FORMER Kedah Menteri Besar Sanusi Junid died today, his son Akramshah confirmed. He was 74.
“My father died this morning just before subuh prayers,” Akramshah told The Malaysian Insight.
According to Bernama, Akramshah said Sanusi had gone for a medical checkup yesterday.
“Yesterday, my father went for a medical checkup and everything was fine, in fact he even attended the Pakatan Harapan manifesto launching last night without showing signs of a health problem.
“This morning, (he) had performed ablution and was waiting to go for prayers when he suddenly fell unconscious,” he was reported as saying.
Sanusi’s body has been brought to Saidina Umar Al-Khattab Mosque for prayers and will be laid to rest at Bukit Kiara Muslim Cemetery after Friday prayers.
Sanusi was UMNO Minister of Rural and Regional Development between 1981 and 1986 and also served as Deputy Home Minister from 1980 to 1981.
He left UMNO and joined the party started by former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad – Bersatu. Last June, Sanusi was elected Chairman of Bersatu’s Disciplinary Board.
“We want to die in the ring,” Sanusi said.
In an August interview with The Malaysian Insight, Sanusi said the political reconciliation between Dr Mahathir and de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim had rattled Barisan Nasional leaders.
But he also said there was no longer any point for him to stay on in UMNO as it was no longer the party he joined in 1963. He left UMNO the first time in 2008 over dissatisfaction with then Party President and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
More recently, he told The Malaysian Insight that UMNO was now a party “with the same name (but) does not have the spirit and goals of the UMNO that I used to be a part of”.
Sanusi’s long political career in public service began at the age of 31, when he was elected the Jerai MP. Later, he also won the Jerlun parliamentary seat in the 1982 General Election.
He served a stint as Federal Minister of Agriculture before becoming Kedah Menteri Besar from 1996 to 1999. Most of his years in public service were under Dr Mahathir’s administration and the two men, who are both Kedah-born, are close.
Sanusi last contested in the 2000 general election, winning the Kuah state seat.
In 2015, when Dr Mahathir had not yet left UMNO to start Bersatu, Sanusi in an interview said he and the former Prime Minister were living on “borrowed time” as they sought to raise pressure within UMNO for Prime Minister Najib Razak’s resignation over alleged scandals in state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
“We want to die in the ring,” Sanusi said. – March 9, 2018.