Najib Razak or Najib Tun Razak (näjēbˈ tōn räˈzäk) [key], 1958–, Malaysian politician. A Malay, he is a member of a prominent political family, the son of Malaysia's second prime minister, Abdul Razak, and the nephew of its third, Hussein Onn. Trained as an economist and a member of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), Najib was elected to parliament at 22 and later served in several deputy ministerial posts. He tended to favor authoritarian policies and like his father advocated preferential treatment for Malays. Defense minister from 2004 to 2008 and finance minister from 2008, he also served as deputy prime minister under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi from 2004. Electoral losses in 2008 forced Abdullah to resign his party leadership post in Mar., 2009; Najib succeeded him as party leader and, in Apr., 2009, as prime minister. In the 2013 elections, the UMNO-led coalition failed to win the popular vote for the first time, though it retained a majority in parliament. In office, he was intially a cautious reformer, but after the 2013 vote he reemphasized policies that favored Malays and suppressed dissent.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on Najib Razak from Infoplease:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Southeast Asia History: Biographies