PETALING JAYA: The past year witnessed the loss of numerous notable personalities in several fields, including politics, education, entertainment and sports.
As Malaysia ushers in a new year, FMT takes a moment to pay tribute to some who made the news, and others who contributed quietly in their endeavours.
Gopal Sri Ram, 79
Died: Jan 29
The former Federal Court judge and fiat prosecutor in Rosmah Mansor’s corruption case succumbed to lung infection. Notably, he was the first practising lawyer directly appointed to the Court of Appeal in 1994. Upon his death, his family donated RM9 million worth of his extensive collection of legal books to Universiti Malaya’s law faculty.
Talib Zulpilip, 72
Died: Sept 15
A former Sarawak ombudsman and integrity minister, Talib Zulpilip breathed his last following kidney complications. Known for his humility and dedication to public service, the state mourned his demise as a great loss.
M Ramayah, 67
Died: March 5
A 13-time World Cup golfer and coach, M Ramayah lost his battle with spinal cancer. Known as the “Birdie Machine”, he began his golfing journey at 14 before turning professional four years later. Golf legend Jack Nicklaus bestowed him with the nickname after Ramayah’s remarkable performance at a tournament, where he amassed 10 birdies by the 17th hole and won 12 skins.
Fatimah Hamid, 89
Died: April 26
The country’s first female Malay professor, Fatimah Hamid died while recovering from a stroke. An emeritus professor at Universiti Malaya, she played a pivotal role in shaping educational policies and actively contributed to national and international initiatives for women’s rights and children’s welfare. She was also one of those behind the National Women’s Policy.
Rahimah Stephens, 91, and Nancy Mobijohn, 78
Rahimah Stephens and Nancy Mobijohn were friends since before the tragic air crash of their husbands Fuad Stephens and Peter Mojuntin in 1976. Rahimah died on March 14 following a heart attack during treatment for a broken bone, and Nancy died on Oct 13. Famously, Nancy had a premonition of her husband’s fatal crash a week before it occurred in 1976.
Salahuddin Ayub, 62
Died: July 23
Salahuddin Ayub, the Amanah deputy president, Pulai MP and federal minister, died after suffering a brain haemorrhage. Known for introducing the Rahmah brand of affordable goods as the cost of living minister, his legacy remains in the hearts of many.
Raymond Goh, 62
Died: Sept 12
Iconic TV3 newsreader Raymond Goh, known as the golden voice of English news, died two weeks after suffering a stroke. With a career spanning 30 years in the broadcasting industry, his contributions to journalism are remembered fondly by those who lived through the nineties.
Lee San Choon, 88
Died: March 3
Serving as the fourth MCA president for eight years from 1975, former federal minister Lee San Choon played a significant role in Malaysian politics. Perhaps his most notable achievement was defeating DAP co-founder Chen Man Hin for the Seremban parliamentary seat in 1982, a seminal moment which showed MCA’s growing support within the Chinese community.
Syed Razak Syed Zain, 79
Died: March 8
The eighth menteri besar of Kedah, Syed Razak Syed Zain, known for leading Malay and Bumiputera business groups to success, passed away due to health issues. Despite stepping down from his position years ago, he remained loved by the people of Kedah.
Ramesh Rao, 52
Died: Jan 5
A fervent supporter of Barisan Nasional, Ramesh Rao Krishnan Naidu, known for his colourful and controversial tweets, passed away at 52 following a heart attack. He served as a special officer to the deputy prime minister.