KANOWIT, August 18: Former Kanowit PKR division vice-chairman, Thomas Laja, collapsed and passed away while jogging at Bukit Memaloh today.
Kanowit Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) chief, Arrahman Chik revealed his department received a distress call at around 5.44pm today concerning a man who collapsed while jogging at Bukit Memaloh.
“We sent six firefighters to the scene. Paramedics from Kanowit Hospital however pronounced him dead at the scene,” he added.
Thomas, 64 from Nanga Jagau in Ngemah Kanowit, was a former headmaster. He leaves behind his wife and five children.
Thomas together with chairman George Chen and other committee members of Kanowit PKR were expelled by the party in mid-May this year due to internal party conflicts.
Both were in the camp of former PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Chen when contacted said Thomas had been quite sick since 2016 but was diagnosed with no serious illness.
“He never knew he had any heart problem and has been jogging regularly at Bukit Memaloh,” he said.
Chen said after both men were expelled by the party, Thomas joined Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB).
“However he quit PSB as the party could not grant his wish of contesting in the Machan seat at the next state election,” said Chen.
Following that, he joined Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) which named him as their potential candidate for Machan.
Chen described Thomas as a very committed and hardworking man who sacrificed his money and effort for the people of Kanowit.
“His demise is a great loss for the town,” he said.
Thomas had contested in two state elections under a PKR ticket but lost. — DayakDaily