(* Most of the information in this article are is from the recordings of the Oral History of the late Tun Mohammad Ghazali Shafie with the National Archives on 29 July 1999)
Last 24 January 2011 marked exactly a year since the passing of since a statesman who served the nation well. left us.
He was the late Tun Mohammad Ghazali Shafie, a former Cabinet Minister whose service had served under four prime ministers, stretches from the time of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra until to the era of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad. The advent of 2010 saw the passing of two former Cabinet Ministers who had served the country well, the late Tun Fatimah Hashim, followed by Tun Ghazali Shafie, both among the most respected architects of national development, especially when the country was at the threshold of gaining independence.
Tun Mohamad Ghazali was born in Kuala Lipis, Pahang in 1922 in the same state where his mother, Masusah binti Haji Mohd. Amin was born. His grandfather, Haji Mohd. Amin was the Orang Kaya Setia Wangsa i.e. Orang Besar Berlapan, Pahang's dignitary. As for Meanwhile his father was Shafie bin Deli, while his grandfather came from Deli, Sumatera and emigrated to Padang Lebar, Batu Kikir, Negeri Sembilan. His father worked with the Malayan railway and then which he eventually changed his job as to a mosquito larvae inspector (Mosquito Destruction Committee or MDC) for the prevention of malaria or malaria prevention officer, and stayed in Kuala Lipis after getting married.
He started school in Kuala Lipis Malay School in 1929, and then later moved to Bentong Malay School in 1930. While in Bentong, he lived with his uncle, Zainal Abidin who was a close friend to Ibrahim Yaakub, the founder of the Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM). It was while in Raub that he began to be exposed to Malay nationalism since he frequently followed discussions between his uncle and Ibrahim Yaakub. He was also trained by members of the KMM to deliver speeches and he really loved it. His interactions with members of KMM also made him familiar with Malay nationalism at such a young age and understand the meaning of colonisation and freedom for the nation.
Upon entering standard seven, he is transferred to Raub English School and was the hostel boarder in 1932. On every school holiday, Tun Ghazali would return to Kuala Lipis by bus from Jerantut. While commuting by bus, he met a friend who came from Pekan and studied at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK). This student got off from the Kuala Kangsar train in Jerantut and both of them would take a bus to their respective villages. From henceforth they began to be close friends. His friend was Abdul Razak bin Hussein. Their friendship was initiated since early childhood. Tun Ghazali related how he and the late Tun Razak played together during the school holidays, because Tun Razak's father served as an Assistant District Officer in several districts in Pahang. During the Japanese occupation, Tun Razak often spent the night at his house and slept on the floor with mats as bedding. Both these men had served in the Japanese administration office in Temerloh before Tun Ghazali was transferred to the Japanese propaganda office in Kuala Lipis. Both of them had indulged in many pursuits together during the Japanese era. The friendship remained until both of them were reunited in the country's administration.