S. M. Mohd. Idris

It was with a sense of shock that I heard of the passing away of Uncle Idris, which was untimely even at 93. When I last met him in March he was unwell, and in hospital, but looked well enough to carry on for another five years, or at least so I hoped.

He had some of the magic of Mahatma Gandhi: a leader who could inspire people to act in ways they never imagined they would. He inspired all Malaysia. Regretfully, I forgot to ask him the secret of that. Very widely read, up-to-date and sharp. Totally dedicated to others and unwaveringly honest. Therefore, even when we disagreed, there was never any rancour, just laughed it away. Here he is at the International Islamic University Malaysia (to receive an honor) wearing a robe which he did not want to wear, but did so anyway!

S. M. Mohd. Idris

Most obituaries have remembered him for his remarkable work on CAP and SAM and the Third World Network. But he also took a major initiative in education in the form of Multiversity and the many conferences he initiated to decolonise education, and the series of books he got published through Multiversity and Citizen’s International. As Tan Sri Dzulkifli Razak noted, that was way before #RhodesMustFall.

Uncle Idris will certainly live on through the numerous initiatives he took.

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