Friday, May 23, 2008

Shahrir through nuraina's eyes

Indomitable Shahrir

Sticking To His Guns
In 1982, I met a young deputy minister at an assignment in Kuala Lumpur. I was with a colleague, Zainah Anwar who was there to talk to him for a political story.
I had just been back a year from my journalism studies in the US to resume work with the NST, and was there to cover the young political leader who was the main guest at the event.

At 31, Shahrir Samad was Deputy Trade and Industry Minister. I took an instant liking to him because he spoke so passionately and articulately when replying to questions. I liked him also because I found him to be smart and very outspoken. It was refreshing to listen to this brave and brash young leader.

In my book, Shahrir Samad was a non-conformist. He had gall and gumption. His outspokenness became his trademark notoriety.

Before assuming the trade and industry portfolio, he was Deputy Finance Minister.
I also remember him to have been the youngest Cabinet Minister at 34 when in 1983, he was made Federal Territory Minister.

His last Cabinet post was as Welfare Services Minister. He held the post until 1986, before the infamous 1987 Umno (Team A-Team B) split when Tengku Razaleigh challenged incumbent Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the party presidency.

beritadarigunung: from nuraina's