Raja Nong Chik: New FT Minister that no one’s heard about
Posted by anak wilayah on April 21, 2009
Raja Nong Chik … who the hell is he. From out of nowhere, a new FT minister was appointed on 9th April 2009. People were saying Zulhasnan will go and in his place Ku Nan or some others have been lined up, but who would have thought this Raja Nong Chik guy who’s not even a Wakil Rakyat (people’s representative) was gonna get the job. People that have worked with him describes him as staraightforward and modest. As a true blue anak wilayah, actually I was kinda shocked when I heard that this Raja Nong Chik will be our new FT minister. But I’m also glad as he’s a true blue KL-ite, much like me. I’ve heard of him before of course, seen him doing community works and know that he’s President of some Malay Chamber of Commerce or sumthing. Anyway, reading the NST piece below, I can’t help but have a teeny hope that he’ll manage to solve at least some of the issues we KL-ites have been screaming about for years. Here’s hoping and read away.
KUALA LUMPUR 12/04/09 : His old Nokia 6070 is now under repair after being flooded with messages since Wednesday.
His children groaned “oh no” when they first heard the announcement of his appointment.
Totally flustered, he had to go last-minute shopping for baju melayu for the official ceremonies which saw him being appointed the new federal territories minister.
For Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, his appointment as the chief of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan on Wednesday was nothing short of a complete surprise.
The 56-year-old, who has been involved in the corporate world and grassroots Umno work in Kuala Lumpur for decades, acknowledges that this is a big change for him.
He is nonplussed that many have not heard of him.
“Perhaps that is a good thing,” he said as he looked around his modest office in Glomac Business Centre, Kelana Jaya, where he has worked for 20 years.
“I am more used to grassroots work. I like being with the community. I do not know the upper levels of politics. Tak reti (don’t understand),” he laughed.
This Taiping-born and Kuala Lumpur-bred Lembah Pantai Umno division chief comes from a family of civil servants.
The youngest of six children, Raja Nong Chik said his passion had always been community work and business.
He is an independent non-executive director of Pharmaniaga Bhd and heads his own engineering services company, Rasma Corporation Sdn Bhd, positions he will now have to relinquish.
After graduating from University of Wales in Economics, he started his career in Felcra in 1978.
He was appointed financial and planning manager in Kumpulan Fima Bhd and joined OYL Industries as executive director in 1982.
Though heavily involved in party work for Lembah Pantai, he became secretary-general, and later president, of the Bumiputera Manufacturers and Service Industry Association of Malaysia.
He is also president of the Malay Contractors’ Association.
He may be passionate about the participation of Malays in the fields of entrepreneurship and business, but his outlook and background is a happily multiracial one.
Married to Datin Nafesah Raja Nong Chik, a Chinese convert, and having been schooled in Methodist Boys School and Victoria’s Institution, he said he was close to the non-Malay community.
“I went to Royal Military College, a mixed boarding school.”
Does he know why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak picked him, a relative unknown, for this post?
He smiled and said: “I don’t know. I’m not necessarily better than other candidates. I believe I am in the right place at the right time. I do believe he knows my background and aspirations.”
He also agrees with Najib’s style and approach, pointing out the prime minister’s recent walkabout here.
He had been told not to tell anybody in his division about the walkabout. Najib had threatened he would not come had Raja Nong Chik talked about the walkabout.
“He said party members would have packed the place and he wouldn’t be able to get close to the people. I like that. My style is more work and less protocol and publicity.”
Asked about business, he lit up and joked that the Key Performance Indicators that he subjected his staff to would now be used on him.
He is close to the top business professionals, bankers and accountants in the city as well as the small and medium businesses and industries because of his background.
“On the ground, I work with stall owners, too, and know what problems the traders face. I came into business the hard way. It took me 20 years to build it up. I didn’t just parachute in.”
Raja Nong Chik loves Kuala Lumpur’s dynamic and multiracial nature, but acknowledged there is much to be done to make it one of the world’s best cities.
He said this was the only “kampung” he knew.
“I studied here, grew up here and got married in Bangsar. I live in Taman Tun Dr Ismail. I usually eat around the Bangsar area or chat with party members in Syed and Pelita restaurants.
“I don’t see why I should stop going to Pelita. If we can’t be with the rakyat, how can we serve them?”
Raja Nong Chik looks forward to serving the people in his new capacity.
His plans, he said, would come after he met Najib, Barisan Nasional members and opposition members of parliament.
Who are his role models?
Raja Nong Chik paused before talking about his 91-year-old father, a retired secretary-general of a government department, who believes in the “old school of politics”.
“He was in hospital recently and reminded me about leaders like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Dr Ismail. He stressed how we must go back to those values. They are our role models.”
Raja Nong Chik said all he kept thinking about during the official ceremonies was how much responsibility he would now have to undertake.
“I was thinking before this that I would be slowing things down and seeing how to hand over my business, perhaps, to my children. Some of my friends are already talking about their pensions.”
His two children — a daughter who is in her final year at the London School of Economics and a son who studies in Warwick University, England — were both rather upset with his sudden ascent into the spotlight.
And what about upgrading his basic little phone?
“I’ve had it for so long. But I suppose I’ll have to get a new one now.”
By: Koh Lay Chin
Kod — Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur Menteri Raja Nong Chik