BATU PAHAT - After learning about the deaths of his four close relatives, Chiang Mai bus crash victim Tan Yang Soon, who is being treated at a hospital in Thailand, became emotional and demanded to return home for their funerals.
Tan, 64, was kept in the dark about the deaths of his 85-year-old mother Low Chee Lan, sister Tan Sui Heng, 54, brother-in-law Ker Bong Ngwang, 57, and daughter Tan Thin Thin, 39, since the horrific accident last Sunday.
Tan's son Sien Nian, 36, said he had been reluctant to let his father know the truth for fear that he could not handle the anguish.
"But when he finally found out about their deaths today, he could not stop crying and even went on a hunger strike to demand to return home for their funerals," said Sien Nian when met at the Hoon Cheow Tong Association funeral parlour in Jalan Sultanah here yesterday.
Six members from the family were part of 22 Malaysians who left here for a tour in northern Thailand on Dec 17.
The group was supposed to be back on Monday but the tragic accident, which happened when they were travelling in a chartered bus on a mountainous highway from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai, left 13 of them dead and nine injured.
Besides Tan, the other surviving relative is Ker Shin Hui, 28.
Sien Nian said his youngest brother, who is with their father, asked for permission from the doctor to be discharged but the request was turned down as Tan suffered multiple fractures on his left thigh, which had just been operated on.
"The doctor insists that my father remain at the hospital as he is also experiencing abdominal pains," said Sien Nian, adding that his father was very emotional as he could not send off their loved ones.
The four victims are expected to be cremated today and tomorrow in Pagoh while the ashes will be placed at a temple in Jalan Zabedah here.
Meanwhile, Batu Pahat MCA division chairman Kang Beng Kuan, who visited the funeral parlour yesterday, handed over RM500 each to the 13 victims' family members as a token of assistance.
Kang, who is also the district's municipal council deputy whip, said the money was from the council's foundation that was set up last year.