Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Old acquaintances remember ‘Mak Cik Lah’ for her kindness, generosity

Datuk Khailan Hassan, was well-known not just for being the mother of the Prime Minister and wife of a respected Muslim scholar and co-founder of Penang Umno but also respected for her gentle and compassionate nature. The mother of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and wife of the late Datuk Ahmad Badawi Abdullah Fahim died yesterday at 78.

Well-wishers who came from all over the country to pay their last respects at Abdullah's family home in Jalan Perak here, said they remembered the woman whom they affectionately called "Mak Cik Lah" for her kindness and generosity.

Among them was Abu Bakar Saad, 55, who drove eight hours from Felda Keratong in Jerantut after he heard the news of her death.

Abu Bakar, a distant relative of Khailan's husband, said he was grateful to them for taking him into their religious school, Sekolah Agama Daeratul Maarifil Wataniah back in the 1960s.

"I came from a poor family in Kampung Pulai, Tokai, in Kedah and they took me in and gave me free education for four years," he said. "In return, I ran errands and did chores for Mak Cik Lah." Another former student, Abdul Rahman Lebai Mahmud, 62, who studied eight years at the school, said he remained close to the couple even after he left and married.

"They asked me to bring my bride here so they could meet her. When we came, Mak Cik Lah made cucur kodok and we sat and talked for hours," said Abdul Rahman who travelled with his wife Hasnah Hassan from their home in Felda Lubok Merbau, Padang Terap.

While the family was busy finalising funeral plans and greeting visitors, Restoren Nasi Kandar Subaidah (M) Sdn Bhd and Hasani Edar Sdn Bhd stationed staff at the pathway leading to the house to distribute food and drinks since last night for wellwishers and volunteers.

NST, WEDNESDAY, 4/2/2004

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