On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Pak Lah, you will never walk alone

They inched their way into the house patiently, despite the discomfort of the huge crowd, just to have a final look at Kak Endon.

I spoke to a few of these people to find out what were the qualities they admired so much about Kak Endon although they professed that they had never met her, let alone talk to her.

All said, they were deeply touched by the love showed by Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Endon. Their open display of affection touched the hearts of many Malaysians, who saw them as model husband and wife.

On Friday, I received a telephone call from Zainah Anwar, an advocate of Muslim women rights for Sisters in Islam. Zainah, a former New Straits Times journalist, had covered many assignments with me. She had the privilege of getting to know Endon and family members well, and was still in grief.

Kak Endon had always been supportive of the non-governmental organisation's cause while her daughter Nori, too, plays an active role.

Zainah suggested that I read a speech made by Endon at a function organised by the group in 2003. Endon had told her listeners that a "happy family is one that is not taken for granted, and a happy marriage is one that cannot be taken for granted".

She spoke of her 40 years marriage with Pak Lah, saying their bond grew stronger each day because they placed great priority on their relationship and their family members.

She said everyone in the family understood their responsibilities and support for each other at all times. It was well known that she did not tolerate polygamy and at one time, her views upset some people, but her focus on the family as an important institution earned the respect of many of us.

There will be Malaysians who asked whether Pak Lah would be able to cope with the loss of someone he loves greatly. The loss, as in the passing away of someone so close, would surely be felt. The loneliness would certainly be there. Pak Lah would need plenty of support from his family members, especially Nori, and close friends.

He can also count on all ordinary Malaysians who pray for him and his family. His work, health and concerns will always be in our prayers which, in the words of Endon, is the greatest gift of all.

Pak Lah's strong faith in God would certainly help him go through this difficult period. Despite his Mr Nice Guy image, he has strong character and will be able to move on, make no mistake about it.

Pak Lah, we can assure you that Malaysians will work with you in leading the country, especially in the fight against corruption. You will never walk alone.