The death of Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM) Kedah director Lt Colonel (PA) Awang Askandar Ampuan Yaacub yesterday in a Mount Everest expedition has been described as a big loss to the country.

Former Kedah football coach Azraai Khor Abdullah, 70, said Awang Askandar was determined to enhance Malaysia’s name by conquering the world’s tallest mountain.

“I got to know Awang Askandar by joining the Civil Defence Emergency Response Team (CDERT) through a cooperative in 2020. From our first meeting, he had come across as very friendly and humble. He was also a keen football fan.

“We became close and met frequently, including when attending diving courses and participating in flood relief missions,” he told Bernama when contacted here today.

Azraai Khor said Awang Askandar had almost reached the peak as part of the Malaysia Everest 2023 expedition when tragedy struck.

“He had told me how proud he would be to wave the APM and Jalur Gemilang flags atop Mount Everest. Malaysia has lost a good leader who was generous in sharing his knowledge and experience,” he said.

Azraai Khor said he learnt about Awang Askandar’s death from his APM friends and was saddened and found it hard to believe that he is gone.

“I last met him in March but we frequently kept in touch by telephone and WhatsApp. I passed him some stuff including pickled fish for his Everest trip.

Awang Askandar, 56, was reported to have fallen when making the final ascent at 8,000 metres and was pronounced dead when he was being treated at Camp 4.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency