Siti Rahmah unsung hero in fight for Merdeka dies

PETALING JAYA: Independence fighter Datuk Siti Rahmah Kassim (pic), 91, died Friday due to old age.

Her daughter Prof Puan Sri Dr Rohaty Mohd Majzub told Bernama that Siti Rahmah breathed her last breath in Petaling Jaya at 10.55am.

Her body was brought to the Al-Hidayah Mosque for funeral prayers and buried at the Bukit Kiara Muslim cemetery.

Siti Rahmah was an unsung hero in the struggle for Malaya's independence, and once spontaneously offered her gold bangle so that former prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman could travel to London to negotiate the country's independence from Britain.

This happened during an Umno conference at Dewan Hang Tuah in Bandar Hilir, Malacca, in 1957 when Tunku Abdul Rahman lamented that the party did not have funds to send him and his delegates to Britain for negotiations.

Siti Rahmah immediately stood up and took off her gold bangle.

"This was a gift from my father for my wedding, but use it to aid in your fight for the country," she reportedly said.

She then walked around the hall asking the crowd to contribute to the fight for independence.

"Those who are inside and outside this hall, please make donations to help Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-haj to go to London for the sake of the people and nation," she said.

Inspired by her selflessness, men took off their rings, gold wristwatches and even the gold handles off their walking sticks, while women pledged earrings, brooches and dress pins.

She told Bernama in a 2010 interview that her action was spurred by her love for the country, people and religion.

Born in Rembau, Negri Sembilan, on Nov 30, 1926, Siti Rahmah began her political career at the young age of 18 when she actively protested against the Malayan Union.

In 1959, she became the first woman to contest in the 1959 general election.

The Rembau Kaum Ibu head of 17 years stood for the Tementang constituency in Rembau on an Alliance ticket.

She successfully held the seat for two consecutive terms until 1969.

Even while she was in her late 80s, Siti Rahmah was active in Umno and served in several non-governmental organisations such as the Islamic Welfare Organisation of Malaysia (Perkim).

She also held posts as Negri Sembilan Perkim chairman, Negri Sembilan Single Mothers' Association and Malaysian Single Mothers Council deputy president.

Last year, she was awarded the 2016 Tokoh Wanita Negri Sembilan for her contributions to the country.

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