The love of a mother after the assassination of a father

On June 7, FMT carried an article commemorating the death anniversary of my father, the late inspector-general of police Abdul Rahman Hashim whose murder remains a mystery.

I write this letter to express the love of my family for my mother, Halimah Mat Isa, who has held us together since my father’s passing.

Thank God we still have mum. She is our inspiration, and helped us overcome this tragedy. She has also been a pillar of strength for all seven of us siblings.

She was 48 when dad passed. She turned 94 in April.

I lived with her until I left home to further my studies in January 1983.

Presently, we all live in Petaling Jaya within 15km of mum.

Our eldest sister, Sofiah, is a retired chief matron of Hospital Universiti. She looks after mum’s health, assisted by her siblings and the grandchildren.

Mum has 27 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren.

In her younger days, she cooked for everyone. She was a great cook, and food was always available whenever unexpected visitors popped up.

We make it a point to be with her on the first day of Raya before fulfilling our other obligations.

In the article, my older brother Najib related his sad experience of the day my father was assassinated. Allow me to share mine as well.

I was in Form Four at St John’s Institution on that day, the worst of my life.

As usual, I woke up at about 6.15am and got ready for school. I had breakfast then went into the living room where dad was on the phone, laughing while chatting with a friend.

I gave him and mum a hug and a kiss, as I usually did, before leaving the house. I was sent to school in a police staff car.

At about 8.05am, during English class, my teacher James Gonzalez wrote the date on the board – June 7, 1974 – and asked us to write an essay.

The date reminded me that in exactly one month, dad would celebrate his 51st birthday. He loved P Ramlee songs, and I was thinking of asking mum for some money to buy his collection of albums for dad’s birthday present.

Then it happened. At about 8.30am, my uncle walked into the classroom led by my best friend, Tarmizi, from Form Five. Tarmizi was familiar with my family and accompanied my uncle who had been wandering in the hallway.

I stood at my desk, smiling, as I saw my uncle walk into the classroom and approach the teacher. Then the teacher asked me to pack my bag and to go with my uncle.

In the hallway, my uncle told me that dad had been shot on the way to work. He said dad had died from the gunshot wounds and that we were going to the General Hospital.

My knees felt weak. I was unable to open my mouth or cry. Soon enough, though, tears began flowing down my cheeks.

At the emergency ward, I saw my dad in his underpants on the operating table. They were taking an x-ray so that they could extract the bullets from his body.

The reason I miss him so much is because he was a family man who insisted that all the children be together at the dining table.

He would drive all of us in one car on Sundays to various restaurants. Being the youngest in the family, I was always well-protected from being bullied by my four brothers.

When dad passed, mum was told to leave the official residence within six months. It wasn’t that the replacement IGP was planning to move in. The government of the day just had other plans for the house, as if they knew his time as IGP was up.

We were lucky to have an understanding Australian expatriate leasing the house that dad had built, who was willing to forego the lease.

We moved into the house in December 1974, during my school holidays.

I remember dad saying that he had been offered the post as ambassador to Indonesia. However, he refused because he believed his work as IGP was not yet done.

He also said he did not plan to continue as IGP until his retirement, just that he wanted to restore public confidence in the police force before then.

As Najib who was a journalist said, there are many unanswered questions about dad’s assassination.

Ahmad Nafiz Abdul Rahman is the youngest son of former IGP Abdul Rahman Hashim.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

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