the media, Sultan Nazrin stressed on the critical importance of integrity among leaders.
“In modern society, where cynicism abounds, the most difficult thing, we will find as we read this book, is how Tun Abdullah sought to instil integrity within the system and how he tried to navigate the minefields while dealing with little Napoleons within the civil service and enforcement agencies and meeting resistance to change within the ranks of his own party” said Sultan Nazrin.
The Ruler added that the root cause of why a community or nation succeeded or failed, always came down to one issue, that is integrity or the lack of it.
In his speech, the author and veteran journalist, Dato Wong Sulong, said he enjoyed working with with Tun Abdullah on the four-year project and his respect and admiration for the former Prime Minister grew as the project progressed.
Wong said Tun Abdullah is probably the most misunderstood among Malaysian leaders; many saw him as an accidental Prime Minister, yet he led his party in March 2004 to the biggest ever general election victory in Malaysian history. Now Malaysians acknowledge his relatively short rule (five and a half years) was the springtime of Malaysian democracy. His firmness in ensuring a smooth and peaceful handover of power in five states won by the opposition after the 2008 election marked him as a courageous and principled leader.
Wong added that Tun’s legacy is substantial and he was confident Tun’s image and influence would continue to expand over time.