GEORGE TOWN: Hundreds of people from all walks of life came to pay their last respects to the iconic leader of the civil society movement - S. M. Mohamed Idris - who passed away due to old age at the Gleneagles Hospital here on Friday.
The 92-year-old, a towering figure in the movement of civil societies, who breathed his last around 4.45pm, oversaw the rise of two of the oldest non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Malaysia.
For the last four decades, the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and its twin Sahabat Alam Maaysia (SAM) dominated the news pages as it spoke out against profiteering, poisons, social injustice, public health and pollution.
Among those spotted at Idris’s bungalow home in Rose Avenue here, were PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, former Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Cabinet ministers Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa and Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, together with state executive councillors and community leaders.
Co-founder of CAP, Datuk Anwar Fazal, was also seen together with famous CAP luminaries Martin Khor and Meenakshi Raman, as well as CAP (SAM) researchers S. Mageswary, N.V. Subbarow, Yong Check Yoon.
Veteran CAP officers Ravinder Singh and Uma Ramaswamy togther with several of CAP legal officers were also seen grieving the passing of the nonagenarian.
Offering their condolences were Deputy Chief Minister Dr P. Ramasamy, Jelutong MP R.S.N. Rayer, state executive councillors; Phee Boon Poh and Dr Afif Bahardin; elected representatives Syerleena Abdul Rashid, Chris Lee, Lee Khai Loon, and Gooi Hsiao Leung.
Idris’s brother Mohideen Abdul Kadir, who is tipped to assume the leadership of Idris’ organisations, expressed his gratitude to the various individuals who have offered their condolences.
Idris’s fellow activists posted on social media their condolences with Lim Mah Hui and Khoo Salama Nasution describing the India-born leader’s passing as a big loss to Penang.
“His voice may longer be heard but his legacy will continue to prevail especially when the issues that he had championed, have surfaced to threaten the life that we know of,“ said The Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) vice-president Datuk K. Koris Atan, who was inspired to take up the struggle as a teenager after reading the exploits of Idris here.
Idris’ pet projects consumerism and pollution are the two biggest issues confronting the new Malaysia as the country deals with claims of rising living costs and the emergence of non-recyclable plastic and electronic wastes.