GEORGE TOWN: Any mention of S. M. Mohamed Idris (pix) will conjure up his appearance in a black songkok, a sarong and white kurta as well as his iconic beard.
Many have looked to him as a consumer and environment champion for being vocal with criticisms and views on such matters.
Sadly yesterday, at 5pm, the nation lost this very iconic figure who was not only known in Malaysia but also in the international arena.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister (KPDNHEP), Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail described the death of the Penang Consumer Association president as a big loss to the country and his stature was irreplaceable.
“Uncle S. M. Idris, is a big name and is also an institution. He is synonymous with environmental sustainability, healthy food, protector of the marginalised, consumer rights and defender of the country in world trade.
“For certain this is a huge loss for the nation and a man who would be difficult to replace. Mohamed is a figure and an institution himself through his struggles for his ideals. I expressed my deepest condolences to his family on behalf of myself and PKR,” he told reporters after paying his last respects on Mohamed Idris at his residence, here last night.
Saifuddin Nasution said since taking on the ministerial post at KPDNHEP, he had visited Mohamed Idris three times to discuss issues on consumer and environment issues and the last time they had met was in January.
According to him, each time he went to his house, he would return with a full stomach as Mohamed was an excellent host especially with his nasi briyani.
Former Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, who was also present to pay his last respects, said he knew Mohamed long before he became chief minister.
“I am very sad as we have lost a renowned leader in the world who fought for consumers and the environment. Actually I was with him in CAP as a CAP council member since 1976 after I started working for Universiti Sains Malaysia.
“I am very lucky to have fought with a leader who is so determined and he is a true Malaysian, not only for the country but also the environment. As such I will always cherish my experience with him,” he said.
Koh said as chief minister, Mohamed Idris was also critical whenever he saw something was not right.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa said the passing of Mohamed Idris is very saddening as the country has lost an icon of the nation and at the international arena.
“I knew him personally as a Penangite and as a young man involved in politics. He had given me advice and criticised my writings for me to improve. I had also gone to his house on a personal invitation to dine with him with his favourite nasi briyani,” he said.
A Bernama observation at the residence of the late icon saw a constant stream of people from various backgrounds and races coming to pay their last respects.
Mohamed Idris, 92, died at Gleneagles Medical Centre (GMC), here at 5pm due to old age.
His body will be laid to rest at the Jalan Perak Muslim Cemetery at 10am tomorrow. – Bernama
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