The spiritual leader of Malaysia's opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat died on Thursday (Feb 12). He was 84.
His son Nik Mohamad Abduh said he passed away at 9.40pm at his house in Pulau Melaka, Kota Baharu, with his family members at his side.
Nik Aziz who is also Chempaka state assemblyman had returned home from the Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital in Kubang Kerian at 8.40pm where he had been receiving treatment for prostate cancer since Jan 19. His health had deteriorated in December when major floods hit Kelantan.
Nik Aziz, a revered leader in PAS, had served as Kelantan chief minister for more than two decades.
Born on Jan 10, 1931 in Kampung Pulau Melaka, Kubang Kerian, Nik Aziz obtained his early education from his own father, who was a religious teacher and continued his studies in Darul Uloom Deoband, Uttar Pradesh, India, majoring in the Arabic language in 1952 and Universiti Lahore, Pakistan, in 1957.
After his first degree from the Al Azhar University in Egypt, he later graduated with a Masters of Arts in Islamic jurisprudence and worked as a religious teacher upon his return in Sekolah Menengah Agama Tarbiyyah Mardiah, Sekolah Menengah Agama Darul Anwar and Sekolah Menengah Maahad Muhammadi, before deciding to contest in his first general election after joining PAS in 1967.
He won the Kelantan Hilir parliamentary seat which was later renamed as Pengkalan Chepa and retained the seat until 1986 before shifting to contest the Bachok Parliamentary seat and Semut Api (now Chempaka) state seat which he held until his death.
He leaves behind his wife Sabariah Tuan Ishak and 10 children, including Pasir Mas MP Nik Mohd Abduh Nik Aziz.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he was saddened to hear of Nik Aziz's passing.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin also offered his condolences to the family of the late Nik Aziz through his Twitter account.
Several ministers also conveyed their condolences. Transport Minister and MCA president Liow Tiong Lai said, in his condolence message on his twitter post, that the country had lost a well-respected leader. MIC president G. Palanivel also posted "my condolence to the family of the former Kelantan MB, Datuk Nik Aziz".
Nik Mohamad Abduh said his father's remains will be taken to the Pulau Melaka Mosque for prayers at 10.00am on Friday, and later buried at the village Muslim cemetery.
People gather outside the residence of PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz. (Photo: Parti Islam Se-Malaysia's Facebook)
News of Nik Aziz's death spread quickly and scores of people had already arrived at his residence to pay their last respects while school children and villagers had also started reciting prayers.
People started arriving at his residence to pay their last respects.
Traffic police were also called in to control traffic as roads leading to Nik Aziz's house were congested, stretching for a few kilometres.