Dean's List student, 21, dies after having difficulty breathing

PHOTO: Dean's List student, 21, dies after having difficulty breathing

She was in Malaysia for her brother's convocation.

But what should have been a joyous moment turned mournful.

Miss Majiidah Khamsani, 21, died after breathing difficulties at Frenz Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 14.

She had been going for regular dialysis treatment since 2012 for her kidney condition brought on by lupus.

Miss Majiidah was 12 when she was diagnosed with the chronic illness, which affects the skin, joints, blood and kidneys.

Speaking from the family's five-room Housing Board flat in Sembawang recently, her father, Mr Khamsani Kharim, told The New Paper there were no signs her condition - kept under control each day through a cocktail of drugs - was worsening that night.

"We were out shopping that night and when we got back to the hotel, she told us she wanted to rest for a bit as she was out of breath," said Mr Khamsani in Malay.

He did not think anything was wrong at that time because she usually encountered such problems at night.

His voice cracked as he added: "We asked her to go up to the room to rest, but the situation got worse."

He was by his daughter's side when it happened. Realising it could be serious, Mr Khamsani asked one of his children to call for an ambulance.

By the time the paramedics arrived shortly after, Miss Majiidah's condition took a turn for the worse.

The paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on her, but she remained unresponsive.

She was then rushed to Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, where she died.

Now, all her grieving parents - both religious teachers - can do is ponder what could have been.

Miss Majiidah was an exceptional student, said her family.

She was a high achiever who was fluent in English, Malay and Arabic.

The second-year undergraduate in Islamic Studies at the Open University Malaysia had passed her recent examinations and earned a place on the Dean's List.

Miss Majiidah, the fifth out of seven children, came from a family that competed in Quran recital competitions here and abroad.

Said Mr Khamsani: "Even though she was sick, she never complained and said it was a test from God."

INTEREST IN WRITING

Miss Majiidah, a former student of Madrasah Al-Irsyad Al-Islamiah and Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah pre-university, was passionate about writing.

She contributed short stories to Malay daily Berita Harian and was in the midst of writing her first Malay language novel.

The book, about a kidney patient, would have been based on her life.

Her brother, Mr Muhammad Tamliikhaa, 23, who had graduated with a degree in Malay Studies, did not attend the University of Malaya convocation on Oct 15.

He said: "Losing a sibling is a difficult thing. But we as a family are taking things positively at this time, and for us, there is comfort knowing that she doesn't have to suffer (from her illness) any more."

Mr Muhammad Tamliikhaa plans to complete his sister's novel "because she would have wanted me to".

Since her death, neighbours and friends have also taken to social media to pay tribute to the girl they described as intelligent and polite.

More than 400 turn up to pay respects

Hundreds of people turned up at Assyafaah Mosque in Sembawang on Oct 16 for Miss Majiidah Khamsani's funeral, said her father Mr Khamsani Kharim.

Her body arrived in Singapore at 9am that morning on a flight from Kuala Lumpur.

Miss Majiidah's remains were taken directly to her family's home in Sembawang for cleaning up rituals according to Muslim customs.

The body was then taken to Assyafaah Mosque, said Mr Khamsani, 56.

Miss Majiidah was laid to rest at Pusara Aman, the Muslim cemetery at Choa Chu Kang, that same day.

Word of the funeral had spread on social media. More than 400 people - Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim and Pergas president Ustaz Hasbi Hassan among them - turned up to pay their last respects, added Mr Khamsani.

Mufti Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram lead the congregation in prayer that day.

The Mufti is Singapore's highest Islamic authority.

Said Mr Khamsani: "As the father, it is my responsibility to lead the prayers for my daughter. But knowing that the Mufti came to the mosque to pay his respects to my daughter, that gesture was very much appreciated."

A Islamic Religious Council of Singapore spokesman said the Mufti made the visit in his "personal capacity". He was there to pay his respects to Miss Majiidah and her family who are "prominent Quran reciters in Singapore".

zothman@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Oct 29, 2014.
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