KUALA LUMPUR: To his loved ones, he wasn’t just a Tan Sri who had held a number of Cabinet posts.
Tengku Tan Sri Ahmad Rithauddeen Tengku Ismail (pic below), who passed away on Friday at the age of 94, was someone who had prioritised education and doing the right thing.
“He was very proper and disciplined. He made us do things the right way, even the simplest things like closing the door on your way out and switching off the lights when they are not in use,” said his son Tengku Farith.
“Even in politics, when he had to make an unpopular decision, which he knew was right, he would be firm about it,” he said.
But there was a lighter side to him as well.
Tengku Farith said his father especially loved the harumanis mangoes given by his nephew.
“When he received the mangoes, he would try it and he would tell us that it was very sour because he wanted to eat it all by himself,” he recalled.
His father, he said, always prioritised education.
“In fact, he has an education fund for his grandchildren as ‘education is key’.”
As for his passing, he said: “It came as a shock for us. Although he had a stroke two weeks ago, the doctor said that his lungs and kidneys (had) recovered. So, we had been quite optimistic,” said Tengku Farith, who is group chief executive officer and founder of web integration and application development provider SKALI Group.
Granddaughter Tengku Fatin Izzati Tengku Feizaludin said that her grandfather had always ingrained in his family that education would take them far.
“He was part of the reason that I embarked on my career as an accountant,” she added.
Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen served as Defence Minister from 1987 to 1990. He was Minister with Special Functions to assist Tun Abdul Razak in the Foreign Ministry in 1973.
Other posts included being the Information and Special Functions Minister in 1974, Foreign Minister (1975), Trade and Industry Minister (1981) before being reappointed as the Foreign Minister (1984) and Information Minister (1986).
Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen, who was laid to rest at the Bukit Kiara Muslim Cemetery yesterday, leaves behind wife Tengku Puan Seri Noor Aini Tengku Zainal Abidin and six children.
Among those who paid their last respects was Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, who voiced sadness over his demise.
He had done a lot to strengthen Umno, he said, adding that his contributions to the country were enormous.
Also present to pay his respects was Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who is a cousin of Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen.
“We’re quite close but he’s from the Pattani side of our family. He was very active in sports and a passionate legal professional.
“He was a very good man. He had many friends and admirers. He had appeared in international forums and spoke on Malaysia’s behalf on matters concerning the region. He will be remembered,” he said.