Endon Mahmood, wife of Malaysian PM, dies

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

The wife of Adbullah Ahmad Badawi, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datin Seri Endon Mahmood dies

The wife of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, died in her official residence, Seri Perdana in Putrajaya, Malaysia at 7.55 a.m 20th October 2005 after battling breast cancer for three years.

Endon, 64, had recently returned from undergoing treatment in Los Angeles, America. Abdullah, Endon's mother Datin Mariam Abdullah, her two children Kamaluddin and Nori, daughter-in-law Azrene Abdullah, son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin and her four grandchildren (who are Kamaluddin's children) were by her side as she breathed her last.

Endon was buried at the Islamic Cremation Centre at Precinct 20, Putrajaya.

Reaction

As a sign of respect, several Cabinet Ministers including Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Information Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir cancelled official functions. The official launch of the national jersey for the SEA Games was also called off, which was scheduled to be officiated by the deputy premier.

Radio and television stations switched to a somber mood by broadcasting songs with verses from the holy Quran. Muslim radio announcers called on listeners to offer the Al-Fatihah verse to Endon.

Senior government officers, including secretaries general and directors general, based in Putrajaya also rushed to Seri Perdana to pay their last respects.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla and Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai were among foreign dignitaries flying in for Endon's funeral later Thursday.

Thousands of people filed past Endon's body, which lay in state wrapped in white linen on a table while Muslim clerics recited verses from the Quran.

Abdullah and Endon

Endon was respected for her humble, unassuming personality. She was popularly referred to as "Kak Endon," or "Elder Sister Endon." She discovered she had cancer in 2002 after her twin sister, Noraini, was earlier diagnosed with the disease. Noraini died in 2003.

Endon had a breast removed and traveled to the United States regularly for treatment. She returned to Malaysia from Los Angeles on Oct. 1 after five rounds of chemotherapy since July. Endon had been deeply involved in awareness programs for breast cancer, the main cause of illness-related fatalities for Malaysian women. She has said she refused to feel sorry for herself, and felt fortunate she could obtain the best medical treatment.

Endon met Abdullah while both were working at the Public Services Department in the 1960s. Since retiring in 1976, she has mainly been involved in charity work, and has spearheaded efforts to assist children in North Korea, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.

Endon insisted she was never passionate about politics, and that she had to "slowly accept it" when Abdullah became much busier after he was elected a member of Parliament in 1978. "I must be supportive and understanding of his duties," Endon told in an interview. "I always compliment him. He will always phone when he is away and we always tell each other we love each other."

Abdullah has often called Endon his "No. 1 supporter." When his mother died of natural causes in February 2004, Abdullah telephoned Endon in the United States, where she was undergoing treatment. She later told reporters that he said: "I've lost my mother and I don't want to lose you too." Abdullah and Endon often showed public displays of affection, including hugs and kisses on each other's cheeks.

Agus Yusuff, a political scientist at the National University of Malaysia, expressed confidence that Abdullah would "not let his personal loss affect his responsibilities." "He has been mentally prepared for Endon's death for some time," Agus said. "He will bounce back and carry out his work as prime minister with his usual zest."

Aftershock

The Exco of the Malaysian's Umno Youth, Haji Mat Mazlan Abu dies in an accident at the junction of KLIA. He is on the way to visit Endon Mahmood in Putrajaya

Thousands of Malaysians, including VIPs, royalties, foreign dignitaries, paying the last respects to Datin Seri Endon Mahmood who passed away Thursday at the Prime Minister's official residence in Putrajaya

Sources

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