PETALING JAYA: It is not only the loved ones of Datuk Azlin Alias who have to come to terms with his tragic death.
His colleagues at the Prime Minister’s Office – where he had worked as principal private secretary to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak – find it hard to believe that their supportive and friendly comrade is no longer with them.
One of his colleagues, Datuk Khairun Aseh, said he was “totally devastated by his passing”.
“We were very close. We were supposed have met at 3pm on Sunday for coffee. When I was told on Saturday (of the incident), I couldn’t believe it. I called him on his handphone immediately but it went unanswered.
“Instead, I received confirmation of the terrible accident,” said Khairun, who is Najib’s political secretary.
Azlin, he said, had many good traits that he wanted to share but admitted that he still found it too difficult to talk about it.
“As I am writing this message, my tears are flowing. I just can’t talk about it. Words are inadequate to describe how sad I am. My thoughts and prayers are with his family,” said Khairun in a WhatsApp message.
Media director Datuk Tengku Sarifuddin Tengku Ahmad described Azlin as a meticulous person, especially in dealing with the responsibilities tasked to him.
“Personally, I am saddened and feel the loss but surely, the Prime Minister is more affected by Azlin’s death because he was the one who constantly dealt with him,” he said.
Special officer to the Prime Minister, Datuk Wan Ahmad Shihab Ismail Wan Ismail, said he could write volumes about “the great man that Azlin was”, adding he was devastated by the death of a good friend.
“Azlin was a kind and humble person and generous with his time. He was always easy going and not at all protocol conscious, preferring to be called ‘bro’, rather than by any formal title.
“He ran the office efficiently and made us stronger and a more cohesive team under his leadership. He leaves a huge void,” said Wan Shihab.
Azlin, 48, was among six people killed when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed near Semenyih on Saturday.