By DASHEER NOH
ALOR STAR: Former Deputy Speaker and MP Tan Sri Datuk Paduka Azahari Md Taib, 84, passed away peacefully at his Lorong Air Puteh residence here on Tuesday morning.
An Umno member since 1952, he was elected to the Kedah state assembly for three consecutive terms between 1955 and 1969 before he contested the Sungai Petani Parliamentary seat in 1969 and the Kulim-Bandar Baru seat in 1974 to become a two-term Member of Parliament.
In 1978 he did not contest the elections but was appointed Deputy Speaker of Parliament before he retired in 1982.
Apart from his active role as a politician, he was also a member of the State Economic Development Corporation, Kedah Health Board, Kedah Valley Development Board, Felcra, the Museum Board, Education Foundation, the association of Justices of the Peace and the Council of Datuks.
He was also vice-president of the Kedah Football Association and vice-chairman of the Kedah Sports Council.
During the Japanese occupation in World War II, he served as a technician with the Japanese Air Force in Kepala Batas, Alor Star from 1941-45.
He was editor of the SEBERKAS newsletter from 1946-48 and a reporter for the then Utusan Melayu Malay-language daily.
He was awarded the Pahlawan Setia Mahkota (PSM), which carries the title Tan Sri, in 1983 and conferred the Datuk Paduka title by the Sultan of Kedah in 2005.
Azahari leaves behind wife Puan Sri Dalilah Abass, 79, nine children, 27 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah was among the large gathering of friends, relatives and state dignitaries who thronged to his residence to pay their last respects.
He was laid to rest at the Akar Peluru muslim cemetery in Jalan Pegawai after Asar prayers.