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He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

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TALK of the town is that CIMB bank boss Nazir Razak is very upset with his eldest brother Prime Minister Najib Razak (and sister-in-law Rosmah Mansor).

While this is true to a certain extent, the Malaysian Spark believes this article will do no justice without highlighting the special bond shared between Najib and Nazir.

A close family friend who watched Najib and Nazir growing up disclosed to the Malaysian Spark recently over tea in Kuala Lumpur that Nazir had always looked up to Najib and they were very close to each another.

“In my opinion, the bond between Nazir and Najib was probably stronger than Nazir and the other brothers,” said the family friend, who declined to be named for this article.

“They were very generous to each another and often crack jokes and laugh loudly if they are together.

The family friend expressed sadness as things have changed today, and the media is ever ready and glad to pit Nazir with Najib for political gains and purposes without actually knowing the true story.

“Nazir was only nine years old when their father (Malaysia’s second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak) passed away in London due to leukemia on 14 January 1976.

“Najib was 22 years old at that time. There is a 13-year age gap between Najib and Nazir.

“Since then, Najib had always looked out for Nazir.

“As the youngest, Nazir was left alone most of the time whilst his elder brothers were studying overseas and so whenever Najib was around, he will be beaming with joy.

“When their father was taken ill, Najib was sent from London to bring the young Nazir to their father’s bedside,” said the family friend.

“As Nazir and Najib waited with their bags packed and ready to leave for the airport and fly to London, the sad news of Tun Razak’s death came through a telephone call at their residence.

This family friend was present with Najib, Nazir and other family members at Subang airport on the evening of 15 January 1976 as a specially chartered Malaysian Airlines Boeing 707 brought back the body of Tun Abdul Razak.

“The young Najib was very patient and accommodating with his youngest brother and you could tell from his actions that he cared a lot for Nazir,” said the family friend.

“Following Tun Razak’s death, Najib was sucked into the world of politics whilst Nazir went on to continue secondary education in the UK.

“Even now, I don’t think they hate each another or angry or whatever…perhaps merajuk (sulking) is a better word. Whatever is being said now in the media about Nazir and Najib is just not correct.

“If you had known them personally and had witnessed what they had gone through since their father’s death, then you will not want to see them apart…you will not want to see them like this,” said the family friend who still maintains his ties with Najib and Nazir.

“At the end of the day, I think Nazir wants the best for his brother. He wants Najib to be a PM just like their father Tun Razak, a highly principled man well known for his integrity and frugality.

The Malaysian Spark contacted Nazir Razak on his mobile phone recently to ask him on his relationship with Najib and if the brothers are still united.

After pausing for a while, Nazir said: “Can I get back to you on this?” before saying ‘thank you’ and ending the phone conversation.

Nazir clearly sounded not too pleased when asked of his relationship with his brother and that phone conversation, although very brief, spoke volumes of the current scenario.

This rift between the brothers brings to mind what Welsh poet and writer Dylan Thomas once said: “It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea. –


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