PUTRAJAYA, 14 Jan 2020:
The crane that collapsed onto the Grand Mosque in Makkah five years ago might have broken Mat Deris Mohd Noor’s leg, but not his spirit to continue teaching his students at Pondok Kandis in Bachok, Kelantan.
The religious teacher left for Makkah to join millions of Muslims to perform the Haj in 2015, but little did he know he would get injured and return to continue living his life in Malaysia with a permanent disability.
Now, despite having difficulty standing walking without a cane or assistance from his children, Mat Deris, 66, is adamant to continue his duties to help the younger generation of Muslims in the state to gain a better understanding of Islam.
“I took it as a test from Allah. I guess I was the chosen one to be tested like this and still be able to return home after the Haj,” he told reporters after joining other Makkah crane collapse victims at a luncheon with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa at the Putrajaya Islamic Complex here today.
Recounting the incident, the father of eight said he was just finished performing the Asar prayer and was reading the Quran on the second floor of the Grand Mosque when the mishap occurred.
“I heard a loud bang before something hit me and I passed out. When I regained consciousness, I thought I just sustained a head injury, but I was wrong.
“My right thigh bone was broken, a metal rod was inserted between my knee and my hip. In the first two months, I feel fine, but it started to hurt from the third month until now. I can no longer walk a long distance,” Mat Deris said.
On that fateful day of 11 Sept 2015, a crawler crane toppled over onto the Grand Mosque in Makkah – killing 111 people and injuring over 230 others.
The incident caused by strong winds and heavy rains brought the bitter memory of the death of pilgrims – who came from Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Egypt.
Following the incident, King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud ordered that one million Saudi riyals be distributed as compensation to each family of those who died and that two relatives of each of the deceased are to be the King’s guests for Haj in 2016.
Today, the families of seven Malaysian haj pilgrims who died and three victims who were injured in the incident received the compensation, presented by Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Malaysia Datuk Dr Mahmoud Hussein Saeed Qattan.
Each family of the deceased victims received one million Saudi riyals (equivalent to RM1.17 million), while the injured victims received 500,000 Saudi riyals (RM587,574) each.
When asked what he would do with the money, Mat Deris said he would spend half of the money to send his children to perform Haj and the other half for his personal use.
Mat Deris, who performed the Haj in 2015 with his wife Faridah Mat Yaakub, 50, said he would also like to commend Tabung Haji for the outstanding services rendered while he was receiving treatment in Makkah.
“They gave me the best service I could ask for when I was receiving treatment there. I returned to Malaysia as scheduled after the completion of the Haj-al-Badal.”