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Sunday October 28, 2007

Former Johor MB Othman dies at 84


Othman: Health deteriorated after a recent surgery.
JOHOR BARU: Former Johor mentri besar Tan Sri Othman Saat has died at Sultan Ismail Hospital here weeks after surgery on a gangrenous leg. 

Othman, 84, one of the country’s most senior Umno politicians, died at 7am yesterday. 

“After a surgery on his leg on Oct 1, he was stable but his health deteriorated later. 

“We were prepared for the worst when doctors told us he was very weak two days ago,” said his daughter Norulhuda, 29, when met at the mortuary yesterday. 

He was admitted to hospital for a lung infection and a gangrenous leg last month. 

Her mother Kamariah Bujang and eldest brother Zolkefli were among family members at Othman’s bedside when he drew his last breath.  

Othman, who was born in Muar, was actively involved in politics since 1946. 

He became the third Johor mentri besar in 1967 and stepped down in 1982. In three of his five elections, he was returned unopposed. 

He had contributed extensively to the development of Johor, especially in the rural areas and Felda settlements. 

He had also set up the Felda scheme to encourage youth involvement in agriculture. 

Othman is survived by his second wife Kamariah, nine children – aged between 28 and 61 – 27 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. 

His first wife Rokiah Alwee passed away in 1990 at the age of 62 and his marriage with third wife Aminah Hussein ended in a divorce. 

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman was among the senior state government officials and Umno veterans who paid their last respects to Othman. 

Abdul Ghani said Othman had contributed greatly to the state’s development. 

“He was also an excellent leader in the party who brought Johor Umno up to be among the strongest in the country,” he said. 

Goh Lai Heng, who was the political secretary to Othman, said the mentri besar was very efficient and dedicated to his job. 

“He would go to the ground and meet the people whenever he was free. 

“He was so hard working that we used to call our day off only after midnight,” said Goh, a former Tanjung Puteri state assemblyman. 

Johor State Legislative Speaker Datuk Ali Hassan said Othman was a charismatic and disciplined person. 

Othman was buried at the Mahmoodiah Muslim Cemetery here after zohor prayers. 

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