April 26, 2021
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A reflection on Tun Ghazali Shafie

Oleh Muhamad Firdaus Ali

April 26, 2021

Tonight I did some reading on the late Tun Ghazali Shafie, who was recognized as a no-nonsense Minister during his time.

He was a Home Minister and his final post before leaving the service is Foreign Minister. Tun Ghazali was known as a good friend to the late Lee Kuan Yew – and maintains healthy relationship with Kuan Yew after separation of Singapore from Malaysia.

Tun Ghazali also represents Malaysia in Cobbold Commission, which was a commission enquiry that been set up to determine whether the people of North Borneo and Sarawak supported the proposal to create the Federation of Malaysia consisting of Malaya, Brunei, Singapore, North Borneo, and Sarawak or not. 

As a diplomat, he possesses impressive negotiation skills which can be seen when he was entrusted by Tun Razak to negotiate with Japanese Red Army (JRA) when JRA took control of AIA building which locates embassies of few prominent countries during that time. After 3 days of negotiation, JRA makes their way out and was sent to third party country.

‘King Ghaz’ (Tun Ghazali)’s leadership was recognized even by his subordinate, Allahyarham Tan Sri Sanusi Junid. When Tun Ghazali was a Home Minister, TS Sanusi was his Deputy. Unlike today, at that time, Deputy Minister was used to be Acting Minister while the Minister was entrusted to work abroad. Tun Ghazali brought TS Sanusi in his decision-making processes, and involved him in series of high-level discussion involving foreign agents. (Reference : http://sanusijunid.blogspot.com/…/terima-kasih-tun…)

He also possesses a pilot license, and according to sources, he completed 2,000 flying hours in 10 years. He managed to survive an aviation accident while flying Cessna 26 owned by Royal Flying Club of Malaysia.

This LSE graduate being seen ruthless to the journalist who asked questions that are deemed to be inappropriate. He insisted that journalists should be doing their homework prior asking him questions. His last service was under the premiership of Dr Mahathir, after serving 4 Prime Ministers throughout his lifetime

These stories made me feel hopeful that as a nation, we are able to arrive somewhere one day. Just as high as the standard set by our founding fathers. While today’s climate makes me (and maybe some of us too) feel hopeless and worried on what the future could offer us, stories of  these patriots made me feel, there must be way out from this chaos. If it’s not us who protect the sovereignty and the interest of this nation, who else will do? 

A long reflection on the night of 14th Ramadan. Tun Ghazali Shafie departed on January 24, 2010 in Subang Jaya at the age of 87, while TS Sanusi passed away on Mar 9, 2018 in Lembah Pantai. May Allah shower His blessings and grace on their souls.


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© Muhamad Firdaus Ali.