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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 10 — Halijah Idris, popular for her efforts in saving stray animals including dogs, passed away today after undergoing cancer surgery at Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Setar, Kedah.
According to the Pak Mie Shelter Facebook page, Halijah died at 11.15am today as she was recovering from a surgery that took place on January 28. She was 76.
Halijah, also known as Mak Intan, had set up the shelter along with her husband Muhammad Azmi Ismail in Alor Setar in 1990, helping to take care of over 500 dogs and more than 100 cats.
Their story was the subject of Malaysian amateur filmmaker Saiful Hisyam Salleh and Rahmah Ghazali in their film short, A Stray Hero in 2013, which gained publicity and was listed for international film festivals.
Muhammad Azmi previously died in 2015 after a stroke.
Her death comes as a bitter blow, with Halijah's family having just received notice to vacate the shelter at Kampung Ganding on January 28 — the day she went under the knife to have her ovaries removed after being diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer.
While she was recovering, the Alor Setar City Council also sent another notice on February 4, ordering the shelter to be demolished within two weeks.
The page, which is operated by her family said they are still in the midst of figuring out how to move the strays as the state is now under the movement control order.
Currently, 60 strays have been adopted by their friends in Alor Setar and they are pleading for help in order to erect another shelter and bear the transportation cost for the strays.
“We have received a demolition notice on 4 Feb 2021 saying it should be out within 2 weeks.
“We have given away a total of 60 dogs during this week to reduce the cost when moving and the cost of food,” a Facebook post on February 7 read.
The page also lists the bank account and contact number of her son, Badirol Hisham for members of the public who wish to chip in with contributions.