Tribute to remarkable late activist


Anwar (right) says Idris was like family and never failed to lend his support when Anwar contested in the Permatang Pauh constituency.

MORE than 100 people gathered to attend the memorial service of the late Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) president SM Mohamed Idris.

Close friends, family members, CAP members and the public attended the memorial held at Wawasan Open University (WOU) in Penang.

CAP acting president Mohideen Abdul Kader, who is Idris’ brother, said the event was to remember his brother’s service and to celebrate his activism in a life dedicated to the people.

“My brother was a remarkable man. He championed the poor, marginalised and underprivileged.

“We will remember him for his commitment to people, selflessness and also thirst for knowledge.

Koh (left) says Idris asked him to start a Chinese version of ‘Utusan Konsumer’, which was eventually published with the help of several journalists.Koh (left) says Idris asked him to start a Chinese version of ‘Utusan Konsumer’, which was eventually published with the help of several journalists.

“Idris did not want any titles or honours and I hope CAP will continue his good work, ” he said at the event.

Idris’ daughter Fathima Idris said her father was a person liked by all.

“Some of my father’s involvements included bringing drainage systems to villages when he was an active municipal councillor.

“He also started the tree planting initiative, ” she said.

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was also present, said Idris was like an “uncle” to him.

“He was passionate about his social work on issues such as reclamation, consumerism and many more, “ said Anwar.

Idris (right) and a CAP staff member’s daughter, Komalpreet Kaur, hugging an angsana tree slated to be axed for a road-widening project back in 2012. — FilepicIdris (right) and a CAP staff member’s daughter, Komalpreet Kaur, hugging an angsana tree slated to be axed for a road-widening project back in 2012. — Filepic

“He was like family to me and he never failed to lend his support when I contested in the Permatang Pauh constituency.”

CAP secretary Martin Khor said Idris was the most intelligent man he had ever known.

“I knew Idris for more than 40 years. He had an incredible mind with an insatiable thirst for information on all kinds of issues, from the most minute to the largest.

“He was also a person who turned ideas into action, ” said Khor.

Former Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said Idris ignited the fire for activism in him.

“He persuaded me to join CAP and I was tasked to help promote consumer education in schools.

“Idris asked me to start a Chinese version of Utusan Konsumer, and with the help of several journalists we published it within a few months, ” he said.

Khor says Idris had an incredible mind with an insatiable thirst for information on all kinds of issues.Khor says Idris had an incredible mind with an insatiable thirst for information on all kinds of issues.

Koh recalled an incident when Idris went to his house early in the morning the day after he was sworn in as the chief minister.

“I was still in bed when my wife told me that Idris was at the door.

“I knew he wanted to discuss a development project in Penang Hill. “He was very firm on his stand and in the end, we managed to stop the project, ” Koh said.

Several people including Penang Heritage Trust vice-president Khoo Salma Nasution, environmentalist and Goa Foundation director Claude Alvarez and humanitarian Datuk Anwar Fazal, to name a few, also spoke at the memorial service.

Idris, 93, passed away at Penang Gleneagles Hospital after being warded for heart complications. He was CAP founding president for 50 years.

CAP headed the pressure group that lobbied for the eventual creation of the Environment Department in 1975.

Idris’ efforts over the last five decades also led to, among others, ban on toxic drugs, the labelling of expiry dates on all food products, better benefits under Socso and Employees Provident Fund, as well as better legal standing for tenants and house buyers.

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