MELAKA – Umno members must remember and emulate the leadership values adopted by Tun Abdul Ghafar Baba which were devotion, loyalty and authenticity, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Umno president said Abdul Ghafar showed devotion to the leader, undivided loyalty to Umno and a manifestation of the authenticity of the principles of the Umno struggles.
“I try to ask what actually is the significance when we hold a function such as this one. It is significant for two reasons, namely, we remember a statesman, politician, our leader who is highly regarded, and the second which is most meaningful, we try to remember his leadership qualities.
“I ask to myself what is Encik Ghafar’s value to our present generation. I conclude firstly his devotion, secondly his loyalty, thirdly his authenticity…that is Encik Ghafar to Umno and to all of us,” he said here Saturday.
He said this in his speech at the Tahlil session and prayers in conjunction with the 10th year of Allahyarham Tun Abdul Ghafar Baba’s passing at the Tun Abdul Ghafar Baba’s Memorial, Peringgit here.
Also present were Melaka Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob, former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam, Senate president Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz.
Others attended were Minister of Federal Territories Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, Gua Musang Member of Parliament Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Abdul Ghafar’s son Datuk Mohd Tamrin Abdul Ghafar.
Najib said all Umno members must also remember the messages of past leaders who wanted the present generation to uphold the responsibility of defending the sacred party of the Malays and not to abandon or betray the party.
“They (past leaders) although they are no longer with us, they wanted us to defend and uphold Umno…because as long as there is Umno, the struggles can be continued, but without Umno everything will be destroyed, like En Ghafar said, without Umno there is no defence and everything will perish,” he said.
He said if there were differences among Umno members, a consensus must be sought so that Umno would be united under one front.
Najib said Abdul Ghafar was a symbol for the Umno struggles up to this day and did not look at position as being important in his struggles.
“Encik Ghafar had never been angry or sulky, not being appointed as Deputy Prime Minister was not a platform for his struggles, he had said that position was not important, but Umno was everything and should be looked after,” he said.
He said Abdul Ghafar was most outstanding in grassroot politics and had always been close and knew the issues concerning the people or in the English vocabulary ‘a man of the people’.
“Encik Ghafar could not stand long meetings, I still remember when he chaired the cabinet meeting as Deputy Prime Minister, less than one hour it (the meeting) was over, but Encik Ghafar was more the man of the people,” he said.
Najib said he chose to attend the event not as the Prime Minister or Umno president, but he attended because of Abdul Ghafar.
“Allahyarham could not be separated from the Umno struggles, could not be separated from the family of Allahyarham Tun Abdul Razak (former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who was also Najib’s father) and I personally,” he said.
Meanwhile, he wanted the Tun Abdul Ghafar Baba Memorial to be rebuilt at the same site in memory of Abdul Ghafar’s struggles, and that he was prepared to give an allocation for the project. – BERNAMA