Bro Mohd Khalid bin Atan: Celebrating his lifelong contribution to the trade union movement

05 April 2016 08:02

It was with great sadness that we received the news on 26 January 2016 that Mohd Khalid bin Atan, or Khalid as he was fondly known, had passed away. He was a lifelong advocate of workers’ struggle and had long played a critical role of the advancement of workers’ rights, both within Malaysia and more broadly. His contributions to BWI and the IFBWW have been immeasurable.

Immediately upon announcement of his death, we were poured by tons of condolences messages around the world, no less than from Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary; Piet Matosa, BWI Vice and Crecentia Mofokeng, BWI Vice President and Regional Representative for Arica and MENA, respectively, among others. Affiliates from the Asia Pacific region has requested to have a Tribute for his contributions in trade union movement in Malaysia and abroad and send condolences to his family; which the BWI Asia Pacific Regional Office will convey when we hold a Tribute for him on Monday, 1st February, along with his colleagues from BWI Malaysian Liaison Council, MTUC and the rest of social partners that he had worked with.

This is our modest attempt to celebrate his colorful life and contributions in the movement and we would like to ask for indulgence that we cannot have all messages in this article.

Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary:

On behalf of all BWI Secretariat staff, I wish to offer my deepest condolences for the passing of Brother Khalid, a great trade unionist committed to his work, and a great friend. He has inspired many, and his legacy, both in Malaysia and throughout the Asia-Pacific region, speaks for itself. Thank you for all you have done my brother, we vow continue your work with the same tireless energy that you would have. May you rest in peace.

Rama Chandra Khuntia, President INBCFWF, India, BWI Asia-Pacific Regional Vice President 2014-2015:

I am yet to believe that brother Mohd Khalid bin Atan is no more. He was my best friend. His contribution to trade union movement as the President of MTUC, Vice President of IFBWW, and President of his own union will be remembered for a long time. I believe we have lost our best friend and one of the great trade union leaders. I pray God that his soul may rest in peace.

John Alexander, National Secretary CETWUF, Fiji, BWI Asia-Pacific Regional Vice President 2016-2017:

I am very saddened to learn about the untimely passing away of Bro Khalid Atan, a very dearest and a close friend of mine. I am shocked and still unable to come to terms that he has left us all and the trade Union movement. He and I shared some very good times together and those memories are very dear to my heart.

Bro Khalid was a dynamic leader and a mentor to newcomers in the trade union movement and BWI. Many a times he has guided me like a brother and a true friend to tackle trade union issues.

He will definitely be missed by many of us in the trade union movement, and especially affiliates in the Asia-Pacific region. I will definitely miss Brother Khalid's company at trade union meetings and conferences, and I would say that he is irreplaceable.

May his soul rest in peace as he makes his journey. Goodbye my brother, I will always miss you.

Fatimah Mohammad, UFES Malaysia, BWI Chair of International Women’s Committee:

On behalf of UFES, BWI Regional Committee Asia Pacific, Regional Women Committee and BWI International Women Committee, I would like to extend our condolences to the family of Bro Mohd Khalid Atan and members of TEUPM.

You were one in a million brother and I know so many others who will miss you just as much as I will. You were like a brother I didn't have, I'm sure you were to so many. I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that I won't see you again. You were there when UFES was in turmoil and helped us with the court cases. You inspired, pushed and motivated me to take up the challenge at international level. You guided me during my first international event, the World Social Forum 2005. And I am expecting to see you in Miri next week. But Allah loves you more. May Allah bless your soul and place you in Jannah.  

Khoirul Anam, President of the Indonesian Forestry and Allied Workers' Union (KAHUTINDO), Indonesia

BWI Chairman of Global Wood and Forestry Network:

Bro. Khalid has been very close to our union. He was involved and witnessed the democratic processes of the trade union movement in Indonesia over the last two decades. He also championed the fight to include workers’ issues in forest certification schemes.

He was a true friend, a brother, a tireless fighter for workers. His demise is a very big loss for the trade union movement not only in Malaysia, but also globally.

Rawiri (Ra) Daniels, Organiser FIRST UNION, New Zealand, BWI South Pacific 1st Substitute:

E te rangatira haere atu ra haere atu ra ki to tupuna.

He tino pouri te ngakau mea he mihi aroha ki to whanau pani.

Takoto mai ki to atua moe mai moe mai haere ki te hine nui te po haere atu ra.

To the Chief Brother Khalid, we bid you farewell to your ancestors.

My heart is deeply in sorrow to you and for the loss to your family.

Lay down and rest in the arms of your creator, sleep long and rest in the heavens of the dark, farewell our dear friend good bye.

Thank you for your tireless work, leadership and determination.

Ponkumar Ponnuswamy, President TKTMS, India:

We are very saddened to hear the news about the death of Bro. Khalid, President of MTUC.

Christopher Ng, Regional Secretary UNI Apro, Singapore:

I am saddened by the news of the passing away of Brother Mohd. Khalid bin Atan, President of MTUC Malaysia.. We will miss him and remember him for all his contributions to the Malaysian trade union movement.

Mohamed Shafie BP Mammal, General Secretary ASETUC:

With great sadness I heard about the passing of Brother Khalid bin Atan, President of MTUC. He will be truly missed. May God Almighty comfort his family and friends during these difficult days.

IFBWW/BWI Positions:

1. Titular Member in the then-IFBWW Executive Committee (1999 – 2005)

2. Regional Vice President for Asia (2006 – 2008)

3. BWI World Council: Titular Member (2006 – 2009, then again 2010 – 2013)

Positions/Titles Held in Malaysia:

1. General Secretary of TEUPM (1989 – 2014)

2. President of TEUPM (2014 – 2016)

3. President of MTUC (2011 – 2016)

4. Board member of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Minimum Wage

5. President of the Asian Trades Union Council (ATUC)

6. SOCSO Board member

7. Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) Board of Trustees

8. Member of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

9. Member of National Labour Advisory Council and Wages Council