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Najib: Preserve school ethos Print E-mail
20 January, 2004

ImageA school must preserve its ethos for it to make a distinction and excel through the ages, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. The preservation of the culture and tradition of the school is important for it to retain its prestige and excellence, he said when launching St John's Institution's 100th anniversary here yesterday. Najib, an old boy of the school, said that it had through the years contributed towards the development of education. He called on parents and teachers to preserve its ethos to see it through another 100 years. 

The school was set up in 1904 by three La Salle brothers – Brother Julian Francis, Brother Andrew Corsini and Brother Alexander. Najib said the school had produced several outstanding figures and attributed this to its dedicated, professional teachers. Among the “Johannians” are the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, the Raja Muda of Perak Dr Raja Nazrin Shah, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein, Mount Everest conqueror N. Mohanadas and Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

A Standard Two pupil from 1960 until he completed his Lower Certificate of Education, Najib said he felt nostalgic. “As I went up Bukit Nanas, I remembered how, as a student, I had to climb the hill, not in a suit but wearing white shirt and shorts, carrying my bag. But of course, I went up the hill differently today,” he joked. Najib said he had fond memories of the school and would always be thankful for his education there and the teachers who inspired him. 

A centenary celebration working committee member, N. Thakurdas, who read out Najib's citation, said he was always “graciously humble, exceedingly approachable and reassuringly tactile” while good at his studies. “He always had a flask with him sitting like a flagpole on his desk,” he said, adding that despite his family background Najib never acted like he was “of different pedigree”. 

The six-month celebration includes activities that will culminate with a gala dinner on July 17, aimed at raising RM1mil to repair the school. Najib launched the school's website, http://www.sji.edu.my/. He was given its first e-address,

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