Al Fatihah – Sdr Abdul Razak Ahmad (Updated)
I got a call from Elizabeth Wong informing me that a long-time comrade, Sdr Abdul Razak Ahmad, just passed away within the hour (1.20pm at Sultanah Aminah Hospital).
Once again, Malaysia has lost a principled and loyal son, a committed anti racist and civil rights advocate, and I suspect many would not even know of this passing.
Pak Razak was the last Deputy President of Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) prior to her merger with Parti Keadilan Nasional to form what is now Parti KeADILan Rakyat (KeADILan). Until the congress this year, he was a member of the Supreme Council of the party and has since served as the Chairman of KeADILan Johor.
Pak Razak graduated from the University of Singapore (now merged with Nanyang University to form the National University of Singapore) in 1966 where he was active in student activism as the president of the Socialist Club and a council member of the Students Union. 1966 also saw him being banished from Singapore and declared persona-non-grata for alleged subversive and communist front activities which he had consistently denied. He remained barred from Singapore for the rest of his life.
Pak Razak was detained under the Internal Security Act in September 1975 for being an alleged subversive. Incidentally during that period, he served as legal counsel for 48 urban settlers who were charged with illegally occupying state land, so perhaps there’s more to this than meets the eye.
This was a tense period as the year before saw massive demonstrations nationwide against the forced evictions of the Tasek Utara settlers and also mass protests against inflation and corruption sparked by reports of deaths from hunger among peasants and farmers in Baling, Kedah.
He would be a familiar name to the Johor Bahru folks as he has been a constant Opposition candidate for Johor Bahru since the 80′s, first representing PRM (until 1999) and later KeADILan in the 2004 General Elections.
It was during the 1986 during the state visit of Israeli President Chaim Herzog to Singapore that he laid himself down on the Johor Bahru-Singapore railway track during in protest to “to highlight and draw public attention to the plight of the Palestinians who have been oppressed by Israel since it was formed in 1948” (his own words).
The last I heard of him was when he was acting as legal counsel for the two SUARAM members who were arrested by the police during the anti-crime demonstration last June.
I knew Pak Razak has not been very healthy over the last few years but I really did not expect him to pass away so suddenly.
We have lost a great patriot and defender of the common man.
Salute kepada Sdr Abdul Razak Ahmad. Semoga Tuhan mencucuri rahmat keatas roh Allahyarham.