I was in Johor last Friday when I received an SMS from a dear friend stating that Datuk Jamaluddin Khalid, the Police deputy director of internal security and public order, had passed away.
A former disciple of former KL CPO and FA of Malaysia general secretary, Datuk Dell Akbar Khan Hyder Khan, Tuan Jamal was occasionally given the task of handling the national team's security aspects, including accompanying the team for overseas assignments when Dell was in charge of the secretariat.
It was in Doha, Qatar in 2001 that I got the chance to talk to Tuan Jamal in private as he was the team security officer while I was covering the pre-World Cup for the Malay Mail. Upon our return, there was one particular incident at the Abu Dhabi International Airport which remains imprinted in my mind. We were on our way back to Kuala Lumpur from Doha after another failed mission.
Due to a slight misunderstanding, the coach Allan Harris and I almost came to blows. If not for the quick intervention of Dell and Jamal who played referee and separated Harris and I, I could have probably gotten a red eye and bashed up by a former player whose Chelsea legend brother Ron was nicknamed Chopper for his tough tackling.
Tuan Jamal then gave me a piece of his mind. "Mulut tu jaga sikit (watch your mouth)!" Yes, Tuan, it was a darn good advice but they don't call me loose cannon for nothing. While there were few opportunities for Tuan Jamal and I to foster a closer relationship thereafter, I kept tabs on his career in the force. Harris and I, meanwhile, remain great friends.
May the Almighty forgive him of all his sins and may Tuan Jamal's soul rest in eternal peace. My deep condolences to his family and friends, including Dell. Al-Fatihah.