Monday, September 28, 2009

This post is the same post i posted. i repost here because an article in Harakah came out about Dr Pandak Ahmad. It was written by Prof Dr Jami'ah binti Ibrahim of UM?, my cousin's cousin. I was call by Mak Nek, Kak Jam's mother to remove the offending article. It was not written by me, and as the stories by Kak Jam differs than my Cousin, I was ask by Din to republish this article again. According to Din,his late father was the favourite son of his grandfather and even took him to perform Haj when he was small. My Aunt told me stories of her in law and about her father in law relationship with Tun Razak. Her father in law even bought a pair of shoes for Razak when he was in Pekan as Razak go barefooted to school. Any dispute hence forth about this article i hope Kak Jam bring it up with Mak Jang and her Son Din. Please phone him up at 019 4473390. It was found out that the article written were not in sync with the stories of Din etc. So do read and if anyone has a copy of the harakah please send to me.

addendum: Din call me up and I had to clarify he gave me the permission for me to republish it here not as me to publish. My mistake.

History of Medicine in Malaya – Who were the early Malay doctors?

Biography – Dr. Hj. Pandak bin Alang Sidin

Version 3, 26 March 2007 1:46:35 PM


Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad bin Haji Alang Sidin

(1892 – 1965)


Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad bin Haji Alang Sidin was born on the 22nd of April 1892 (barely eighteen years after the British officially occupied and controlled the Perak Sultanate on the 20th of January 1874 by virtue of the signing of the “Pangkor Treaty”) in the village of Kampung Kledang, Mukim of Kota Lama Kanan, District of Kuala Kangsar, State of Perak.

Both of Dr. Pandak Ahmad’s parents, and his close relatives, were ethnic Malays from the vicinity of the royal town of Kuala Kangsar, Perak (the town where the reigning Sultan of Perak resides).

Dr. Pandak Ahmad’s father, Tuan Haji Alang Sidin bin Ismail, married his mother, Puan Hajah Long Zainab, and they had a number of children but only four survived till adulthood and had their own families. The couple’s children that survived were three daughters (all deceased now) and Dr. Pandak Ahmad himself, being the only son from the same mother and father.

Dr. Pandak Ahmad also had a younger half-brother (the late Haji Muhammad Said Al-Feraq of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia who passed away in 1980) from another mother, whom his father had married after his first wife (Dr. Pandak Ahmad’s mother) died.

Kota Lama Kanan

Kota Lama (literally meaning Old Fort or Old Castle in Malay) is a riverside settlement on both sides of a river called Sungai Perak (about 420km long) in the state of Perak (a state within Malaysia), situated just a bit further upstream (about 2km) from Kuala Kangsar town.

The word Kanan” (meaning right in Malay) refers to the settlement on the right river bank whilst “Kiri” (meaning left in Malay) refers to the left river bank as one goes upstream. The settlement on the right bank is the older of the two settlements, as a fort was established there since 1549.

Old Fort

This old defensive fort, with the sultan’s palace located within its walls, was actually built within the village of Kota Lama Kanan by the second sultan of Perak, Sultan Mansor Shah I (reign 1549-1577)** in the 1549 to defend himself and his subjects against the Achehnese (a powerful kingdom based in northern Sumatra island) military incursions.

The said sultan was however defeated by the Achehnese and taken in captivity, together with his family, to Acheh where he eventually died.

Perak War (1875-1876)

Kota Lama Kanan is also known as the place where Captain (Retired) T.C.S. Speedy (the then British Assistant Resident of Perak), and his well-armed troops (numbering about 200 men and several pieces of modern artillery) led by Major J.F.A. McNair, ransacked and burnt down the whole village (including the village mosque) in February 1876.

This incident happened because the local Malays, under the leadership of its “Penghulu” (meaning village headman in Malay), had resisted and fought gallantly against the British Sepoys’ (soldiers of Indian origin) attempt to pursue and capture the then “fugitive”, Toh’ Maharaja Lela, and his followers during the uprising known as the Perak War (1875-1876).

Old British Map (c.1880) of Perak

*Note- Captain (Rtd.) T.C.S. Speedy, as the “Commissioner of Police” and thus in charge for ‘Law & Order’ in the state, was based in the town of Taiping, Perak (which was the capital of Perak from 1876 to 1937), which is nearer at about 35km due west of Kota Lama Kanan.

Whereas Mr. James W.W. Birch (the first British Resident of Perak who was killed in Pasir Salak, Hilir Perak on the 2nd of November 1875 by Toh’ Maharaja Lela together with DatoSagor and their followers) was based in the village of Bandar Baru, Hilir Perak (which was the capital of Perak from 1874 to 1876), which is further away at about 120km due south of Kota Lama Kanan.

There was another detachment of British troops (numbering about 1,500 men) coming upstream from the Perak River mouth at about the same time, but had arrived too late to engage (to perform a “pincer” movement with the detachment from Taiping to trap the rebels) in battle at Kota Lama Kanan because they were held up in another incident in Pasir Salak, Hilir Perak.

However Toh’ Maharaja Lela and his followers, after making a stand, first at Pasir Salak and then at Blanja, managed to escape and retreated to Hulu Kinta (where the City of Ipoh is located), with the remaining British forces in hot pursuit of the rebels and thereafter turning this campaign into a manhunt.

War Memorial

Fifteen British officers and men (their remains are buried in the “Bukit Chandan War Memorial” in Kuala Kangsar till this day), including numerous British Sepoys soldiers and local Malay villagers, were killed in this incident at Kota Lama Kanan with many more seriously wounded on both sides.

Village Mosque

Some traces of the defensive earthen ramparts, stockades and ditches from this historic event could still be made out in the vicinity of the village of Kota Lama Kanan till today.

Tombstone of Sultan Mansor Shah I

However the village mosque (which has the tombstone [above] of the second sultan of Perak sited within its prayer hall, near the “mihrab”) has been completely rebuilt with concrete at its original site in 1916.


His peculiar name, Pandak Ahmad, indicates that Dr. Pandak Ahmad was probably the fifth or sixth sibling. His immediate relatives and close friends called him “Pak Andak” or “Pandak”.

Dr. Pandak Ahmad was also well known simply as either “Haji Ahmad” or “Doctor Ahmad” by others.

*Note- Pandak” refers to a title of a particular order of birth among the Malays from the state of Perak, just as the word “Sulong” or “Long” refers to the eldest sibling, “Tengah” or “Ngah” refers to the second, “Alang” or “Lang” refers to the third, “Panjang” or “Anjang” refers to the fourth, “Muda” or “Uda” refers to the fifth, “Pandak” or “Andak” refers to the sixth, “Puteh” or “Teh” refers to the seventh, “Hitam” or “Tam” refers to the eighth, “Kecik” or “Cik” refers to the ninth and “Bongsu” or “Chu” refers to the tenth or the youngest.

Early Education

Dr. Pandak Ahmad did his early schooling at the Malay School in Kota Lama Kanan from Primary 1 through Primary 2.

Budak Suruhan” (Boy-Servant)

Dr. Pandak Ahmad subsequently went on to live with his maternal uncle (Encik Ngah Mohamad Noh who was the younger brother of his mother, Puan Hajah Long Zainab) and aunt in the town of Kuala Kangsar where he became their “budak suruhan” (meaning boy-servant in Malay).

This was a custom, very common in those feudalistic days, where children from poor Malay families would stay with well-to-do families; whereby the boy would have to fetch water, collect firewood, be punished if his aunt’s children misbehaved, tending to his uncle’s livestock, etc., to earn his upkeep.

Sekolah Jalan Hogan”

Luckily his uncle and aunt allowed him to continue with his schooling and Dr. Pandak Ahmad then attended a Malay School (“Sekolah Jalan Hogan” or Hogan Road School in English) in Kuala Kangsar from Standard 1 through Standard 4.

Nonetheless Dr. Pandak Ahmad would find time to study very hard in between his mandatory chores at home and his school time, and would eventually do well in his studies.

Secondary Education

Although Dr. Pandak Ahmad was a “commoner” (meaning that he is not of Royal or Noble lineage), he then attended the prestigious English-medium school known as the “Malay Residential School” in Kuala Kangsar, or now better known as the “Malay College in Kuala Kangsar” (MCKK), from Standard 5 through Standard 9 until he completed his Senior Cambridge examinations.

Note- The first English-medium (meaning the medium of instruction is in English) school to be set up in Perak was the “Central English School” in the settlement of Kamunting (about 6km north of Taiping), which was established in 1878 by Sir Hugh Low.

It was later relocated in 1891 to its present location in Taiping town, at the site of the first railway station (which itself was relocated to another site because of the realignment of the railway tracks) in the country, at the end of Jalan Stesen (Station Road in English) and had its name changed to the “King Edward VII School”.

The Malay College in Kuala Kangsar (c. 2005)

The Malay College

His enrollment into the MCKK was made possible by way of his uncle, the “Toh’ Seri Lela Paduka” – Encik Ngah Mohamad Noh, who was then a minor “Pembesar Negeri” (meaning chieftain or nobility in Malay) of Perak state.

This was because during those early days, only offspring from the Royalty and Nobility of the Malay States in “British Malaya could attend the MCKK (which was established on the 12th of January 1905).

*Note- The territory known as “British Malaya” in 1910 consisted of 1) the Crown Colony of the “Straits Settlements” of Penang, Dindings [this territory was handed back to Perak in 1932], Malacca, Labuan & Singapore, 2) the Protectorate Territory of the “Federated Malay States” of Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan & Pahang and 3) the Protectorate Territory of the “Unfederated Malay States” of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, Trengganu & Johore.

Undergraduate Medical Education

It can be safely assumed that Dr. Pandak Ahmad had enrolled into the prestigious King Edward VII’s Medical School (whose name was later changed to King Edward VII’s College of Medicine and it then later merged with Raffles College to form the nucleus of the University of Malaya) in Singapore either in June 1911 or 1912.

Maiden Journey

It was said that for his maiden journey to Singapore, Dr. Pandak Ahmad first had to travel by train (run by Perak State Railways) from the town of Kuala Kangsar to the town of Telok Anson (now known as Teluk Intan) in district of Hilir Perak which was then the main deepwater port for Perak.

This was because in those days there were no public transport systems on land to speak of, other than the railways and these would ultimately end at the ports. Thereafter from Telok Anson, he boarded a steamship which then took him a further three to four days before reaching his final destination.

Note- The first railway line (tracks) in Perak was completed in 1885 between Taiping and Port Weld (now known as Kuala Sepetang) and this line was extended to the town of Kamunting in 1891. The next railway line was completed in 1895 between Ipoh and the port of Telok Anson.

This two separate railway lines were finally joined in 1900 by the completion of the tracks between Taiping and Ipoh, passing through the towns of Kuala Kangsar, Sungai Siput and Tanjung Rambutan.


It was also recalled by one of his surviving daughters (Puan Khadijah) that while on holiday back in his hometown during one of the yearly breaks, Dr. Pandak Ahmad fell seriously ill with beriberi, tonsillitis and other ailments, and thus he had to skip a full year of his studies as he could not get well in time.


However it can ascertain that based on recorded documents, Dr. Pandak Ahmad, together with Dr. H.S. Moonshi in the same batch then graduated from the medical school with “L.M.S.” in the Class of March 1916.


It is assumed that most probably Dr. Pandak Ahmad did his housemanship (or compulsory internship) at the government hospital (the General Hospital then but now known as Hospital Taiping) in Taiping, Perak where it was recorded that he had reported for duty on the 1st of April 1916.

Post World War I

Government Service

Dr. Pandak Ahmad was transferred to, and had reported for duty at, the District Hospital, Kuala Kangsar (now known as Hospital Kuala Kangsar) on the 3rd of March 1917, and it is assumed that this is when he was officially confirmed and entered into the government service.

It was recorded that on the 19th of February 1919, Dr. Pandak Ahmad was then transferred back to the hospital in Taiping.

Batu Gajah and Seremban

On the 27th of September 1919, Dr. Pandak Ahmad was transferred from Taiping to the General Hospital (now known as Hospital Batu Gajah) in the town of Batu Gajah, District of Kinta, Perak until August 1921 when he was then transferred to the General Hospital (now known as Hospital Seremban) in the town of Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.

Nevertheless in December 1922 he was transferred back to the hospital in Kuala Kangsar where he first became involved with the campaign (through educating, inoculating and various other means) to eradicate common diseases (such as malaria, elephantiasis, yaws, etc.) of the rural people, and is also where he stayed continuously for nearly seven years.


Dr. Pandak Ahmad was then transferred from Kuala Kangsar to the District Hospital (later known as Hospital Mentakab but now downgraded to a “health centre” with the opening of the new modern Hospital Temerloh recently) in the town of Mentakab, in the district of Temerloh, Pahang in October 1929.


Later in December 1930, he was transferred to the District Hospital (now known as Hospital Pekan) in the royal town of Pekan, Pahang (where the reigning Sultan of Pahang resides) and stayed until December 1933.

During his stay in Pahang, Dr. Pandak Ahmad had to serve the villages and towns located along the length of the Pahang River (the longest river in Malaya at about 480km in length) from the town of Pekan, right up to Chenor, Temerloh, Jerantut till Kuala Lipis (which was then the capital of Pahang state from 1890 to 1955).

Anak Angkat” (Adopted Son)

It was recalled by his wife (Puan Hajah Aishah) that whilst working in Pekan that Dr. Pandak Ahmad had befriended the father (who was one of the “Pembesar Negeri” of Pahang state) and family of the late Tun Haji Abdul Razak bin Hussein. In fact during this time, Dr. Pandak Ahmad had come to consider Tun Haji Abdul Razak (the second Prime Minister of Malaysia) as his “anak angkat” (meaning adopted son in Malay) because he frequently spends so much time at Dr. Pandak Ahmad’s house before and after schooling, and plays and dine together with his elder children.

Kuala Kangsar

Dr. Pandak Ahmad was later transferred back again to the District Hospital in Kuala Kangsar, Perak in January 1934 where he would eventually “retire” prematurely from government service.

During his stay in Kuala Kangsar, Dr. Pandak Ahmad also had to serve the various settlements (from the town of Grik in the north to the town of Telok Anson in the south) located along the greater part of the Perak river, apart from being a medical officer at the hospital.

River Doctor

Both among the older generations of people along the Perak and Pahang rivers, Dr. Pandak Ahmad was well-known as the Doktor Sungai (meaning River Doctor in Malay) as he would come by their riverside villages in sampans or motorised boats. This situation was brought about only while he was still in the government service.

This was due to the fact that there were no proper roads to connect the major settlements within both states (Perak and Pahang) in those days, thus a large portion of the rivers became major routes for access, and these journeys would take days (and sometimes even weeks) to complete.


Both in Perak and Pahang, Dr. Pandak Ahmad’s main concern, and preoccupation, was the eradication of the dreaded skin disease known in Malay as “puru” (yaws).

This disease, which is virtually non-existent now, was widespread among the rural people of Malaya back then.


When Dr. Pandak Ahmad went to Mecca (Makkah), via Jeddah, in 1937 in a steamship to perform his first obligatory pilgrimage (the Hajj), he brought along his wife (Aishah), two of his children (Mohammad Ali and Khadijah) and his younger half-brother (Muhammad Said).

*Note- In those days, a complete journey to and from the Holy Lands (Mecca and Medina) in Saudi Arabia would take at least five or six months in a large passenger steamship.

However Muhammad Said was left behind in Jeddah, to pursue his studies and eventually settled down there, after they successfully completed their first pilgrimage and returned home to Malaya.

Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad went to Mecca again in 1948 to perform his second hajj pilgrimage and to visit his half-brother (Muhammad Said) whom he had not met for nearly ten years, and this time he only brought along his wife (Hajah Aishah) and two of his children (Sarah and Rahmah).


It was here in Kuala Kangsar, towards the end of his lengthy career with the colonial government and after he came back from his first hajj, that Dr. Pandak Ahmad had a few major disagreements with his British superiors, after which he decided to resign (and thus “retire”) within 24 hours from the service at the age of forty-six (46) years old.

Dr. Pandak Ahmad’s main reasons for these arguments were, for example, about the disparity of salaries, terms and benefits between local and British (white or European) doctors, about the perceived mistreatment of Muslim patients by the British-imposed non-Muslim procedures, about his biased heavy workload imposed by the administrators, amongst others.

*Note - The official retirement age for all local civil servants is 55 years old (and still is till today) and therefore Dr. Pandak Ahmad’s due retirement should only have occurred in 1947.

However, the British administrators did pay Dr. Pandak Ahmad his pension from April, 1947 (when he turned 55) until the day he died in May, 1965 in recognition of his excellent record of service, but did not continue paying his surviving spouse.

It was only much later, during the 1980s, that the Malaysian Government reinstated Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s pension to his surviving spouse (Hajah Aishah) for the rest of her life, in recognition of his contributions to this country.

Japanese Occupation

During the Japanese Occupation of Malaya (1942-1945), Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad grudgingly co-operated, by being a medical officer again, with the occupiers as he had a large family to feed, clothes and protect although where and when he had actually been posted remains unknown.

Life was hard for Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad during these times with food and other essential items being strictly rationed, together with communications and movements being severely restricted.

Once he was caught with a radio receiver (banned by the Japanese authorities) in his house, however Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad escaped punishment by the Japanese because one of his nephews had admitted to being the owner of that particular item and was thus severely punished.

Private Practice

After Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s so-called retirement in early 1938 (prior to World War II), he opened a private clinic in the town of Kuala Kangsar on a piece of land (where Haji Salleh’s house now stands) that he had bought earlier but this clinic lasted for only a few months.

First Private Malay “Rural” Doctor

After closing his clinic in the town of Kuala Kangsar in mid-1938, Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad then opened a private clinic at the ground level of his house (a typical Malay high timber house on stilts) in the village of Kota Lama Kanan to serve the local population.

With the opening of this clinic within a rural setting, Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad thus probably became one of the first private Malay doctors to practice and serve the rural areas.


Getting paid for services rendered was always a problem because his patients were mostly poor rural Malays and whenever there was any payment, much of it was “in-kind” - that is with paddy (beras or padi), chickens (ayam), bananas (pisang), rubber (getah), etc.

This led to the other problem of stocking enough medicines or drugs required in the clinic to dispense to his patients as the medical suppliers had to be paid in cash, but Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad would improvised by utilising all the available free drug samples that would be provided to him, every now and then, by the medical suppliers.

Rural Road

But survived he did in spite of the difficulties he had to endure, and Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad even had a dirt road (about 5 km in length) constructed from the Iskandar Bridge to his clinic (house) with his own money for the benefit of local people.

Note- The Iskandar Bridge (“Jambatan Iskandariah” in Malay) is a steel bridge completed by the British in 1931 spanning across the Perak River to carry vehicular traffic, whereas the Victoria Bridge (located about 3km upstream from Iskandar Bridge) is also a steel bridge completed in 1900 to carry railway traffic, with both bridges still functioning as they were intended till today.

First Motorcar

This had led to Dr. Pandak Ahmad becoming the first person in the village of Kota Lama Kanan to own a motorised vehicle (a motorcar), and to hire a driver to drive him around.

Dr. Pandak Ahmad also became the first person to own a television set (black & white) in the village when the whole village was supplied with electricity by a local private company known as the Kinta Electrical Distribution Ltd. (KED) in August 1965.


Due to his prudent financial management, Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad ended up owning quite a few pieces of land and properties scattered around the settlements of Kuala Kangsar, Karai, Salak and Kota Lama Kanan.

The agricultural lands were mostly planted with rubber trees and only some were exclusively fruit orchards, but a piece (about 4 acres) in Kampung Kledang were planted only with paddy.

All of these lands were “pajak (meaning rented in English) out to others according to the traditional methods handed down through generations; whereby the renters would work and till the land, and in return Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad (as the landowner) would receive a certain agreed amount of the agricultural produce after a certain agreed period.

The properties consisted of one or two shop-houses in the town of Salak which were also rented out to tenants, and all of these items provided Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad with extra income.

Dug-out Canoe

Interestingly, Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad used to own a large “dug-out” canoe, which he usually kept underneath his house, for use in emergencies (during floods or transporting sick people across the Perak River to Kuala Kangsar) but it has gone missing now.

This canoe was about 20 to 30 feet in length and 4 to 5 feet across at it’s widest and was “cut-out” from a single timber log (most probably from a “Cengal” tree known for the hardness and strength of its wood).

Rural Clinic

Much of his clinic, which was made entirely of timber in 1939, had been damaged by two “banjir besar” (meaning major floods in Malay) that hit his house in 1967 and 1972, and only a room with some derelict furniture still remains of his clinic today.

Dewan Haji Ahmad (Haji Ahmad Hall)

After his death, Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad has a village community hall (called Dewan Haji Ahmad in Malay), a structure built during the 1980s by the state government to be used by the villagers, named after him in Kampung Kledang, Kota Lama Kanan, Perak, in recognition of his services.

Post World War II

Political Involvement

Though Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad completed his education through the British-imposed educational system, he disliked and despised the British colonial policies and treatment towards the local population, especially with the notion burning inside his heart that his village and people had suffered directly under the British colonial policies.

This important factor would shape Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s political views towards the British authorities and administrators as he would end up serving under them directly.


Although he had a disdain attitude towards the British, Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad had agreed to serve the colonial government because, besides it being mandatory upon him, he saw that he could be involved directly in the eradication of several common & widespread diseases prevalent among the rural people then.


Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad had “respected” the Japanese for their willingness to stand up against, and then sometimes defeating, the Western Powers but abhors their policy of colonising and subjugating other Asian nations, especially when they came to be in control of “Tanah Melayu” (Malaya).

Kesatuan Melayu Perak

Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad was very concerned about the plight of the rural Malays, and their predicament, under the colonial government whereby their political rights were denied in their own land.

And with Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s own experience of biased and shoddy treatment from the colonial masters, he was determined to find a way to resolve this issue.

Therefore when the movement known as Kesatuan Melayu Perak (KMP) was formed by local Malay nationalists in Perak in early 1937, Dr. Hj. Pandak Ahmad immediately became its member, thus Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad together with other like-minded persons in the KMP had initiated the fight for Malay political rights against the colonial government.

Independence Movement

It is noted that Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s involvement in local politics was only at personal level.

Although he never held any high position in any political parties other than being an ordinary member, nonetheless Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad was indirectly involved in the independence movement.

This was by virtue of the formation of the political party known as U.M.N.O. (United Malays National Organisation) in May 1946 in Johor Bahru, Johor by KMP and other Malay organisations throughout Malaya, and through its religious wing known as the Majlis Ulama, of which he was also a member.

PAS (Persatuan Islam SeMalaya)

However, when the Majlis Ulama and other ordinary religious members withdrew from UMNO and formed P.A.S. (Persatuan Islam SeMalaya but now officially renamed as Partai Islam SeMalaysia) during the early 1950s Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad followed them and became a life-long member, and staunch supporter, of PAS.

It was said that during Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s lifetime no one from his immediate family would openly dare to be involve with UMNO, out of respect for his political conviction.

Tun Haji Abdul Razak

Thereafter, it was said that Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad and the late Tun Abdul Razak had not met each other because of the different political views each held, until the day he died.

*Note- It was recalled by Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s family members that Tun Abdul Razak had tried to meet him several times since, through emissaries and mutual friends, but he refused because he strongly felt that Tun Abdul Razak had betrayed him.

However Tun Abdul Razak was kept informed of Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s well-being throughout his life by his friends.


Throughout his life, Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad remained true to his ideals and beliefs, and thus was considered a genuine nationalist, and a true patriot, who had fought for and had served his people diligently, by his colleagues and friends though he was not involved with nor supported the ruling party.


Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad was said by his peers, colleagues, friends, former patients and close relatives to be a man of principle, deeply religious, very trustworthy, well disciplined, highly innovative and righteous.

Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad was well-respected, honoured and loved by his close relatives and all the people that knew him, and especially by people he had served from the surrounding villages.

Loving Father

It was recalled by his children that Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad was a very strict disciplinarian but loving father to all his children and hence all his children looked up to him as a role model.

Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad was very particular about his children’s education, and he made sure that the boys go to English schools and the girls to Islamic religious schools (Sekolah Agama in Malay).

Fourth Malay Doctor

Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad came from a poor Malay family and then had to become a boy-servant initially during his younger days.

Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad then rose against overwhelming odds to become the fourth (4th) Malay doctor (most probably the second (2nd) Malay doctor from the Federated Malay States and the first (1st) Malay doctor from Perak) to graduate from the King Edward VII’s Medical School, Singapore.

Toh’ Seri Lela Paduka

It was recalled by one of his sons (the late Mohammad Ali) that Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad was summoned to the palace and offered the title of “Toh’ Seri Lela PadukaOrang Besar Enambelas” (one of the minor 16 chieftains of Perak state) by the then reigning Sultan of Perak (Sultan Yussuff Izzuddin Shah, reign 1948-1963) several times during the 1950s.

This was because the said title had always been bestowed upon members of Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s family (on his mother’s side) from generations to generations and thus he was entitled to it.

*Note- Interestingly Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad was also offered the post of medical officer by some nearby big private companies (and also by some of the surrounding estates’ management) during the 1950s to look after the health of their workers.

However he refused all of these offers at every instance because that would entail him to spend more time with the palace, or elsewhere, and Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad would rather spend his precious time serving his people who desperately needed his knowledge and expertise.


Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad was well verse with the English and Malay language. It was noted by his surviving family members that his English was impeccable, because he had studied in the English medium, was taught by British teachers in MCKK and the KE VII’s Medical School and that most of his references (books, journals, etc.) were in English.

It was recalled by one of his daughter-in-laws (Puan Hajah Ruba’ayah) that Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad would always write to her and her husband (Tuan Haji Mohammad Ali) in good English and vice-versa, and that he also wrote his diary in English.


Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad could write the Malay language very well in both the “Romanised (Roman alphabet) and “Jawi” (Arabic alphabet) script.

He would write in Malay to his brother in Saudi Arabia and older relatives in “Jawi”, whilst to his children and younger relatives locally he would write in Malay using the “Romanised” form.


According to one of his surviving sons, former school teacher Tuan Haji Salleh, Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad had kept a diary (which was written in English) throughout his life, meticulously recording all the important events that had affected his life.

Birth Certificates

This fact would come in handy later on, as recollected by one of his sons (the late Mohammad Ali), when for example, if the birth certificates of some of his children had gotten lost during the numerous floods that would hit the house, Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad could easily get replacements for the certificates due to him being able to produce his diary during the swearing of oaths at the relevant departments.


However the said diary was swept away by one of the numerous floods, along with many of his medical books and journals, which frequently hit the lower part of his house (clinic) and hence much of his memories, thoughts and opinions were lost forever.


Most of Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s close relatives (sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, etc.) reside within the “mukim” (meaning Parish in Malay) of Kota Lama Kanan which consists of many traditional villages, such as Kledang, Batang Kulim, Kandang, etc.

A most interesting fact was that all of his elder sisters had made their homes on a single piece of land (most probably this was an “inherited” land) in Kampung Kledang where their descendents still lives, whereas only Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad had made his home elsewhere, on a plot of land in Kampung Kota Lama Kanan together with two of his cousins, as he wanted to be nearer to the mosque where his mother was buried.

Previous Marriages

According to his surviving close relatives, it was recalled that Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad had married a few times earlier on (the exact number is unknown but it was certainly not more than four) but had divorced all of his previous wives because they had bore him no children.

Surviving Wife

Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s last and surviving marriage was to Puan Hajah Aishah binti Haji Ahmad, who was originally from the village of Kampung Ribu, Mukim of Kota Lama Kiri, Kuala Kangsar, Perak.

According to her family members, Puan Hajah Aishah had Chinese ancestry as her maternal grandfather was a Chinese Muslim from Guangdong (Canton in English). She was in fact one of his cousin’s daughter and was much younger (about 8 to 12 years younger) than him.

Puan Hajah Aishah was a full-time housewife. She passed away peacefully in the family house of old age in May 1997. They have nine children — 1) Habsah, 2) Ahmad Mahiyudin, 3) Rokiah, 4) Sarah, 5) Mohammad Ali, 6) Khadijah, 7) Salleh, 8) Othman and 9) Rahmah.

However three of Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s children (Tuan Haji Ahmad Mahiyuddin, Tuan Haji Mohammad Ali and Rokiah) are now deceased.

His Children

1. His eldest child and daughter, Puan Hajah Habsah (born in 1923), formerly a religious school teacher, was married to the late Haji Sheikh Harun bin Abdul Rauf Al-Marbawi (brother of the late Sheikh Idris Al-Marbawi, a renowned Islamic jurist and author). They have ten children - 1) Lotfi (deceased), 2) Halimah, 3) Yang Asmah, 4) Sa’odah, 5) Ayob, 6) Sallehah, 7) Mohamad, 8) Ahmad Shukri, 9) Latifah and 10) Khuzaimah.

2. His eldest son, Tuan Haji Ahmad Mahiyuddin (born in 1925), formerly a postmaster and then a senior personnel with the Postal Department in Penang, passed away peacefully of old age in November, 2006. The late Haji Ahmad Mahiyuddin was married to Hajah Che’ Uteh binti Haji Muhamad Ali. They have four children - 1) Salmiah, 2) Mohamed Yusof (one of the managers of MAS), 3) Sharifah and 4) Abdul Ghani.

3. His daughter, Rokiah (born in 1928), had died in Kota Lama Kanan of high fever while still young.

4. Puan Hajah Sarah (born in 1930), formerly self-employed, was married to the late Encik Ibrahim bin Haji Baki and they have a daughter (Dr. Jama’iyah binti Ibrahim of the Faculty of Medicine, University Malaya).

5. Tuan Haji Mohammad Ali (born in 1932), formerly the Pengarah, Jabatan Pembangunan Koperasi Perak, passed away peacefully in his house of old age in September, 2002. The late Haji Mohammad Ali was married to Puan Hajah Ruba’ayah binti Mohd. Noor @ Wahi Anuar (formerly a Dental Matron). They have three sons — 1) Ahmad Tajuddin (an architect based in Penang), 2) Ahmad Najlan and 3) Ahmad Azhan.

6. Puan Khadijah (born in 1935), a housewife and is still staying in the family house in Kota Lama Kanan, was married to the late Major (Retired) Zulkifli bin Razali (brother of Datuk Rahim Razali, a Malaysian TV personality) and they have no children, but they have an adopted daughter (Nihad binti Zulkifli). However she has a son from a previous marriage (Abdul Malek bin Mohamad Said, an engineer based in Kuala Lumpur).

7. Tuan Haji Salleh (born in 1937), formerly a school teacher, is married to Puan Hajah Rafidah binti Abdul Malek, also formerly a school teacher. They have two daughters — 1) Salida (a lawyer and stays with the family) and 2) Dr. Rohani (a lecturer with Universiti Teknology Petronas [UTP] in Sri Iskandar, Perak).

8. Encik Othman (born in 1940), formerly a security guard, is married to Puan Hamsiah binti Abdul Raof (better known as ‘Dah’), a housewife, from Kampung Beluru, Kota Lama Kiri and they have no children.

9. Puan Hajah Rahmah (born in 1943), a housewife, is married to Encik Abdul Aziz bin Mor, formerly a businessman. They have seven children - 1) Khairul Azlan, 2) Zur’aina, 3) Azura, 4) Akmal, 5) Hazim, 6) Shamsul Hazri and 7) Mohammad Sohaimi.


Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad bin Haji Alang Sidin passed away peacefully in his house on the 4th of May 1965 at the age of seventy-three (73) years old.


It was recalled by his surviving family members that Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad had a few prevailing ailments during his latter years, such as hypertension, asthma and hernia (of which he was operated upon).

It was however noted that Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad had suffered a suspected severe asthmatic attack (and was warded in Hospital Kuala Kangsar) but had returned home to his house in Kota Lama Kanan, after feeling well again, a few days before his untimely death.


Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad was fated to be buried next to his mother’s grave in the Muslim Cemetery at Kota Lama Kanan’s Mosque, Kuala Kangsar, Perak. His wife (Puan Hajah Aishah), who passed away much later in May 1997, is also buried nearby to his grave.

Solat Jenazah

It was said that so many people had come to pay their last respect at Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s funeral that his “jenazah” prayers (solat jenazah in Malay) had to be conducted at least six or seven times inside the village mosque so that all who came could be accommodated.

This was because the mosque at that time could only accommodate 400 to 500 persons at any one time and the funeral crowd was many times larger than its carrying capacity.

Funeral Crowd

Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s surviving family members recalled that the family’s timber house nearly collapsed because so many people had entered the house at the same time to view his remains before burial, and in fact all the roads leading to his house were choked with people and vehicular traffic for miles around on the day of his funeral.

Even with their hectic schedule, several dignitaries and political leaders (who were well known at the time) and their entourages had made time to attend Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s funeral.

It was also said that a lot more people from settlements further away from the village of Kota Lama Kanan were saddened and disappointed that they could not attend Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s funeral because news of it had come too late by several days, some even weeks.

Medical Equipments

Some of Dr. Haji Pandak Ahmad’s medical equipments, supplies and books were later donated away by his wife (Puan Hajah Aishah), after his death, to a few private doctor friends who would come by to visit her and whom she believed would have made better use of them, rather than sitting idly in the clinic.

Further Information

  1. Son—Tuan Haji Salleh bin Haji Ahmad & his wife, Puan Hajah Rafidah binti Abdul Malek of Kuala Kangsar, Perak. Tel.: 05-7761914

  2. Grandson—Ar. Hj. Ahmad Tajuddin bin Hj. Mohammad Ali of Arkitek ATMA. e-mail:

  3. Wan Zaharizan bin Hj. Wan Zan @ ‘Tot’, cousin of Ar. Hj. Ahmad Tajuddin. e-mail:

  4. Grandson - Mohamed Yusof bin Hj. Ahmad Mahiyuddin of Malaysia Airlines. e-mail:

5. Author

**Note-The first ten (10) sultans of the Perak Sultanate:-

1) Sultan Muzaffar Shah I (1528-1549)

2) Sultan Mansor Shah I (1549-1577)

3) Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Shah (1577-1584)

4) Sultan Tajul Ariffin Shah (1584-1594)

5) Sultan Alauddin Shah (1594-1603)

6) Sultan Mukkadam Shah (1603-1619)

7) Sultan Mansor Shah II (1619-1627)

8) Sultan Mahmud Shah I (1627-1630)

9) Sultan Sallehuddin Shah (1630-1636)

10) Sultan Muzaffar Shah II (1636-1653)


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