SUNGAI PETANI: Ismail Jaafar, 70, the creator of Malaysia’s first national car model name, Proton Saga, is excited over being selected to perform the Haj this year.
Ismail, who won the competition to name the Malaysian-made car in 1985, said he had always prayed hard and in fact, each year had even made an appeal (to Tabung Haji) for him and his wife, Sariah Abdul Rahman, 68, to be selected for pilgrimage in the Holly Land.
“Thank God, on the sixth of this Raya, I received a phone call from Tabung Haji, informing that my wife and I had been selected to do the Haj this year.
“We are just so excited, as our turn will be in another two years but due to the age factor, we want to go there sooner than that,” he said when met at the sending-off of Haj pilgrims from the Kuala Muda district for a pilgrimage course at Sultan Mudzaffar Shah Mosque, here, today.
Ismail, who originates from Penang and now resides in Taman Nuri Jaya, Sungai Petani, hoped that he and his wife would be in good health while performing the Haj.
“Besides advancing age, I have diabetes, which makes it difficult for me to walk but I hope our pilgrimage in the Holy Land will be smooth,” he said.
Ismail, who retired over 20 years ago, was a staff sergeant, with his last post as chief clerk at the Army School (Services Corps) in Taiping, Perak.
The name, Proton Saga, was chosen from 102,823 entries received by Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional (Proton) as the competition organiser, and the first edition of the national car was launched by the then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, on Sept 1, 1985.
Today’s send-off to the Haj course was officiated by Senator Datuk Shahanim Mohamad Yusoff, who said that Muslims in Malaysia should be grateful as the country’s Haj pilgrims management was the best, enabling them to perform the pilgrimage in comfort. – Bernama