Friends and foes pay last respects to respected leader

PETALING JAYA - Friends and political foes came together to pay their respects and extend their condolences to former Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat's family following his death due to cancer.

Upon hearing of Nik Aziz's death, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was making a speech, halted midway to offer prayers for the PAS spiritual leader.

Najib was addressing the crowd at the Cheras Education Foundation's 15th anniversary at Berjaya Times Square Hotel in Kuala Lumpur last night when Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor went up on stage to speak to him.

Najib then announced to all present that Nik Aziz had passed away and invited the crowd to join him in saying Al-Fatihah prayers.

"May Nik Aziz's soul be blessed and placed among those who are pious and noble," he said before reciting the prayers as others in the audience joined him.

MCA president and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the country had lost a respected leader.

Liow's deputy Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong also offered his deepest condolences to Nik Aziz's family.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said that Nik Aziz's passing was a great loss to the nation.

"Deepest condolences to the bereaved family. RIP. Al-Fatihah," he said.

PAS deputy president Mohamed Sabu said the party had lost a great leader.

"More importantly, Malaysians have lost a person who was an exemplary leader, who did not use his position for personal gains, but who led the people towards betterment," he said.

MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel also expressed his sympathies to the family.

PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa, in his condolence message, offered Al-Fatihah to his beloved mentor.

MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun described Nik Aziz's passing as a "great loss to PAS".

"The party has been dealt a great blow. I don't think anyone in PAS can match him," said Chew, who is also Penang MCA chief.

Tributes also flowed in equally fast on cyberspace, with an outpouring of condolences and grief on Facebook from both friends, foes and observers alike.