SUNGAI PETANI: "No more mass wedding reception." This is Yusof Ahmad's decision after the one he held for his 22-year-old daughter, Hasliana, last Saturday claimed four lives and left more than 60 guests warded because of food poisoning.
Yusof, 52, said the family was traumatised by the incident and they had decided to call off another wedding reception for his first child, 24-year-old Haidatul Nadia, scheduled in May next year. For Yusof, there is no word that could describe how sorry he was to the deceased's families and other guests who had attended the feast. "We hosted a feast to celebrate a new member joining the family.
"However, it turned out to be the darkest moment in our life," Yusof said, his voice choked, when met at his home in Kampung Huma, Tanjung Dawai, here yesterday. "I am very sorry. Words cannot describe how I feel."
Yusof, his wife and their children, Haidatul and Mohd Safwan, 19, were discharged from Yan Hospital on Wednesday after being warded for food poisoning, along with their guests. He said the family initially planned to organise another mass wedding for Haidatul next year. However, they had decided to cancel it and hold a small one instead. Only family members and close friends will be invited.
Yusof also said he and his family were too ashamed to leave the house. He added that they were reluctant to attend friends' and relatives' wedding receptions. Tanjung Dawai assemblyman Datuk Tajul Urus Mat Zain, who visited the family yesterday, offered his sympathy.
Tajul, who is also the state education, transportation and public works committee chairman, said he hoped that the family would remain strong in facing the tragedy. It was reported that four people, including an 11-year-old boy, Hasliana's cousin, Nurshuzana Mohd Rashid, 24, and two other men died from severe dehydration, as a result of food poisoning. More than 60 other guests were warded at hospitals in Yan, Sungai Petani and Alor Star after developing similar symptoms.