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In 1981, he was selected as a member of UMNO's Supreme Council, before winning the post of Vice-President of UMNO Youth in 1982.In 1987, Najib was selected as the acting head of the Movement of UMNO Youth by Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim after Anwar was asked to contest the post of UMNO Vice-President.In 1986 he was appointed as Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in the Cabinet of Mahathir Mohamad.
Najib later criticised the UN's Somalia operation as putting too much emphasis on military action.
The eldest son of Malaysian Prime Minister, Abdul Razak Hussein, was elected to the Parliament of Malaysia in 1976 replacing his deceased father in the Pahang-based seat of Pekan.
The national outpouring of grief following Tun Razak's death and the respect for his father helped Najib win election unopposed as Member of Parliament at the very young age of 23.
In 1989 Malaysia achieved its best-ever performance at the South East Asia (SEA) Games, held in Kuala Lumpur.
Najib was appointed head of UMNO Youth's Pekan branch and became a member of UMNO Youth's Executive Council (Exco) in 1976.