30 July 2005
It is Saturday, 12.14 am.
I received a surprise e-mail from En. Mohammad Shidek Nazaran on 14 July 2005. The subject was "Hamzah Hj. Taib". His e-mail appeared among my >80 pieces of junk mail but somehow the name Hamzah Hj. Taib struck me and I opened it. I was very surprised by the content of his e-mail as En. Mohammad Shidek Nazaran is the grandson of Dr. Hamzah Hj. Taib (Search 24). So here is his story of his grandfather, one of the early Malay doctors. This is a very important piece of information to fill in the gap. It is very timely.
En. Mohammad Shidek Nazaran said he read about this research project with great interest as one of the 13 early Malay doctors happened to be his grandfather! He has never met his grandfather, Dr. Hamzah Hj. Taib. En. Mohammad Shidek Nazaran was born in 1964 while his grandfather had died in 1955.
According to En. Mohammad Shidek Nazaran, Dr. Hamzah Hj. Taib was probably born in 1900 in Muar. From my calculation, Dr. Hamzah b. Hj. Taib was probably born before 1900. He was probably born in 1894. He probably entered KEVII in 1918 at age 24. He graduated from KEVII in the Class of 1923 (Searches 1 and 4) at age 29. I will need to know his date of birth from formal records, for example, from his birth and death or marriage records, records for the registration of his clinic which may have his date of birth. Most Muslims do not record the date of birth on the tombstone (batu nesan).
Dr. Hamzah Hj. Taib attended Muar High School which was formerly known as Government English School. He worked for a short while in the Government Hospital in Muar before setting up his own practice as he strongly opposed British discrimination of the Malay doctors. There is not much information of his practice. He opened his own clinic first in Muar, then in Segamat, and finally in Johor Bahru. He was known to juggle clinic practice with political activities which eventually became his priority. He was the founder of several Malay organizations together with his father Hj. Taib and his eldest brother Hj. Abdullah. They tried to instill awareness about education and political rights among the Malays in Johor. What were the names of the organizations? Are any of them still in operation today? They may have some records of him.
En. Mohammad Shidek Nazaran mentioned that a brief information about his grandfather appeared in the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (MBRAS), Monograph No. 8 (undated). It described him as a Malay chauvinist as he had strong sentiments against the British and foreign immigrants (unspecified) during the pre-Merdeka days (i.e., before 31 August 1957).
Dr. Hamzah Hj. Taib married first to Hjh. Sapiah bt. Dato' Hj. Abdullah. She was the daughter of Dato' Hj. Abdullah bin Abdul Rahman, a former Yang Dipertua Jabatan Agama Johor. They were blessed with 9 children. En. Mohammad Shidek Nazaran's mother was their 7th child. What was the exact date of marriage? This may help trace his date of birth. When was En. Mohammad Shidek Nazaran's mother born? Her birth certificate (if any records were kept at that time) would have her father's age when he registered her birth. Her siblings may remember hers or her father's date of birth.
Dr. Hamzah Hj. Taib then married Khadijah bt. Sidek (refer to Search 4 on Puan Khadijah bt. Sidek). Khadijah was detained in a Singapore prison after fleeing Sumatera. She was involved in political activities against the Dutch Occupation of Indonesia. Khadijah was the first Wanita UMNO (United Malay National Organization) Chief. She was later expelled by Tunku Abdul Rahman as she was outspoken towards Tunku. She later joined PAS. She won the election for Dungun (undated).
This confirms my earlier communication with En. Fadli Ghani (Search 4), that Puan Khadijah bt. Sidek was the wife of Dr. Hamzah b. Taib (Class of 1923. See Searches 1 and 4). Khadijah was ex-Ketua Wanita UMNO, ex-Member of Parliament Dungun, ex-Ketua Muslimat PAS.
Puan Khadijah may have kept records of her husband's date of birth and some biodata. It will be worth trying to search her records. When did she serve as Wanita UMNO Chief? When did she serve as Member of Parliament Dungun? When did she serve as Ketua Muslimat PAS?
Dr. Hamzah Hj. Taib had died of diabetes in 1955 (probably at age 61) in Hospital Sultanah Aminah in Johor Bahru. His death record can be checked at Hospital Sultanah Aminah in Johor Bahru as all hospitals keep the birth and death records of their patients. His hospital records might have gone into the inactive records section since they have been inactive for more than 10 years. Most hospitals with modern hospital information systems (HIS) adhere to this procedure. A good thing to do is to write to the hospital director and seek permission to view his records on historical grounds.
Dr. Hamzah Hj. Taib was buried in Tanah Perkuburan Mahmodiah Johor Bahru. Most Muslim graveyards are tendered to by the grave digger himself or his family members and they are usually attached to a nearby mosque. Grave diggers are required by law and the police to obtain the death permit from the deceased family before burial can take place. So the grave digger or his family must have his death record. I am not too sure whether the police keeps a copy of the death certificate or burial permit. Whatever it is, I surely hope that one day someone can give us this piece of information.
En. Mohammad Shidek Nazaran did not furnish his correspondence address nor contact number. I replied to his e-mail only last week. I hope I have done justice in writing this article about his grandfather for him.
It is 2.01 am. The price of Petronas Super petrol is RM1.64 per litre as of 1 July 2005.
En. Mohammad Shidek Nazaran
Grandson of Dr. Hamzah Hj. Taib
Dr. Hamzah Taib (Class of 1923)
Dr. Hamzah Taib was an important politician in Johore. His biodata as a politician has been recorded in a book "Sumbanganmu Dikenang" by Professor Ramlah Adam.
Telehealth Research Group
School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia
School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia