Tun Rahah, wife of former PM and mother of another, passes away

KUALA LUMPUR: Rahah Mohamed Noah, the wife of Malaysia’s second prime minister Abdul Razak and mother of sixth prime minister Najib Razak has passed away.

She was 87.

According to Free Malaysia Today, it is understood that Rahah, who has also been conferred the title of Tun, had been ill for some time.

Born in Muar, Johor, Rahah was the youngest of Johor nobleman Mohamed Noah Omar’s four children. Her sister, Suhailah, was married to the country’s third prime minister Hussein Onn.

Her father had an illustrious career, serving in the civil service and as a magistrate, as well as Johor Bahru Timur MP. Later, Noah became the country’s first Dewan Rakyat speaker.

But life was not always easy for the family, as a book documenting the life of Rahah, and her sisters Suhailah and Fakhriah, titled “The Three Swans” tells.

During the Japanese occupation, the sisters’ education was disrupted and they even accompanied their parents into the jungles of Kempas, Johor.

“My mother recalls the awful food in the jungles. The family was happy when they returned to Muar when Haji Noah was appointed a magistrate by the Japanese. Even during these difficult times, the Three Swans kept their dignity and remained gracious,” Najib was quoted as saying during the launch of the book in 2010.

In 1952, Rahah married Pahang state secretary Razak, who would go on to become the country’s second prime minister.

During this time, she served as patron of the Muslim Women’s Action Organisation (Pertiwi) and was president of the Girl Guides Association of Malaysia.

Later, she served as chancellor for Universiti Tun Abdul Razak, one of the country’s earliest private universities, and named after her husband.

Rahah and Razak had five children, Najib, Ahmad Johari, Nizam, Nazim, and Nazir, with the eldest serving as the country’s sixth prime minister, and the youngest as CIMB chief executive.

At the age of 43, Rahah had to take over the role of her husband as a father to their children when Razak died of leukemia.

Her body will be taken to Masjid Ar-Rahah, Kuala Lumpur, before being buried in Masjid Negara tomorrow.

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