Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Hajj Doctors

There were many early Malay doctors who served the Hajj pilgrims during the Hajj season as Hajj doctors (Doktor Haji). The trips before 1975 were by ocean liners/steamers. Airplanes were used beginning in Nov/Dec 1975. I have included the date/year that each early Malay doctor performed the Hajj. In this way, we can hope to obtain some background information about the past Hajj pilgrimages, and see the medical development wrt the Hajj pilgrimage itself. The Indonesian Medical Mission was already established before the Malayan one was set up. Prior to 1947, Malayan pilgrims would seek medical assistance from the Indonesian Medical Mission. Dr SM Baboo was the first Malay doctor to set up the Malayan Medical Mission in Makkah in 1947.


Milestones

1927 (1345 Hijrah) Hajj was reported in the newspapers by Sir Hugh Clifford:

The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 10 June 1927, Page 5
MATTERS MUSLIM.

"Assalamu-Alaikoum!"
News from Jeddah
From His Excellency Sir Hugh Clifford.
Among the prominent Muslims from Malaya who are now in the Hejaz to perform the pilgrimage, are:

  1. Inche Sawiah, widow of the late Sultan Sir Idris of Perak
  2. Dato Muda Mentri of Perak
  3. Inche Mohamed Salleh, Settlement Officer, Taiping
  4. Inche Tajul Arus, Land Officer, Bandar Bharu, Kedah
  5. Dato' Dalam of Trengganu
  6. To' Puan Chu, widow of the late Dato' Laxamana of Perak
  7. Inche Osman, late Assistant Collector of Land Revenue, Batu Pahat
  8. Inche Mohamed Rajab of the Treasury, Alor Star, Kedah
  9. Inche Mohamed bin Abdul Samad of the Ho Hong Bank, Batu Pahat
  10. Demang Abdul Ghani and his son Inche Mahmud, Sanitary Inspector, Malacca.

The number of pilgrims, according to a letter received by me on the 3rd instant from Jeddah, are:

  1. from the Netherland East Indies over 50,000
  2. from Malaya over 12,000
  3. from India, Egypt and other countries over 30,000 each
  4. from Turkey 15,000 

There were no pilgrims from Turkey since the Great War. There were no pilgrims from Persia.
Comparatively speaking, Malaya sends the biggest percentage of pilgrims every year.

1936 (1354 Hijrah) Hajj was 2-6 March 1936.

Dr Pandak Ahmad bin Alang Sidin went to Makkah via Jeddah in a steamship (kapal api), with 5 other family members, to perform the Hajj in 1936. His half-brother settled in Makkah after the 1936 Hajj.

1937 (1355 Hijrah) Hajj was 20-24 February 1937.

1938 (1356 Hijrah) Hajj was 9-13 February 1938.

1939 (1357 Hijrah) Hajj was 29 January-2February 1939.

WWII started in Europe.

1940 (1358 Hijrah) Hajj was 18-22 January 1940.

1941 (1359 Hijrah) Hajj was 6-10 January 1941.
1941 (1360 Hijrah) Hajj was 27-31 December 1941 (i.e., Hajj was twice in 1941).

WWII started in Malaya.

1942 (1361 Hijrah) Hajj was 17-21 December 1942.

14 February 1942 - Battle of Singapore/WWII in Singapore.

1943 (1362 Hijrah) Hajj was 6-10 December 1943.

1944 (1363 Hijrah) Hajj was 24-28 November 1944.

1945 (1364 Hijrah) Hajj was 13-17 November 1945.

End of WWII.

1946 (1365 Hijrah) Hajj was 2-6 November 1946.

1947 (1366 Hijrah) Hajj was 23-27 October 1947.

In 1947, Dr SM Baboo was sent by the Government  to Makkah and Madinah in Saudia Arabia, for a few months to help set up the Malayan Medical Mission. Based on his report (which he worked on independently), the Malayan Medical Mission to Makkah was begun shortly thereafter.

1948 (1367 Hijrah) Hajj was 11-15 October 1948.

Start of Malayan Emergency.

1949 (1368 Hijrah) Hajj was 1-5 October 1949.

Dr Megat Khas bin Megat Omar served as Hajj Doctor along with 2 assistants for 5,000 pilgrims and stayed for 6 months (5 August 1949-February 1950). He performed the Hajj 5x thereafter during his lifetime.

Dr SM Baboo retired as CMHO Penang on 4 April 1949, 2 years after he helped established the Malayan Medical Mission to Makkah.

1950 (1369 Hijrah) Hajj was 21-25 September 1950.

Dr Abdul Ghani bin Mohamad served as Hajj Doctor in 1950.

1951 (1370 Hijrah) Hajj was 10-14 September 1951.

Dr Hussien/Mohamed? bin Ibrahim served as Hajj Doctor in 1951.

Dr Abbas bin Haji Alias had completed his postgraduate studies in Liverpool in 1951 and obtained the Diploma in Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He was on his way home to Malaya but had stopped to perform his first Hajj and assisted the Hajj Doctor as many pilgrims suffered during the hot season (September 1951). Dr Haji Abbas bin Haji Alias then headed the medical team in the 1950s and 1960s for the annual Hajj pilgrimage and frequently traveled to Makkah, for which he was alluded to as Doktor Haji.

1952 (1371 Hijrah) Hajj was 29 August-2 September 1952.

Dr Haji Pandak Ahmad bin Alang Sidin served as a Hajj Doctor (Doktor Haji) in 1952 and went for his second Hajj with 4 family members.

1953 (1372 Hijrah) Hajj was 18-22 August 1953.

Dr Haji Abbas bin Haji Alias? 

1954 (1373 Hijrah) Hajj was 7-11 August 1954.

Dr Haji Abbas bin Haji Alias?

Dr SMA Alhady's father, Syed Alwi bin Sheikh Al-Hadi left for Jeddah from Penang. He had described the scene at Penang harbour (refer Wazir Jahan Karim 2009:80-81).

Cikgu (Imam) Yusof bin Buntal @ Pak Ji Usop. He left Semabok, Malacca for his Hajj in Makkah on 10 June 1954.

1955 (1374 Hijrah) Hajj was 28 July-1 August 1955.

Dr Abdul Ghani bin Mohamad was a Hajj Doctor in 1955.

Dr KM Ariff went for his Hajj in 1955.
Salam Prof.....My grandfather went for hajj in 1955 not as hajj doctor. But he was sent to look into the affairs of hajj together with Mustaffa Al- Bakri...... - From Rukiah Hanoum Omar Farok, Facebook, 26 March 2013.

1956 (1375 Hijrah) Hajj was 17-21 July 1956.

Dr Haji Abbas bin Haji Alias? 

1957 (1376 Hijrah) Hajj was 6-10 July 1957.

Dr Abbas bin Haji Alias?

Malayan Independence/Merdeka, 31 August 1957.

1958 (1377 Hijrah) Hajj was 26-30 June 1958.

Dr Abbas bin Haji Alias?

Dr MJ Che Lah retired as CMHO Pahang and his retirement was published in The Straits Times on 30 June 1958. Dr MJ Che Lah then returned to Penang and continued to work as a medical doctor in his post-retirement years.

1959 (1378 Hijrah) Hajj was 15-19 June 1959.

Dr MJ Che Lah?

1960 (1379 Hijrah) Hajj was 3-7 June 1960.

Dr MJ Che Lah?

End of Malayan Emergency.

1961 (1380 Hijrah) Hajj was 23-27 May 1961.

Dr MJ Che Lah?

1962 (1381 Hijrah) Hajj was 13-17 May 1962.

Dr MJ Che Lah?

Anuar Isa's grandmother was a pilgrim on the 1962 Hajj trip.

Dr Haji Mohamed Ibrahim bin Shaik Ismail of Singapore passed away in Madinah but was buried in Makkah during the 1962 Hajj season. He may have passed away in Madinah in late February 1962 or in early May 1962 and brought to Makkah when the pilgrims moved from Madinah to Makkah, after completion of the Hajj rites. He had performed the Hajj before 1962. The relatives who traveled with him on the Hajj have also passed away.

Dr Haji Mohamed Ibrahim bin Shaik Ismail (70) of Singapore.

1963 (1382 Hijrah) Hajj was 2-6 May 1963.

Dr MJ Che Lah served as Hajj Doctor in 1963. He had also served on 8 previous Hajj pilgrimages between 1950 and 1963. In his 1963 Hajj passport was stamped 'Pegawai Kawalan Haji, Persekutuan Tanah Melayu, Pulau Pinang' (translation: Hajj Control Officer, Federated Malay States, Penang). His Hajj passport was valid for a year, from 18 January 1963 to 31 December 1963. His Hajj ticket had these details: Tiket Kapal No. SAAP 0825, Haribulan 18 January 1963. He traveled on board a Chinese-registered vessel.

Dr Haji Che Lah bin Mohd Joonos/Dr MJ Che Lah (60) as Hajj Doctor for the 1963 Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Dr Haji Megat Khas bin Megat Omar retired from government service in 1963.

1964 (1383 Hijrah) Hajj was 21-25 April 1964.

Dr MJ Che Lah served as Hajj Doctor and led the 20-man medical mission for the 1964 Hajj. The Straits Times of 8 July 1964 published Dr MJ Che Lah's Hajj trip lasted 5 months (Feb 1964-July 1964). Some 1,800 Malaysian pilgrims returned from Jeddah by the liner Kuala Lumpur in July 1964. The Malaysian medical mission who left for Makkah in February 1964 also returned with the pilgrims. About 700 pilgrims disembarked at Penang on 19 July 1964, another 300 at Port Swettenham (now Port Klang), and 800 at Singapore.

Dr Ismail Mohamad Ghows passed away in Taiping on 30 June 1964.

1965 (1384 Hijrah) Hajj was 11-15 April 1965.

The Straits Times of 16 July 1965 carried Dr Haji MJ Che Lah's report of his suggestions for improvements of conditions for the Hajj pilgrims. In his report on the 1964 Hajj, Dr Haji Che Lah mentioned that too many Malaysian pilgrims put off their Hajj trip to Makkah until they were too old or too weak. He further disclosed that most of the pilgrims were over 60 and suffered from debility and other ailments; 92 pilgrims died in Makkah (less than 5%) from an initial count of 1,892 pilgrims. He further advised that pilgrims should not be allowed to proceed to Madinah immediately on arrival at Jeddah. He suggested that they should wait in Makkah and allow a month to get acclimatised first (as January was winter in Saudi Arabia and with freezing temperatures). He also mentioned that in 1964, Malaysian food was provided for patients in the sickbay and was prepared by a Malaysian cook. The Malaysian travelling dispensary was very busy as it had to treat 1,877 cases. 13 pilgrims had died from an initial count of 1,892 pilgrims; another 79 pilgrims died later on. Dr Haji MJ Che Lah recommended that the sickbay for 1965 be made fly-proof and that better air conditioning be provided for the comfort of Malaysian Hajj patients in Makkah. Syed Kabeer bin Syed Ahmad, the acting Pilgrimage Control Officer, said the recommendations would be considered.

Dr Haji HS Moonshi passed away in 1965.

1966 (1385 Hijrah) Hajj was 31 March-4 April 1966.

1967 (1386 Hijrah) Hajj was 20-24 March 1967.

From Facebook, Mohd Sazali remembered watching the hajj ship carrying his grandfather from the Padang Kota seawall in Penang in 1967. He does not know the name of the ship.


1968 (1387 Hijrah) Hajj was 8-12 March 1968.

The Straits Times of 4 January 1968  reported that the first batch of 2,100 pilgrims from Malaysia and Singapore would sail for Makkah on the liner Kuala Lumpur. The liner would pick up 500 pilgrims from Singapore, 300 pilgrims from Port Swettenham, and 1,000 pilgrims from Penang (300 from Kelantan and the remainder from Penang, Perak, Kedah, and Perlis). The chairman of the Malaysian Pilgrimage Advisory Committee was Tan Sri Sheikh Ahmad bin Mohamed Hashim, the Menteri Besar of Perlis. The general manager of the Pilgrims Savings Corporation was Syed Nahar bin Syed Sheh Shahbuddin. Dato' Haji Ali Rouse was the Controller of Pilgrimage. Haji Abdul Kader bin Haji Mohamed Tamin was the Malaysian Pilgrim Commissioner. Dr Haji MJ Che Lah headed the Malaysian 34-man medical mission of January 1968 Hajj which comprised 3 doctors, 10 hospital assistants, 6 nurses, 12 attendants, 2 welfare officers, and a religious teacher. Dr Haji MJ Che Lah and Haji Abdul Kader would fly to Makkah to make arrangements before the arrival of the pilgrims.

Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail and 5 other men (Dato' Harun Idris, Abang Abas, Dato' Haji Osman, Tan Sri Dato' Ahmad Razali and one more person) went to perform the Hajj in 1968. It was not specified who 'Abang Abas' was; he could be Dr Haji Abbas bin Haji Alias (another early Malay doctor) or Abas bin Abdul Rahman, his relative from Umbai in Malacca. A group photo would help to ID this person called Abang Abas.

Thus, the 3 Hajj Doctors for the 1968 Hajj could be Dr Haji MJ Che Lah (65), Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail (47) and Dr Haji Abbas bin Haji Alias (54).

1969 (1388 Hijrah) Hajj was 25 February-1 March 1969.

13 May Incidences occurred in Kg Baru, Kuala Lumpur on 13 May 1969.

Dr Haji Abbas bin Haji Alias retired from the Government medical service as Director of Health on 15 July 1969, aged 55.

1970 (1389 Hijrah) Hajj was 15-19 February 1970.

Haji Syed Alwi bin Syed Sheik Alhady passed away on 6 January 1970.

1971 (1390 Hijrah) Hajj was 4-8 February 1971.

Dato' Dr Haji Abdul Aziz bin Omar was the MP for Tumpat in Kelantan as written in the Malaysian Official Parliamentary Reports of 8 July 1971.

1972 (1391 Hijrah) Hajj was 25-29 January 1972.

1973 (1392 Hijrah) Hajj was 13-17 January 1973.

Tun Dr Ismail passed away on 2 August 1973.

1974 (1393 Hijrah) Hajj was 2-6 January 1974.
1974 (1394 Hijrah) Hajj was 22-26 December 1974 (i.e., Hajj was twice in 1974).

My father, Abdul Rashid bin Mohd Yusope performed his first Hajj during winter, between the end of 1974 and early 1975. He had taken the first Hajj flight from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia.

1975 (1395 Hijrah) Hajj was 12-16 December 1975.

1976 (1396 Hijrah) Hajj was 30 November-4 December 1976.

1977 (1397 Hijrah) Hajj was 20-24 November 1977.

1978 (1398 Hijrah) Hajj was 9-13 November 1978.

1979 (1399 Hijrah) Hajj was 30 October-3 November 1979.

Haji Dr Megat Khas bin Megat Omar passed away on 21 June 1979.

Dr Mohamed bin Mohamed Taib and wife went on his last Hajj (2 Oct-26 Nov 1979).

1980 (1400 Hijrah) Hajj was 18-22 October 1980.

Tan Sri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin bin Raja Shahbuddin had performed his Hajj prior to his retirement as the third DG of Health in 1980.

1989 (1409 Hijrah) Hajj was 12-16 July 1989.

Dato' Dr Haji Carleel Merican passed away on 24 March 2003, aged 81.

1998 (1418 Hijrah) Hajj was 6-10 April 1998.

Tun Dr Awang Hassan passed away on 12 September 1998.

1999 (1419 Hijrah) Hajj was 26-30 March 1999.

Datuk Haji Dr Ariffin bin Ngah Marzuki and his wife Hajjah Datin Mariam returned from the Hajj in 1999 via KLIA.

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