MUAR - A chef who was supposed to leave Johor Baru for Seremban at 9pm on Friday, had the misfortune of taking the next bus, as the tickets for the earlier trip were sold out.
Wong Kok Chan, 32, according to his brother Kok Huen, 40, had planned to take the earlier bus but ended up taking the ill-fated bus that was involved in a fatal accident at the 137km mark of the North-South Expressway early Saturday.
"I was supposed to fetch him at the Seremban bus station that night, but he called to inform me not to wait for him as he would be taking the 1am bus and would take a taxi home.
"That was the last time I talked to him," he said when met at the Sultanah Fatimah Hospital mortuary here on Sunday.
Kok Huen said the family was very worried when they heard about the accident in the news on Saturday morning, as Kok Chan had still not arrived at the family home in Temiang, Seremban.
He said the family took comfort in the fact that his brother's name was not listed among the 14 victims who died in the accident.
However, the family's fear came true after they received a call at about 3pm, informing them that Kok Chan was indeed one of the dead.
Kok Huen said his brother was supposed to be on a three-day leave, and had planned to spend the Christmas holiday with his family before going back to work in Singapore today.
His brother's wife, who was visiting her family in China together with the couple's two children, had been informed of the bad news, and was on her way back to Malaysia for the funeral.
"His wife was supposed to stay in her hometown in China until February next year as they had planned to celebrate Chinese New Year with their family in the country," said the salesman.
He said Kok Chan, who had been working in Singapore for the past six years, would normally travel home by bus from the republic, but this time, he had to take the bus from Johor Baru as tickets for the direct service were sold out.
The bus was heading towards Kuala Lumpur from Johor Baru when the crash occurred at about 3.45am on Christmas Eve.