Former DAP strongman Hu Sepang dies

‘Cowboy’ Hu Sepang served the man on the street well.

SEREMBAN: Former Negeri Sembilan DAP firebrand and three-term assemblyman Hu Sepang died today. He was 73.

Hu suffered a heart attack at his home in Rasah Jaya, and died on arrival at the hospital at about 5am, said his wife, Judy Gan.

Gan said both his legs were amputated five years ago. He had been undergoing dialysis since 2013.

“As he was wheelchair-bound, he just watched football and news over TV.

“He wanted his ashes scattered in the sea so that he could be free again,” said Gan.

If ever there was a politician for the man on the street from the mid-1970s to the 1990s, it was Hu.

He won the Sg Ujong state seat (now Temiang) in 1978, Rahang state seat in 1982, and the Mambau state and Rasah parliamentary seats in 1986.

Hu was highly visible and outspoken in his often turbulent political career. He was among the 106 opposition politicians and government dissenters who were detained under the ISA during the 1987 Ops Lalang.

The once fiery orator shot to national prominence in 1978 over a “longkang” stall (eatery situated over a drain) case.

He was then on a crusade to protect small businesses that were being constantly raided by the Seremban Town Council for alleged violation of rules.

Facing a bulldozer, Hu sat on a chair and dared enforcement officers to mow down the hokkien mee stall that straddled a monsoon drain on Wilkinson Road.

That image was splashed all over newspapers and he became known as “cowboy” because of his trademark high-crowned, wide-brimmed cowboy hat which he bought during a visit to the US.

The “cowboy” even rode a retired racehorse on the campaign trail when he contested the Bukit Pelanduk (now Chuah) state seat during the 1990 general election.

Hu fell off the horse, offered to him by a pig farmer, while making his village rounds — an incident he laughingly said was an ominous sign of his fate at the polls. He lost.

His plan to ride the horse to the nomination centre to file his papers was shot down by the Election Commission which said no one would be allowed to come riding on a horse or elephant.

He retired from politics in the mid-1990s, but close friends said he always had time for the “small man”.

Hu is survived by Gan, three sons and six grandchildren.

The wake is at 1022, 1/4A, Rasah Jaya, and the funeral is on Sunday.

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