CYBERJAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad cut short his visit to a function here and is expected to head to Pontian, Johor, to pay his last respects to a deputy minister who died of a heart attack this morning.
An aide to the prime minister said Mahathir had met Md Farid Md Rafik during Friday prayers in Kuala Lumpur just yesterday afternoon and was deeply saddened by the death.
“They performed prayers together yesterday. He is heading to Pontian after lunch,” he said.
“He was close to Farid.”
Mahathir left the venue without visiting the Coop Trade City exhibition as scheduled.
Farid, 43, was the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of unity and social harmony.
He often urged Malaysians to respect other ethnicities and religions during his debates at the Dewan Rakyat.
He was also known to be calm and rational while facing the opposition during debates that sometimes got out of hand.
He was vice-chief of the PPBM Tanjung Piai division.
Mahathir was in Cyberjaya to mark the countdown of the Malaysian Cooperative Societies that will turn 100 in 2022.
Mahathir, during the speech, which organisers say was attended by over 20,000 people, called on cooperatives in the country to play a bigger role in helping the poor.
“Cooperatives are part of social entrepreneurs that do not aim for profits but ensure their members benefit from their activities.”
He said cooperatives need to strengthen their ecosystem to improve their manufacturing, distribution and logistics activities.
There are 14,247 cooperatives with a membership of 6.1 million in Malaysia.
Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof was also present at the event.