Kota Kinabalu June 19, 2012: Heavy workload should not be an excuse to neglect your family, because family unity is among the main pillars of national unity, said former politician, Tan Sri Ghani Gilong on Sunday.
"Being busy with work and not giving consideration to be with family would loosen family ties, we wouldn't know what is happening in our family, we won't be able to understand their problems or feelings.
"This will affect the values of understanding, mutual respect and unity between family and friends which will eventually lead us to sometimes become numb even when speaking to them," he said in his 80th birthday celebration at the Le Meridien Hotel here.
Ghani, a former State Minister of Affairs and Civil Defense, said: "I believe the spirit of unity starts from home, this is the main purpose this event was held, which is to strengthen ties between family and friends.
"Therefore, we must not let our unity, understanding, mutual respect and strong relationships between family members and friends be affected."
On another note, Ghani who also served as Minister of Justice and Federal Minister of Works and Transport reminded those present not to let success make them arrogant and not to belittle others because of jealousy.
Meanwhile, his son Mohd Anuar Abdul Ghani, also shared his growing up experiences. "When we were growing up, we would get up for school before he got up.
"We won't be able to see each other for lunch and in the evening we had tuition while he would normally have to attend functions so we don't see each other.
"But the one time that he set aside for us is on Sunday where we would visit the zoo, museum, and have lunch or dinner at high end hotels and restaurants, so the pattern was set, month after month we visited the zoo and the museum.
"I enjoyed the whole thing very much because we managed to keep in touch with each other and he took very much concern of our affairs during those days even though he was a busy man," he said.
"He may not be the perfect father or grandfather, nor is our relationship a perfect one, but he is someone who we all admire, respect, and love," he added.
In 1962, Ghani was appointed to the legislative assembly by Sir William Goode to represent Ranau until he resigned to take up his Federal Minister post in 1968.
He was elected Deputy President of Upko when Unko and Pasok Momogun merged to form Upko in 1964.
In September 2010, Prime Minister Datuk Najib Razak, awarded him Tokoh Malaysia for his contribution to the formation of Malaysia.
He has 12 children, 30 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.