another gem passed away!...
JOHOR BARU: One of Johor’s best-known opposition politicians, Abdul Razak Ahmad, died at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital yesterday after he was admitted for pain in the back and chest.
The 68-year-old lawyer, who has contested in virtually every general election since the 1970s, except the 1978 polls, was admitted at 4am yesterday. He became unconscious about 11am and died at 1.10pm.
Fatimah Mohd Tahir, 61, an aunt by marriage, who was at his house in Jalan Rubi, said Razak complained of severe backache at 2am, but was reluctant to go to the hospital.
Razak, who has a cult-like following in Johor, was the leading figure behind the now defunct Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia (PSRM), which later became Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM).
According to Liew Shun Kheong, a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Senai branch chief, Razak had attended a party meeting on Saturday.
"The meeting started at 3pm and by 8pm, Razak said he was very tired. He was elected by members to head the PKR, following the merger of Parti Keadilan Nasional and PRM, in June.
"Razak was reluctant to helm the party, but he was a favourite among party members," Liew said.
Despite his tenacity, Razak never tasted success in the polls. The closest he came to winning a seat was in 1986 when he lost to a Barisan Nasional candidate in the Tanjung Puteri state constituency by a mere 22 votes.
He later sued the Election Commission for irregularities and the High Court ordered a re-election. But he was again defeated by 30-odd votes.
The radical streak in him was evident even in his younger years when Singapore banished him in 1966 for allegedly inciting student riots at the then University of Singapore, where he was reading law.
In 1975, he was detained for two months under the Internal Security Act for being a subversive. This came after he led what was described as an uprising of the people against the state government in 1974.
He camped with 200 squatters outside the government building here. When the 83 squatters were arrested for rioting, he defended them in court.
Then, for two years, he was placed under restriction orders. He had to stay indoors from 8am to 6am.
In November 1986, he again caused a stir when he laid on the railway track in Johor Baru in an attempt to stop a Singapore-bound train in protest against the visit of then Israeli president Chaim Herzog to Singapore.
Razak, who was a vocal critic of Singapore although he insisted that he was not anti-Singapore, was again in the public eye in 1997 when he exposed remarks by Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew about Johor in an affidavit against former Workers Party member Tang Liang Hong.
In the court document, Lee had described Johor as "notorious for shootings, muggings and carjacking".
The remarks sparked strong reactions on this side of the Causeway.
Yasterday, PKR party adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was here to attend a dialogue organised by the party, visited Razak’s family.
Razak was buried at the Jalan Mahmoodiah Muslim cemetery.