Dr M feted as kampung’s first doctor

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 30 Oct 2003

A RETIRED civil servant described Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a “good doctor” who earned the trust of the Malays as well as the Chinese who visited his clinic. 

Feng Pei Jin, 68, grew up in the same kampung as the Prime Minister at Lorong Kilang Ais in Alor Star and can still remember the attap house where the retiring PM used to live. 

“In the 1920s, it was just a small kampung, with a few Malay families, two Indian families and ours being the only Chinese family then,” he said in Nanyang Siang Pau’s “Tribute to Dr Mahathir” series. 

Feng said his father and the Prime Minister’s father, fondly called Pak Mat, were close friends. Pak Mat used to frequent the coffeeshop owned by Feng’s father.  

He said Dr Mahathir was seldom seen playing with the children in the kampung as he usually stayed inside the house to study and read.  

“He opened a clinic and became the first doctor in the kampung after he graduated from Singapore,'' said Feng. 

“Even though he was our kampung’s first doctor and his father was a headmaster, it never crossed our minds that he would one day be our Prime Minister, and one who is world renowned,” he said. 

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting also gave his personal insight about Dr Mahathir. 

The MCA president recalled that in 1991, when he was the Home Ministry’s parliamentary secretary, he was under pressure to defend some Malaysians who were working illegally abroad.  

“Our Immigration held the passports of those who worked illegally abroad and many people came to me for help,” Ong said in an interview with China Press

Ong said he wrote a petition letter to his “boss” to appeal for the return of the passports but he got, instead, a lecture from Dr Mahathir, who was also the Home Minister. 

He said the Prime Minister reprimanded him and told him to explain to the people that the Government had kept the passports because the people concerned had not respected the laws of other countries. 

Dr Mahathir said they had tarnished the image of Malaysia by working illegally abroad. 

“He also reminded me that I should be relaying the right message to the people instead of urging the Government not to punish them,” said Ong, adding that Dr Mahathir, however, accepted his suggestion to help resolve the passport problem..  

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