His father is Radin Sohadi @ Wak Raden, a Javanese and who was conversant in Javanese. The family lived at Kg Batu 9, Ulu Chemor in Perak. He had many children, including Radin Umar. Wak Raden was a petty trader, and bought live chickens from his villagers to sell at the market in Chemor town.
His son Radin Umar attended Sekolah Menengah Aminuddin Baki Chemor (SABC), and later Maktab Tentera Di Raja (Royal Military College, RMC) an elite military college at Sg Besi, Selangor before studying overseas in the UK. He returned and worked at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) in Serdang, Selangor. He became Dr Radin Umar, and then Professor Radin Umar.
He then joined and headed the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety (MIROS; Institut Kajian Keselamatan Jalan Raya) in 2007 as its Director.
The following year, he was the Director of the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE; Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Pengajian Tinggi) as reported in the news on 31 May 2008.
He is known to the Malaysian public as Prof. Datuk Dr Ir Radin Umar bin Radin Sohadi.
I remember seeing his photos in the newspapers and on TV. I remember the 'Radin' name. I didn't know who he was except that he appeared briefly in media and was at UPM, then MIROS and MOHE. Then there was hardly any news about him.
My eldest daughter who was then an undergraduate aerospace engineering student at UPM mentioned a lot about him but it did not occur to me that it was the same young man who had created such a great impact at his university and upon his students. He was an engineer but I'm uncertain of the details.
I have sat in a meeting with the MIROS researchers when they came to our campus in USM in Kelantan. It was then I looked up MIROS to see what it was about and its scope of research. Much later our own USM lecturer Prof. Ahmad Farhan replaced Prof Radin Umar as MIROS Director; Prof Radin Umar moved to MOHE.
Prof. Datuk Dr Ir Radin Umar passed away of liver failure on Sunday, 13 October 2013 (8 Zulhijjah 1434 Hijrah; day before Wukuf in Arafah; 2 days before Aidiladha). He is laid to rest at the graveyard up on a hill near Masjid UPM. Al-Fatihah. He leaves behind a wife and 5 children.