Peers, teachers remember Shahar

National 2 minutes, 41 seconds


TRIBUTES have poured in for the 36-year-old student at Jefri Bolkiah Engineering College (MKJB) who was found dead in Miri last Sunday.

Students and teachers of MJKB told The Brunei Times yesterday that Shahar Abdullah, a first year Diploma student in Nautical Studies, would be remembered for his “academic excellence, outspokenness and creative ideas”.

Miri police confirmed on Tuesday that a Bruneian was found dead at a construction site in Miri, with early reports alleging that he jumped from the third floor of a building that was still under construction.

“There was no doubt about his huge potential. Even when his attendance began to decline, he was consistently among the highest academic performers in his class,” said his Group Co-ordinator Ziana Hj Mahmud.

Ziana revealed that Shahar, whose wife recently delivered their first child, already possessed a business degree from a foreign institution before he entered in MKJB.

“He had a desire to learn new ideas, accept new challenges and clearly had an interest in maritime studies,” she added.

His fellow students Mohd Mazzarol Nizam Mazrizal, Ak Md Dinie Hafizuddin and Nurwanadiah Maisali described Shahar as a “unique” individual, who “thought outside the box”.

“During presentations or when asking questions, we could tell that he was different from the rest of us. He was on another level.

“He was open-minded, very strong-willed and gave us a lot of advice since most of us are between 18 to 21 and he was much older,” said Mohd Mazzarol.

Students and staff began to notice Shahar’s declining presence beginning in April, with attendance records for the month listed at below 70 per cent. In accordance with the college's regulations, he was issued a warning letter for his absenteeism.

“I last saw him in April, just before his wife delivered. I told him that his attendance was getting worse and that he needed to improve it after his son would be delivered, and he told me he would try to improve it. The meeting ended all smiles,” said Ziana.

“A letter was issued later, which he was very upset about, but I told him he needed to show up at the school’s office and see the Head of Department as part of proper procedure. These are school regulations that I really cannot amend. He never turned up to meet until his death.”

Although outspoken in class, classmates and staff said that Shahar was very reserved about his personal life.

As his attendance declined, his course mates also tried to reach out to him, but to avail.

Shahar was last seen in MKJB on May 11, where his demeanor remained positive but was unexpectedly apologetic, according to his religious teacher.

“He requested permission from me to leave class for a short while to return later that day (May 11), which I granted,” said Ustaz Mohd Hasryin.

“As he left he told me: ‘Cikgu, I'm sorry’, and I responded, ‘It is okay Shahar’. He left and never returned.”

MKJB yesterday held tahlil prayers for Shahar's passing at the RPN Kg Pandan Mosque, and will begin collection donations to help support his family.

“We will remember and miss Shahar in class. His thoughts, ideas and personality will remain with us,” said classmate Nurwanadiah.

The Brunei Times