It is with great sadness that I have read of his passing. I first met him when I was the CEO of PCSH. He was a thorough gentleman and a good friend. I live in New Zealand now, so my contact with him remained on WhatsApp and we shared much over the years. We communicated daily but he hadn’t been replying to my messages lately so I thought that something was amiss and now I know. I will miss dearly the chats that we used to have; they were frank and quite candid at times. He was not one to mince his words. It’s a great loss to society and I have lost a true friend. May his soul Rest In Peace. May the angels keep him company till we meet again.
During the late nineties, Fathol used to write letters regularly in NST. At the time I was working in Gebeng and I used to think he was a sensible Malay. I thought that upon returning to Ipoh, I should meet him. When I returned to Ipoh in 2001, the new NGO Ipoh City Watch (ICW) was just being formed and coincidentally, both of us were in it. From then on, we worked together in many projects.
When he became the President of ICW, it was the most active NGO in Ipoh. Whenever someone came with a problem, he would visit the site, normally with Earnest, Jefri and myself. He would write to the relevant agency and get the problem solved. The Committee Members of ICW were like one big family.
When Fathol left ICW, he and Siva held many meetings on the publication of Ipoh Echo. Initially, Ipoh Echo was a one man show. The office was in Syuen Hotel with a clerk. In the beginning, Fathol, Judy, Seok Choon, myself and others helped in distribution of the paper.
Fathol used to chair the Editorial meetings. His meetings were informal and he often listened to ideas from the staff. He never exercised his authority, was always helpful and trained the interns well. He never behaved like a boss and was friendly to his subordinates. He was always approachable.
On Saturday mornings, I often visit my sister who is in a home. I would then go to the Echo office and usually spend an hour or so talking to Fathol and other staff. In fact, I told him it is not necessary for him to come to the office every day. Being of the same generation, we had a lot in common to talk about.
I only knew of the incident a few days later, but on the evening of that day, I was talking about Fathol to my neighbour. She mentioned that her friend forgot to take her IC when going to Sarawak. I related the story that some years ago, when members of ICW went to Sarawak, Fathol reminded us about bringing our IC and passport, but he forgot his own IC. I wonder what made me talk about him that day. Was there an unconscious link?
Sadly, I must advise of the passing of our dear and special friend Fathol Zaman Bukhari, retired Colonel Royal Malaysian Ranger regiment, “Thanks Maggie” who recently passed away.
Fathol was a long-time special friend and colleague of Lyn and I. Fathol kept in contact with us over the years via Facebook and had visited us here in Western Australia.
Fathol was a key member of our Team, along with Raj, (The QM) who passed away a few years back, Yunus Ali and Maggie Ong and Siva from the Syuen Hotel. Together, we recognized the major significance of the Kamunting Road Christian Cemetery in Taiping, Perak that contained 186 commonwealth force members and family members, as well as an unidentified child of a member of the Royal Australian Regiment in Plot H. Grave 32.
As International Liaison Officers of the NMBVAA, in 2008/09, we managed to raise awareness on this unkempt Commonwealth grave site that had both the Commonwealth War graves and the Office of Australian War graves. This resulted in the then minister for veteran’s affair, Senator John Faulkner, becoming directly involved and ordering immediate repairs and the continued upkeep by the Australian War Graves Commission.
Fathol was a key factor in making it happen: the first and subsequent Australian military Remembrance Service held at the Kamunting Road Christian Cemetery in Perak. It was a success, involving veterans and their families from Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, along with Australian troops from the Australian Rifle Company Butterworth, RAAF Butterworth, and troops from the Malaysian 11th Infantry Brigade.
Lyn and my prayers go out to Fathol’s family. Fathol was our special friend, whom we will never forget.
Wonderful happy memories are flashing through my mind. May he rest in peace.