Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Last Honest UMNO Politician

At the invitation of my second cousin Datin Halimah Said, I was back in my hometown Seremban this morning for the launching of Galeri JASA Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Mohamed Said bin Mohamed, at her family home in Gedung Lalang. It was a most welcome homecoming indeed for yours truly to meet long lost kith and kin, also for a belated Hari Raya gathering.

Galeri JASA commemorates the life and times of her late father and my uncle Dr. Mohamed Said (photo) as the first elected Mentri Besar of Negeri Sembilan, the first Malay medical doctor and an individual of profound literary interests. The gallery houses rare documents of our Linggi-Bugis heritage, his medical research into rare tropical diseases such as elephantiasis, kwashiorkor, gangrene and others, his published memoirs and articles documenting his thoughts and challenges as the first elected MB of Negeri Sembilan after merdeka.

The launch was officiated by Tun Dato’ Seri Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, who served as a young District Officer in Negeri Sembilan under the late Dr. Mohamed Said's administration. Tun Ahmad Sarji describes his former boss as "an outstanding Malay leader of impeccable integrity and intellect”.

Educated at the Malay College, Kuala Kangsar and later at the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore just before World War 2, the late Dr. Mohd Said was a pukka upright gentleman of the old school and honest to a fault. He served as MB for two terms (1959 to 1969) and steadfastly refused a federal cabinet post as Health Minister under the Tunku, our first prime minister.

After his brief stint in politics, Dr. Mohamed Said went back to private practice for a few years before retiring and leading a quiet life, reading and writing his memoirs*. He passed away after a short illness in 1996. Indeed, his old wooden bungalow turned kampung kindergarten is miles apart from the palatial 4-storey mansion built by an also departed ordinary UMNO politician in Port Klang. (Read my earlier blog: "Rich Politician, Poor Politician", here)

To my mind, the late Tan Sri Dato Dr Mohamed Said bin Mohamed was the last clean and honest UMNO politician.
*Memoirs of a Menteri Besar : Early days
Author: Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Mohamad Said bin Mohamed.
Publisher: Heinemann Asia, 1982 .


  1. capt,

    i like your last sentence.

    hmm.. guess UMNO is infested with crooks now. Gee, we paid RM193 million for a eurocopter. brazilians paid RM83 million. And our honourable Minister said the LOI is in accordance with procedure.
    Thank you Capt for telling us that the last clean and honest UMNO politician is long gone.

  2. Captain, UMNO will hate you for this "last clean and honest UMNO politician." But only losers hate; winners will welcome truth. Right?

    Well done Captain.

    Only when UMNO returns to the glory days much like the legacy of your late uncle can we expect justice, peace and progress.

  3. It was a pleasure indeed to see you and our saudara mara Bugis Linggi at the Hari Raya gathering.

    The occasion was made more meaningful by the presence of Tun Ahmad Sarji and Dr Said's colleagues in administration from 1959 to 1969. They were young, eager officers then and respected the Menteri Besar for his honesty and principled ways.

    I would like to subscribe my father's personality and character to his strict religious upbringing and his formal education under the most dedicated and disciplined schoolmasters in MCKK, most of whom were British.

    In medical school he was under the tutelege of an outstanding team of English and Eurasian lecturers and mentors from whom he acquired
    the love of/for learning.

    His mind was open to knowledge in every sphere especially health and medicine, history and literature.

    As you said in an earlier posting, Dr Said was thought stupid by some for not acquiring wealth. He was thought silly for turning down the Tengku's offer of being the Health Minister.


  4. Captain!

    I can see some resemblance with your late uncle- wide forehead, big ears and overall good looks..

    Well done sir.

  5. No wonder you praised him,he is your family.How do you know that he is honest? NOBODY KNOWS A PERSON BEHIND A DRAWN CURTAIN.
    Maybe your admission to MCKK via his recomendations to the selective committee then.
    Its not that i want to speak ill of the dead,but just want to remind,THE MIND WILL SEE WHAT THE MIND PERCEI
    AlFatihah to arwah Dr.Mohamed Said.

  6. Yes, the late Dr. Mohd Said was a rare breed. Your superlative description about him is in place.
    My late father who had the honour of teaching him in MCKK before the war, always reminded me to emulate the qualities of Dr. Mohd. Said. I was too small then to understand what my late father was driving at.
    It's a shame, Negri sembilan never had anyone, anywhere near, like him thereon.

  7. Dr. Mohd Said is your uncle? His name is listed on my birth certificate as the informer. I supposed he will be the doctor who delivered me and the then Seremban GH, before he became MB.


  8. Captain,
    Is there anything, anyone can do, to save this trait from extinction?

    It's sad to note that today's leaders have a different agenda in their pockets.

  9. Profit (more appropriate to be called "Loss"),

    Do you have any proof, beside yr very wild imagination, to support yr contention/insinuation that the late Dr Said might not be an honest man? Capt has offered one indication: that he owned only a modest old bungalow. Don't be jealous of him. If you have yr relatives worthy of accolades, we wud be pleased to hear. You don't need to go far. One contractor died in the house of his successor (as MB). Take a look also at the houses of other retired MBs or CMs.

    frm: tidak busuk hati

  10. profit:

    If you can't say something nice, just shuddup and not abuse God's gift of a unique mind and heart to thee. There's always a time and place for some understanding and charity in AM's abode. This is one occasion when I'd not refrain using someprofUnity on you rofiteering most likely an UMNO-g*n -- F**K Oaf!

  11. dear profit
    you are entitled to be sceptical, having gone through 20 years of systemic corruption perpetrated by a certain other doctor.

    however, many people can vouch for Dr said's uprightness and I hope his survivors will not take offence to your uncouth comments.

    BTW he was the first and only mentri besar to not hold any post in UMNO, being just an ordinary mmeber.

  12. Salam Capt,

    I would have thought that the term `honest politician' is a paradox. But I guess that there were those who became leaders with the sole purpose of serving the people. Dr. Mohamed Said is seen as one.

    And to be the last clean and honest UMNO politician.... ouch! You're sure gonna ruffle some feathers with this one Capt.

  13. You are talking about Zakaria again?Can someone come out with proofs that he acquired his wealth thru' illegal means.He was not a govt servant nor a minister.Is he not entitled to make good of himself.

  14. I'm anticipating a sequel to Memoirs of a Menteri Besar.

  15. Now the umno boys will say capt ini lebih but like you always say a spade is a spade.Keep it up capt good article.

  16. We shall regard Profit's comments as "bunkum" which is unsubstantiated by knowledge or experience of Dr Mohd Said, his life and times.

    His family, relatives, friends and former colleagues knew him better and we shall take what they say about him seriously.

  17. profit,

    looks like you are out-numbered. think you are hitting below the belt. if he is a good man, he is a good man not because he is an uncle of capt.
    there are still honest and good people in Malaysia but in UMNO, sadly its long gone. Well, this is supported by rais recent condemnation of pervasive money politics in UMNO.

  18. The second volume of Dr Mohd Said's memoirs is an intriguing account of his medical education in King Edward VII College, Singapore and his experiences as a government doctor in Pekan and Kuala Lumpur before the war. It is unpublished.

  19. Ooo maso den skolah rondah montri bosar maso tu Mat Said laa iyo? Kalau den tak silap mak den dulu kojo telpon operator wa'er...

    Thanks for sharing, Bang! I'll be sure to tell my mak..

  20. There were only three clean and honest Mentri Besars in the history of Negri Sembilan:

    1) Tun Abdul Malek Bin Yusof (1948-1953)

    2) Dato' Shamsudin Bin Nain (1953 - 1959)

    3) Tan Sri Dato' Dr.Mohamed Said Bin Mohamed (1959 - 1969)



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