Ungku Abdul Aziz’s grandnephew pays tribute to ‘Tok Uncle Johnny’

Royal Professor Ungku Abdul Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid

Everyone knows Royal Professor Ungku Abdul Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid as one of Malaysia’s intellectual giants, but to Ahmad Azrai, his granduncle will forever be known as Tok Uncle Johnny.

Ungku Abdul Aziz died yesterday, aged 98.

So, how do you derive Johnny from Ungku Abdul Aziz?

“We called him that because there was a black and white photograph of him and his wife at a waterfall back in the day.

“Not only was he a tall, muscular, and good looking man, with his flowing locks, he was also a spitting image of Tarzan actor and Olympic champion, Johnny Weissmuller,” explained Azrai.

“Close members of the family took to calling him Johnny and us younger ones, Tok Uncle Johnny.”

Azrai remembers visiting his granduncle for Hari Raya as a young boy. He had a strong connection with the former vice-chancellor of Universiti Malaya as they bonded over a love for books.

“Each time I visited the family home for Hari Raya, I would bring along a book or two,” said Azrai.

“The fact that we were both bookworms endeared me to him, for which he gave me an invaluable piece of advice many decades ago. He told me to read ‘Crime and Punishment’ … to better understand the human psyche.

“Like a good nephew, I followed his advice. It was not easy reading Fyodor Dostoevsky but I fully understood why he wanted me to read him.”

He added Ungku Abdul Aziz was a great scholar of many achievements and someone whom he strove to emulate.

“Rest in peace, Tok Uncle Johnny, and thank you for enriching my life.”

Ungku Aziz’s achievements include the establishment of the Pilgrims’ Fund and Management Board (Tabung Haji) in 1969, being a founding member of the Malaysian Economic Association and being instrumental in the establishment of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and the National Cooperative Organisation of Malaysia (Angkasa).

In 1978, he was conferred the title of Royal Professor of Economics and received the Tokoh Maal Hijrah award in 1997.

His daughter, Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, was the first woman to become Bank Negara Malaysia governor (2000-2016).

Here’s a round-up of The News Normal today.

MALAYSIA HAS MORE COVID-19 CASES THAN CHINA

It’s official. Malaysia now has more Covid-19 cases than China.

The country reported 1,295 new infections today, bringing its total cases to 87,913 with 429 deaths.

China has 86,770 cases but 4,634 deaths.

AGONG CONSENTS TO EMERGENCY IN GERIK AND BUGAYA

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has declared a state of emergency for Gerik in Perak and Bugaya in Sabah.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said this was to postpone the by-elections for the two constituencies scheduled for Jan 16, 2021.

WAO SAYS IT AGAIN – MAKE STALKING A CRIME

The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) has reiterated its call for the government to criminalise stalking.

The latest survey ‘Understanding Malaysians’ Experience of Stalking’ by WAO and research company Vase.ai revealed 36 per cent of Malaysians have experienced stalking. The insights from 1,008 men and women were to assess the understanding and prevalence of stalking.

WAO deputy executive director Yu Ren Chung said efforts to push for stalking to be an offence under the Penal Code gained headway after former law minister, the late Datuk V.K. Liew mooted the setting up of a special committee.

The committee was to comprise key stakeholders, including the Attorney-General’s Chambers, police, Bar Council, Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and WAO.

Yu said a Cabinet paper is being prepared by the present administration and hopes Law Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan will push the matter through.

The survey showed 74 per cent of the respondents received unwanted phone calls or messages while 76 per cent received unwanted emails, chats or messages via platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

Twelve per cent said they had been spied on via a listening device or camera more than once. Another 32 per cent have been watched or followed from a distance. Thirty-three per cent said they experienced unwanted people showing up at their homes, workplace or school.

FOUR CONSECUTIVE ROUNDS TO END PETRONAS CUB PRIX SEASON

The Petronas Malaysia Cub Prix Championship has announced four consecutive rounds to end the season.

The latest calendar is slightly different as the last four rounds will be completed at the Sepang International Circuit with Round 5 and 6 on Dec 18-20 and Round 7 and 8 on Dec 22-24.

Event organiser Two Wheels Motor Racing’s director Ron Hogg said they had to squeeze the races into the four rounds to minimise the travelling and added the teams would be in a ‘sports bubble’.

FORMER PENANG COACH MOEY YOKE HAM DIES

Former Penang head coach Moey Yoke Ham passed away at the Penang Hospital this morning.

The 76-year-old is best remembered for leading the Penang football team to the 1998 league title with Moroccan Merzagua Abderrazak the star of that team.

HOTELS SERVING AS COVID-19 QUARANTINE STATIONS LIKELY TO SURVIVE

The hotel industry has been hit ever since Covid-19 arrived. The handful that took the unconventional path to become quarantine stations for persons under surveillance (PUS) have remained afloat and managed to keep their staff.