University of Nottingham alumnus Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has become the new Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Najib was sworn in on Friday April 3rd, 2009, a week after being declared president of the United Malays National Organisation party (UMNO). He becomes the nation’s sixth Prime Minister since Malaysia gained independence from Britain 51 years ago.
Najib graduated in Industrial Economics from The University of Nottingham in 1974 and has been active in Malaysian political life for more than 30 years.
Born in Kuala Lipis, Pahang, in 1953, Najib received his early education in the elite St John Institution in Malaysia. As a teenager, he went to England to attend Malvern Boys’ College in Worcestershire and he remained in the country to study at The University of Nottingham.
Najib has scored a string of ‘youngest’ titles throughout his political career. He was elected as Malaysia’s youngest MP at the age of 23 in 1976, and two years later was made a deputy minister (Energy, Telecommunications and Post) — the youngest ever. At the age of 32, he was made Culture, Youth and Sports Minister, again, the youngest cabinet member at the time.
He subsequently held a series of senior posts within the national government and at Bank Negara, the central bank. In 2004 he was made deputy Prime Minister.
As Prime Minister of Malaysia, the 55-year-old follows in the footsteps of his father, Tun Abdul Razak, and uncle, Tun Hussein Onn. He will replace the outgoing Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who has stepped down after five years in power.
Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: “I am delighted that a graduate of The University of Nottingham is to hold such an important position. The University has a long history of working closely with Malaysia — two former Kings are also Nottingham graduates, and we were the first British university to establish a campus in the country.
“I extend my warmest congratulations to Najib Razak on his new position and wish him, and the people of Malaysia, all the very best for the future.”
The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) — a full and integral part of The University of Nottingham — opened in September 2000, becoming the first overseas campus of a British university in Malaysia and one of the first anywhere in the world.
Najib was the guest of honour at the official opening of the purpose-built 101-acre campus, near Kuala Lumpur, which now has a diverse community of 3,600 students from more than 60 countries.
Professor Ian Pashby, Vice-President and Chief Executive Officer of The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, said: “The whole UNMC community is beaming with pride that one of its own has become the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia.”
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Najib is pictured above after receiving an honorary degree from The University of Nottingham in 2004.
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