Haji Ahmad Fadzil Omar was born to a padi planter family in Bachok Kelantan on the 20th of Apri11947. As a child he lived with his grandmother Mariam and attended the local Malay Primary School. Being the great grandchild to the infamous religious scholar Tok Bachok, his childhood was deeply instilled with strict Islamic values and virtues.
In the early 1960s Fadzil moved to Temerloh Pahang to follow his mother where he had his secondary education at the Sultan Abu Bakar School. As a student, he was not only bright but was also active in sports especially rugby where he was captain of the school team. In co curriculum activities he was the chairman of the school debating society. After completing his GCE, Fadzil who wanted to join the army had to succumb to his stepfather’s persuasion (Whom probably knew his true potentials) to do his HSC in Kuantan.
Having excelled in his HSC, he enrolled into University Malaya but later left for England in 1968 after getting a government grant to read law at Middle Temple, London. As cost of living was rather high, he had to work as a bellboy for the ends meets. This however did not deter him from being active in the Malaysian Student Society and became its president for one term. Amongst his peers and colleagues were Syed Hamid (Dato’ Seri), lawyer Tay Ann Teng and Tunku Iskandar of the Negeri Sembilan Royalty. His 3½ years in England had transformed Fadzil from a Kampung Malay boy to an educated broad minded person with better interpersonal and leadership skills.
In 1972, after successfully being called to the English Bar, Fadzil joined the Malaysian civil servants and worked at various government departments namely the income tax department and the AG’s office as a deputy public prosecutor. Later after a brief career with Bank Bumiputra, Fadzil went on to do his pupillage at Shearn Delamore and was duly called to the Malaysian Bar on the 24th January 1975.
Fadzil was married to Madam Salmiah Acheh (whom he met while studying in England) and had two children, Agil Faisal who has a law degree from university of Bristol and Aida Salfaraz who is now doing her Masters in Keele England.
Fadzil started his legal practice by joining Wong Fadzil & Co. Two years later he became a partner at Yusof Idris Hazzan & Fadzil. This law firm was quite successful then and had branches in Kelantan, Terengganu and Kajang with the headquarter in Loke Yew building Kuala Lumpur. In 1984, Fadzil and his former partner Hazzan formed a new partnership under Hazzan and Fadzil. They had two offices, one in Kuala Lumpur and the other in Kajang. The firm still has its office in Jalan Yap Ah Shak, Kuala Lumpur.
Fadzil always complained to his family that being a lawyer was not his prerogative and he would jokingly say, he would very much prefer being a fanner. However it was his profession as a lawyer that had given him a higher stature in the eyes of society, especially in Kajang Hulu Langat. He was made the Hulu Langat Municipal Council Member for two-term from 1982 to 1986. He also became the Hulu Langat Hospital Inspector (until deceased) and the Committee Member of the Kajang District Mosque (until deceased). At the National level, he became the legal advisor to the football association of Malaysia and also the Committee Member for the semi pro league. Needless to say he was also the Committee Member of the Bar Council (until deceased).
Indeed his legal career had played a significant role in bridging his life closer to the society at large. Ironically, his last few days were spent while discharging his duties as officer of the court. Fadzil collapsed in court on the 4th of January 1990 while defending a case involving the PJ Municipal Council. He failed to recover and died a week later of stroke and heart problems; he was 43 years old.
His sudden departure was greatly missed especially by his families, former partners and former employees. Nearly 1000 people attended his funeral and the Tahlil procession. Almost all his peers from the bar were present and quite a number from the bench turned up. Even the HRH Sultan and the Regent of Pahang sent their entourage to mark their respect for him.
To conclude, Haji Ahmad Fadzil Omar was a great man who managed to colour his short-lived life and the life of others who knew him in lively cheerful colours. May all his good deeds were accepted by God and may he rest peacefully.