Former Malaysian PM Najib's mother, Tun Rahah, dies at 87, given state funeral

Madam Rahah, who is the mother of former prime minister Najib Razak, died on Friday, aged 87. PHOTO: NAJIB RAZAK/ FACEBOOK
Madam Rahah will be accorded a state funeral and buried at the National Heroes Mausoleum within the grounds of the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur. PHOTO: NAJIB RAZAK/ FACEBOOK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The late Tun Rahah Mohd Noah, widow of second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein, was accorded a state funeral and will be buried at the National Heroes Mausoleum within the grounds of the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday (Dec 19).

Madam Rahah, who is also the mother of former prime minister Najib Razak, died on Friday, aged 87. Her death elicited tributes from all over, crossing even the political divide.

Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah and Queen Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah were among those who expressed their condolences.

"Their Majesties both expressed their hope that the entire family of the late Tun Rahah be patient and remain steadfast in this season of sadness.

"Their Majesties pray that the soul of Allahyarhamah (the deceased) be blessed by Allah and be placed among the righteous," said the palace Facebook page.

Selangor ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah also paid their respects.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin also extended his condolences to Najib and his family.

"The government has decided to give Allahyarhamah a state funeral and burial," he said.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was deeply saddened to hear of Madam Rahah's passing.

"Tun Hajah Rahah was a source of strength, courage and inspiration for her family and for all Malaysians," said PM Lee in a Facebook post on Saturday. "She stood resolutely beside her husband, Tun Razak, when he led Malaysia at a critical period in its history. She will be remembered for her devotion to country and family. Our thoughts are with her family and the people of Malaysia during this time of mourning."

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said Madam Rahah had made enormous contributions to assist Tun Razak when he was the second prime minister. Dr Mahathir described her as among the last from the independence generation who contributed invaluable services and sacrifices to the country.

"(She), is the 'merdeka' generation... not many people of the merdeka generation are still alive. Maybe (she) was among the last. "She helped Tun Razak when he was the prime minister," he said.

Leaders of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional's component parties MCA and MIC also offered their sympathies.

"During her life, Tun Rahah always reminded women to be involved actively in various activities as well as by contributing and serving towards the development of the country.

"The departure of Tun Rahah is felt by all Malaysians," said MCA President Dr Wee Ka Siong on his Facebook page.

"Condolences to Najib and his family on the passing of their beloved mother, Tun Rahah. We hope Najib and his family remain strong to weather these tough times," tweeted MIC information secretary Subash Chandrabose.

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said he was sad to hear about Madam Rahah's passing.

"My condolences to the family of Allahyarhamah. May she be placed among the righteous," he tweeted.

Similarly, Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azalina Othman Said and Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa also tweeted words of sympathy.

Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who is Madam Rahah's nephew, expressed sadness over the loss of a person he described as a "dearly loved aunt".

"During my growing up years, I was under her care a lot. She was a loving, kind and strong person.

"When the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein passed away, Tun Rahah was only 43.

"I am impressed with the resilience shown in raising five boys, who are my cousins.

"My deepest condolences to them," he said in a Facebook post.

Opposition leader and Parti Keadilan Rakyat President Anwar Ibrahim also offered a message of sympathy.

"Condolences to Najib and his family. I am saddened and pray that her soul be blessed," he tweeted.

In a tweet, Najib expressed sadness over his mother's death at the Prince Court Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

"Bonda (mother) is no longer. The sadness and tears are flowing. There are no words to describe this loss.

"Mum was akin to a guiding light in my life. My world now seems like it is in darkness. No more shining light," he said in a Facebook post.

The former premier, who has been sentenced to 12 years in jail over the multibillion-dollar 1MDB corruption case and remains free pending his appeal, is the eldest of Tun Razak's five sons.

On Thursday, Sultan Abdullah, Perak's Sultan Nazrin and Prime Minister Muhyiddin were among the dignitaries who visited Madam Rahah at the hospital.

Born in Muar, Johor, in 1933, Madam Rahah is the daughter of the late Mohammad Noah Omar, one of the founders of Umno who went on to become the first Dewan Rakyat speaker.

Madam Rahah married Tun Razak on Sept 4, 1952. Their five sons are Najib, former CIMB Group chairman Nazir Razak, Mr Ahmad Johari, Mr Mohamed Nizam and Mr Mohamed Nazim.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.