PETALING JAYA: A lecture hall at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government (BSG) has been renamed the Tun Razak Lecture Theatre at a ceremony officiated by Perak’s Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah (pic).
“Tun Razak would undoubtedly have felt at home here at the BSG. There is so much that chimes between the BSG’s stated vision of ‘a world better led, a world better served and a world better governed’, and Tun Razak’s own vision for his country,” said Sultan Nazrin at the inauguration address on Friday (Nov 22).
He added in his inauguration address statement sent to the media to mark the renaming of the lecture hall that the same vision will be instilled in the minds and hearts of many generations of leaders to come within the lecture theatre.
Tun Razak was Malaysia’s prime minister from 1970 to 1976.
Sultan Nazrin said in Tun Razak’s capacity as the Education Minister in 1955, he had drafted the Razak Report which had become the basis of the Malayan education system.
He added that even some specialised schools and colleges in the country were converted into higher education institutions and eventually universities with specialism in agriculture, science and technology, during Tun Razak’s tenure as Education Minister.
“Indeed, it seems especially fitting that a lecture theatre – a hall of learning – should be named in memory of a man who had such foundational impact upon the education of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Malaysians,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin also noted many of Tun Razak’s contributions to the country, among which includes, taking part in negotiations with the British for Malayan independence, establishing programmes and institutions to alleviate poverty, nurturing new talent, and promoting racial harmony through the National Consultative Council following the racial riots in May 1969.
He added that Tun Razak also contributed to many of the country’s foreign policy initiatives such as by championing Malaysia’s concept of working for a neutral South-East Asia.
“There are also vital moral qualities that the greatest leaders must possess, and Tun Razak demonstrated these in abundance. He was utterly dedicated to integrity and honesty in public office, and shunned all manner of corruption. He was obsessed, for example, with ensuring that not a penny of government funding was used to pay for his personal needs,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin said that Malaysians today affectionately remember Tun Razak for his sense of duty and dedication, thus earning him the sobriquet Bapa Pembangunan or the Father of Malaysia’s Development.
“It is my sincere hope that the achievements and ideals of that extraordinary man, Tun Razak – now commemorated in the name of this lecture theatre – will serve to inspire all those who are yet to pass through this prestigious institution, to become the leaders, the visionaries and the public servants of tomorrow,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin is an Oxford University alumni, having graduated with honours in his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
He also serves as a Trustee of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies at Oxford University.
According to Oxford University’s BSG Dean Prof Ngaire Woods, two foundations made philanthropic donations to the School to honour Tun Razak’s legacy, the Noah Foundation and the Tun Razak Foundation.
Woods said such support furthers its mission to improve governments around the world, by increasing its ability to educate a new kind of public leadership, and furthering the goal that funding should be no barrier to bringing the best people from around the world to Oxford.