Prominent consumer advocate SM Idris dies

SM Mohamed Idris (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: SM Mohamed Idris, one of Malaysia’s most prominent consumer advocates, died today at the age of 93.

Idris, who headed the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP), breathed his last at 4.45 pm at the Gleneagles Medical Centre.

He leaves behind four children.

Idris, a former Penang municipal councillor, was born in southern India on Dec 6, 1926.

He was educated in the Islamic madrasah and Tamil schools in India, before attending a Christian missionary school in Penang.

He joined his father SM Mohamed Yusoff Rawther’s shipping company, which was started in 1915 with about 10 tongkangs.

After his father’s death during the Japanese occupation, Idris took over the company, which provided shipping services throughout the coast of Malaya up to Burma.

He then started a union called the Penang Lighters’ Association, a union for shipping workers’ rights.

Known to many as the father of the consumerist movement, he had steadfastly steered CAP into Malaysia’s most active and vocal consumer association since assuming the post in 1969.

Besides CAP, Idris also founded environmental pressure group Sahabat Alam Malaysia, as well as Institut Masyarakat, Third World Network and Citizens International.

He will be buried tomorrow morning at the Masjid Hashim Yahya cemetery in Jalan Perak.