by Kavitha Subaramaniam
The Museum Volunteers (MV) focus group organised a trip to the Tun Abdul Razak Memorial on Thursday, 25th September 2014 as members were curious and keen to enrich their understanding of the second Prime Minister of Malaysia, the late Tun Abdul Razak bin Hussein Al-Haj. We gathered at the main entrance of the memorial at 10 o’clock in the morning and were led by an experienced guide, Encik Saladdin Merican, from the memorial itself.
The late Tun Abdul Razak has the sobriquet ‘Father of Development’ although he only held the tenure of Prime Minister for six years, from 1970 to 1976, before he lost a battle to leukaemia. This building, which was originally his official residence when he was in office and converted to a memorial on 6th May 1982, is situated at Lake Garden, Kuala Lumpur. This iconic structure commemorates Tun Abdul Razak’s significant contribution in developing the country coupled with uniting its unique pluralistic society.
When we stepped into his ‘house’, it was simple and yet had the atmosphere of serenity despite its location at the hub of the city. Encik Merican guided us around the house (living room, dining hall, kitchen, lounge area, bedrooms, private office, reading room, courtyard) and gave elaborate explanations on the various possessions and souvenirs that belonged to Tun Abdul Razak. The placement of the furniture, carpets, books and personal collections was preserved as when the late Tun Abdul Razak’s lived there, so that visitors could better appreciate the icon’s life. The visit not only gave us a glimpse of his personal life with his wife Tun Rahah Mohammad Noah and his five sons but it also showed us the early days of the present Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib, who is his eldest son. No doubt this tour has made us realise and appreciate the sacrifices made by the former Prime Minister for this country.