Family, friends and colleagues bid farewell to Mt Everest climber Awang Askandar

Last good-byes: Eight-year-old Amirah standing next to the remains of her father, the late APM Kedah director Lt Col Awang Askandar Ampuan Yaacub, who passed away during his attempt to climb Mt Everest.

KOTA KINABALU: The remains of Mt Everest climber Lt Col Awang Askandar Ampuan Yaacub, 56, were laid to rest at the Kampung Benoni Muslim Cemetery in Papar, about 60km from here on Saturday (May 27).

His grief-stricken wife Siti Hafizan Abdul Hamid did not attend the funeral.

However, Awang Askandar's eight-year-old daughter Ameera Hana joined family members, relatives as well as colleagues from the Malaysian Civil Defence Force to pay their final respects as Awang Askandar’s body was buried next to the grave of his mother Dayang Fatinah Awang Ampuan Jair.

ALSO READ: Mt Everest climber Awang Askandar to be buried beside mother's grave in Papar

Also present were Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Amirzan Mohd Ali and Yayasan Sabah director Datuk Ghulam Haidar Khan. Both politicians were from Papar.

The funeral ceremony, which began at 4.20pm, lasted an hour.

Awang Askandar leaves behind his wife and six children aged between two and 12 years old.

Awang Askandar, who was one of the Malaysian Everest 2023 team members, died from a fall at the 8,000m mark of the Everest summit trail on May 19. He was said to be close to the peak but decided to descend.

Another expedition member Muhammad Hawari Hashim, 33, was reported missing after he reached the summit of Everest. Search and rescue efforts are ongoing.

ALSO READ: Malaysia thanks Nepal for help in bringing back Awang Askandar's body

In a Facebook post on May 22, Awang Askandar's wife Siti Hafizan affectionately called her husband "Sawoku" (a Kadazan term for spouse) and said that they were proud of him and would miss him.

"I am very, very proud of you, my dearest Sawoku.

"My children and I count our blessings for having Awang Askandar as a wonderful and loving father and husband for 13 years," said housewife Siti Hafizan, adding that she would remain strong and care for the children.

She said he was always a good father who spent time with his children.

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