M'sian Receives Heartbreaking News Of Dad's Passing 15 Minutes Before Convocation Ceremony

23-year-old Haslina Kalang said she was initially hesitant to travel from Sabah to Terengganu to attend her convocation ceremony.

Cover image via Ghazali Kori/New Straits Times & Ghazali Kori/Harian Metro

23-year-old Haslina Kalang broke down in tears while receiving her graduation scroll yesterday, 6 November, having just received news of her father's passing shortly before her convocation ceremony

According to Harian Metro, Haslina appeared sad on stage at Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA)'s 15th convocation ceremony, as she had learned about her father's death only 15 minutes prior.

A somber atmosphere filled the hall as Haslina was embraced by associate professor Dr Syarilla Iryani Ahmad Saany. UniSZA's chancellor Tan Sri Mohd Yusof Noor and top management of UniSZA were also present, all of whom felt for the girl.

The fresh graduate from from Tawau, Sabah was receiving her Bachelor's Degree in International Relations.

Haslina explained that she tried to contact her 48-year-old mother, Kurniati Iskandar, to inquire about her 56-year-old father, Kalang Tona, before the ceremony, but was told that he could not answer the call

"Before entering the hall, I called my mother because I wanted to speak to my father, but she informed me that he was taking a shower.

"However, while inside the hall and about 15 minutes before my turn to go on stage, I received a call from a neighbour who informed me that my father had passed away," she told Harian Metro when met at the campus in Terengganu.

Haslina is the second eldest of her five siblings. She mentioned that she travelled to UniSZA on Sunday, 5 November, accompanied by her 24-year-old sister, Kasnia.

She said that she was initially hesitant to make the journey to Terengganu, but her father urged her to attend the convocation

"Last year, my father suffered a stroke, and lately, his health deteriorated as he often stayed awake late at night and had trouble sleeping.

"After I finished my studies at UniSZA last year, my mother and I took care of him. What saddens me the most is that I couldn't share this joyous day with my father," she lamented.

She added that she was initially planned to return to Tawau today, 7 November, but decided to leave immediately yesterday.

"I am thankful to the UniSZA management for providing financial assistance by offering RM2,500 to cover the flight cost to Tawau," Haslina said.

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