In the early 1990s, I was working and living in Kota Bharu. I became friends with the well respected Irish cikgu, Ray Hall who lived in a quaint wooden traditional Malay house by a beautiful river.
On one of my visits for a long chat, Ray wasn’t feeling well and suggested I take a small perahu on the river. I went upstream and ended up in Pulau Melaka, the humble wooden home of Tok Guru Nik Aziz. I have seen him before in Kota Bharu on several occassions but I was taken aback by the austere life that he lived. His religious school where he gave lessons was also simple, devoid of any luxury whatsoever. He was truly a man who walked the talk.
Many years later, I was in a meeting with him and he asked many questions. He was a curious and gentle man. He did not pretend to know all. I remember him asking me about kangaroos (I had just taken a holiday from Darwin to Alice Springs).
After I became a politician, we met on campaign trails of several by elections. By then he was already very old and unwell. However I shall forever remember the moment when he greeted us and walked by. A sense of calm and cool feeling enveloped us in his presence.
Tok Guru Nik Aziz was the closest thing, in Malaysia of a living saint.
My deepest condolences goes to his family and to PAS. May his vision of a just and fair Malaysia guide us in our political endeavours. May his austere life remind us to reject obscene materialism and wealth.
Tok Guru, may you rest in peace.