Former Lord President Abdul Hamid dies at age 80

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Lord President Tun Abdul Hamid Omar has died of kidney failure. He was 80.

Abdul Hamid died at 9.30am yesterday at the Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre in Jalan Ampang here, where he had been admitted since Sunday, said his eldest son Azizuddin, 51.

Azizuddin said his father had been unwell over the last few days with fever and chronic flu and that the doctor had confirmed that an infection had led to renal failure.

Abdul Hamid leaves behind wife Toh Puan Azian Aiyub Ghazali, 72, children Azizuddin, Ainuddin, 50, Hanizah, 44, and Hanizan, 40, and 17 grandchildren.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor were among the many who paid their last respects at the former top judge’s Bukit Tunku home where his body laid before burial.

Najib, who conveyed the Government’s condolence to the family, said Abdul Hamid had contributed much to the country’s judicial system.

Abdul Hamid’s body was taken to the Saidina Umar al-Khattab mosque in Bukit Damansara for prayers at 3.45pm before being buried at the Bukit Kiara Muslim cemetery after Asar prayers yesterday.

“He was a wonderful father,” said Azizuddin.

Stanley Clement Augustin, who was senior assistant registrar to Abdul Hamid when he was the Chief Judge of Malaya and later, Lord President, said Abdul Hamid made time for everyone.

“Abdul Hamid was a stalwart during his time,” said Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil “He contributed a lot to the judicial process in the country.”

Abdul Hamid, who retired in 1994, obtained his Barrister-At-Law at Lincoln’s Inn, London in 1955. He also received a doctorate in Law from Oklahoma City University in the United States.

He took over as Lord President in the midst of the nation’s judicial crisis in 1988. His relationship with the Bar Council was rocky from the start — it passed a no-confidence motion against him not long after he took office from Tun Salleh Abbas.

During Abdul Hamid’s tenure as head judge, many positions of High Court Judicial Commi-ssioners were opened up in his bid to clear the nation’s huge backlog of cases.

Abdul Hamid set up the Tun Abdul Hamid Foundation in 1996 to improve legal education, give donations to institutions of higher learning and support schemes to improve the standard of living.

He was also involved in social work including the Malaysian Red Crescent Society and joined the private sector after his retirement where he was chairman of several companies.

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