Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Obituary: Aris bin Abdul Aziz

 Surah Al Fatihah


This sad news is from Prof. Baharuddin Aris about his father's demise, which I received today, and which made me cry:

"My dad, Aris bin Haji Abdul Aziz (nephew to Dr Hamzah), is among the contributors to Professor Faridah's book. He recently passed away in Johor Bahru on March 8, 2012." 

[from: Prof. Baharuddin Aris,Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 12:38 PM] 

Allahyarham Encik Aris bin Haji Abdul Aziz (1934-2012)


Aris was born in 1934 in Johor, the fifth of six siblings. His parents were Haji Abdul Aziz and Hajjah Hasnah bt Orang Kaya Md Yassin. Aris was a direct descendant of Orang Kaya Ringgit from his mother. Aris was the nephew of Dr Hamzah bin Md Taib (1900-1955), an early Malay doctor.

Aris with his parents as featured in Jendela Selatan Bil. 7, Disember 2003.

As a teenager (at age 15-16) in the 1950s, Aris had met Dr Hamzah as Aris’ father was close to Dr Hamzah. Aris was a bright student who completed his Cambridge exams at age 14 years. He was the youngest at his school. His intelligence attracted Dr Hamzah who wanted to adopt him, as he had four daughters then but no sons yet.

En Aris worked as an officer in the Johor State Government. He retired early in 1984 at the age of 50.

Aris as a young government officer in Johor.


His father, Haji Abdul Aziz bin Haji Md Taib married Hajjah Hasnah bt Orang Kaya Md Yassin bin Orang Kaya Md Salleh bin Orang Kaya Ringgit. Haji Abdul Aziz was the Penguasa Kastam Johor while Hajjah Hasnah was a Bugis homemaker.

His siblings were: Haji Junid (deceased), Hajjah Mariam (deceased), Md Yassin, Hajjah Maimunah, (Aris) and Hajjah Halimah. 

Grandfather, father and sons - 3 generations of Aris' family

En Aris married Maznah bt Muhammad, who also worked with the Johor State Government. She too retired the same year at the age of 48. His wife had passed away in 1999 at the age of 63 (1936-1999). 

With his beloved wife (both deceased)

En Aris' two sons are Prof. Dr Haji Baharuddin and Ir Izaddin.

Prof. Baharuddin is a Professor of Multimedia and Internet-based Learning at UTM Skudai in Johor. On 15 May 2001, he became the First Malaysian to be listed in the Who’s Who In Instructional Technology on the World Wide Web, verified by the Malaysia Book of Records.

Ir. Izaddin is a consultant engineer with a Swiss multinational based in Switzerland.


En Aris (then 74 years in 2009) had lived in his four-bedroom bungalow near Yayasan Pelajar Johor (YPJ) in Larkin Jaya, Johor Bahru.

To get to his house, take the North-South Highway to Kempas Baru and turn off into Jalan Langkasuka, the house is before the traffic lights.


En Aris passed away on 8 March 2012, aged 77. His death was informed by his son, Prof. Baharuddin Aris on 25 April 2012.


En Aris was very helpful to this research. He was contacted through his son, Prof. Baharuddin.

Dr Hamzah’s roots were informed by Encik Aris bin Abdul Aziz on 5-8 January 2008. He gave a detailed account of Dr Hamzah's life.

Among other things, Encik Aris explained many things in Johor history. He explained about Malay marriages and the meaning of salin tikar. He also explained the meaning of the term anak Muar. He emphasized the greatness of the Malay people especially those from Muar whom he knew, their families, links and roots.

He contributed in writing and drawing up the various family trees and added so much detail. He supplied the very important bulletin, Jendela Selatan, which was otherwise difficult to obtain. He supplied many photos for the author to keep.

It was very easy to write Dr Hamzah's biography after Encik Aris had explained all the details.

He also checked the several drafts of Dr Hamzah's biography and would immediately call the author if he noticed any inconsistency, error or something was wrongly worded. He carefully checked all the details in Dr Hamzah's biography till he was happy with it. He was happy in the end and thanked the author for writing about his favourite uncle.

We will certainly miss him as he was a great contributor to this research since 2008.

We convey our condolences/ucapan takziah to his sons and give him the reward for reading Al-Fatihah. Please read Al-Fatihah for him. May he attain Husnul Khatimah and may his soul be placed among the soleheens and all the great people in Islam, insyaAllah.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rojiuun.
We belong to Allah SWT and to Him we shall return.

Prof Faridah
3.09 p.m.
25 April 2012
USM in Kelantan

Masjid Sultan in Singapore

The Sultan Mosque is a good historical landmark and is also convenient for checking data on the early Malay doctors.

The new Masjid Sultan was built in 1928, after the Straits Settlement and Federated Malay States Government Medical School was started by the British in Singapore in 1905. 

Some of the early Malay doctors who studied medicine in Singapore between 1905 and 1928 could have come to pray in the old mosque. The dental school was not started before 1928, so no dental students should be in the name list. Old photos of the early Malay doctors before 1928 should show the old mosque (low building with 3-tiered roof) and not the recent mosque with domes, minarets and arched doorways.

Photos around 1928 when the new mosque was ready should show a brand new mosque and without trees. The trees could have come in much later.

The doctors who were studying in the late 1920s (around the time the new mosque was being built) could have also seen the new mosque being built, unless they went for Friday prayers elsewhere.

What I do have on record from the Research on the Early Malay Doctors for this date, 1905-1928?

I have 8-9 early Malay doctors who were in Singapore before 1928. They would have prayed in the former Masjid Sultan. It would be great to find photos of them at the old mosque, if any.
  1. Dr Abdul Latiff bin Abdul Razak 1910/1911
  2. Dr Samsudin Kassim 1912
  3. Dr Ali Othman Merican (he was in Singapore briefly and left for Hong Kong)
  4. Dr Pandak Ahmad bin Alang Sidin 1916
  5. Dr Mohamed Ibrahim bin Shaik Ismail 1916
  6. Dr HS Moonshi 1916
  7. Dr Ismail M Ghows 1917
  8. Dr Kamil M Ariff 1917
  9. Dr SM Baboo 1917

It is quite difficult to tell apart the old mosque from a low building which could be part of a Malay palace. Most Malay palaces are single-storey and low-lying, except Istana Kg Gelam. A photo of Dr AO Merican in Malay attire (baju Melayu with kain sampin and tanjak) in front of a low-looking building could be the old mosque (Masjid Sultan) or could be part of an old  palace (Istana Sultan Kelantan). It is hard to tell.

I have only 3 names of doctors who could have seen the newly built Masjid Sultan. It would be great to find photos of them at the newly built mosque, if any.
  1. Dr Abdul Samat bin Pagak 1928
  2. Dr Nizamuddin bin Ahmad 1929
  3. Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos 1930