Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Abdul Razak Ahmad - A Great Loss

Champion of the downtrodden
Aug 13, 07 3:02pm

Opposition politician Abdul Razak Ahmad died at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Bahru yesterday after he was admitted for pain in the back and chest. He was 68.

Below is an obituary by Parti Sosialis Malaysia to honour the “people’s champion”.

Abdul Razak Ahmad who died at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital on Sunday after complaining of chest pain would always be remembered for his courage and his desire to fight for the downtrodden and the marginalized.

Razak was a fighter even from his student days in University Singapore in the early sixties.

He has held the position of President of the Socialist Club in Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew banished Razak in 1966 for allegedly inciting student riots in the University. So fearful were them of Razak that he was never allowed to return to Singapore till his last breath.

Though Razak had the opportunity to be a very successful Umno leader when he held several high positions in the government yet he chose the path to be with the downtrodden and the opposition in politics.

Razak was at one time the Deputy Director of the Land and Mines Department in Johor. He also held the position as the legal adviser of Felda and was even offered the position of political secretary for Musa Hitam, which he declined.

He also made headlines for his courageous stunt when he laid down at the Johor Bahru rail track to block a KTM train bound to Singapore in protest of Israeli's Presiden Chiam Herzoq visit to Singapura in 1986.

He came close twice to be elected in the Tanjung Puteri state constituency election in 1986 which he lost by a mere 22 votes. He challenged the decision in court and forced a by-election, which he was again defeated by 31 votes.

To PSM and many people, Razak would always be remembered as a simple person who stood with the poor and the downtrodden.

A true champion

He has been consistently fighting and taking up issues of the urban settlers, fishermen and workers.

In 1975, he was arrested under the ISA and later put under the restricted residence for two years for his role in fighting for the settlers in Tasek Utara.

He camped with 200 squatters outside the government building where 83 settlers were arrested for rioting,

Politically he was a leading figure with Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia (PSRM) which later became Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM).

He later joined Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and very recently re-elected as its state leader though he was very reluctant to take up the position.

The last time Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leaders met him was on May 1 this year at the Dataran Johor Bahru.

He said the May Day event was fascinating as it brought back his memories to his early struggle days in the 70s.

He said what is missing today was mass action and there is no continuity. He said he has now retired from politics and have nothing to show for all the years of work done.

Razak need not apologize to anyone. He has always stood with the marginalized and the workers.

He was their champion and he stood tall among many people. The future generation would definitely learn and gain and be humbled by his courage and his principles

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