Early this year I received a short messaging service (SMS) on the mobile phone from a contact informing me the passing of my good friend Haji Ramli Samat at the Ipoh General Hospital.
Ramli was staying alone after his wife Azian passed away a year earlier and their two children were working outstation. He was not well for sometime due to gout and complications of diabetes. The gout limited his movement and he had to use the chair to pray.
He called me a few weeks before being admitted to talk about old time and updating ourselves. I wanted to visit him should I be in Ipoh but it was fated that the opportunity did not arise.
I have known Ramli when I joined Radio Malaysia at the end of 1963 and we became close pal.
He was from Mesjid Tanah, Melaka. After School Certificate he found a temporary teaching post in Kuala Selangor. After a short stint there he was offered the post of Broadcasting Asssistant Grade III (BA 3) at the Malay Service of Radio Malaysia at Federal House. He had a good husky voice. He loved the job and really made an effort to improved himself. His voice became one of the well known at that time.
He was one of those who was thrifty at that time and could afford to own a brand new Mini Minor which made him more popular with colleagues in the office.
We came very close when he heard I was about to rent a flat at the Malayan Mansion in Jalan Mesjid India, the area known as the infamous “Belakang Mati” in the yesteryears prior to its development with a spanking new mosque built by the India Muslim traders of the area.
That was 1965. I took him as my roommate in the master bedroom. We had a jolly good time and happily enjoying our work at the office. Soon after he received a transfer letter to be Radio Malaysia pioneer representative in Ipoh. His initial reaction was to rebel and he wanted to appeal. I cannot blame him as he was getting high mark on the popularity chart with the audience.
I didn’t actually know how to react but decided to advice him to accept the transfer order – someone has got to go and fill the post. I told him Ipoh was my hometown and where I went to school. He is going to like the place and meet nice friends. After some friendly persuasion, he decided to give it a try at the spanking new office and studio in Dairy Road.
So one nice morning on a Sunday we bade him farewell at the car park of the Mansion. Maybe out of loneliness he called me daily for consultation for the first few days. He must be getting into his stride at work, the called ceased later but he still made his way to KL during the weekends.
At the end of 1965 I too received my transfer order to be the Malay Programme Organiser (MPO) for the Northern Region based in Penang; the responsibility encompassed the four northern states of Penang, Perak, Kedah and Perlis. At that time Ipoh was the only one that has an office and studio. Ramli was answerable to me in Penang. He liked that very much rather than being tied up to the headquarters in KL. We had good working relationships.
Ramli had a way with people. His Public Relation was on top. He came to be liked by the locals. He enjoyed his work and gave good local reports.
Later he and Michael Ho of the Entertainment Department in Ipoh became very close with the Rishah Band, established by Sultan Idris who was a proficient saxophonist and composer. Ramli became acquainted through his contact Raja Ismail, the Sultan younger brother. R.Ismail was a radio drama script writer in KL and write lyrics for songs too. He was always with us in Kuala Lumpur. This made Ramli enjoyed his job.
His stay in Ipoh became more intimate when he met his wife Azian which finally led to their marriage.
Good thing has got to come to an end. On promotion he was transferred to KL. I was in the same position as before, advising him to follow order. He reluctantly went to Angkasapuri.
I was later transferred to KL too. On taking charge of the Sports Division Ramli approached me for a place. RTM has got other plan for him but I took him in on casual basis. In fact he joined the team that covered the Final of the Thomas Cup in England in the 80s. He enjoyed doing the job.
Being a thrifty person he purchased a semi D house in Kelana Jaya. Then he was transferred to be in charge of the newly established Shah Alam station on promotion. Although it was not to his liking but he went.
Soon after he was posted to his favourite place to take charge of the Ipoh station. He renewed his acquaintance there and established himself in social work.
Finally he retired and settled in Ipoh.
Semoga Allah mencucuri rahmatNya dan menempat rohnya di kalangan orang2 yang Soleh.