GENEROUS MAN: Najib shares heartfelt anecdotes about late grandfather
KUALA LUMPUR: LAST night's occasion evoked memories of a special man for Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
And guests of a dinner held to honour the contributions of Tan Sri Mohamed Noah Omar got to see a softer side of the prime minister as he shared his heartfelt memories of his late grandfather.
Themed "Malam Jasa Mu Dikenang", the dinner at Putra World Trade Centre was also attended by Noah's daughters, Tun Rahah and Tun Suhaila.
Najib said: "He always told us to be frugal. During our school holidays, we'd drink colas by the beach and Tok would tell us to recycle the bottles for money."
He said Noah's frugality was what contributed to his success as an entrepreneur, who set up a foundation in his name.
Najib shared a humorous story about Noah, who was found golfing at the ladies' tee of Royal Selangor Club at the crack of dawn, and of his memories of staying over at his grandparents' home during the school holidays.
He said Noah always got up early to play golf, despite it being dark outside. "We suspected he was embarrassed about his game," said Najib, with a chuckle.
"One day, someone went to the Royal Selangor Club and saw him hitting from the ladies' tee. The person rolled down his car window and called out: 'Tan Sri, Tan Sri! That's the ladies' tee!'
"Then Tok said: 'I know! This is only my second shot!'
"Towards the later part of his years, Tok's memory was failing him, but he would always repeat stories of when he was studying in Beirut."
Najib said he was grateful for the generosity of his grandfather, as his sponsorship had allowed his grandchildren to further their education.
He said many others had also benefited in similar ways, thanks to the foundation Noah had set up, called the Noah Foundation.
Najib recited a poem in memory of Noah on behalf of his family.
The poem spoke about the journey of Noah as a nationalist and freedom fighter, starting from his days working as a civil servant until he became speaker at Parliament.
Najib launched a coffee table book titled Tan Sri Mohamed Noah Omar, a pictorial tribute that gives readers a glimpse of the many momentous occasions throughout his career as a public figure.
The foundation presented RM1 million in donations to 13 organisations. Noah (1898-1991) was one of the leading figures during the founding of Umno and became the first speaker of Dewan Rakyat.