KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11: Two Malaysian students were killed when they were knocked down by a pick-up truck while crossing a road in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the United States, after breaking fast on Sunday.
Norhananim Zainol of Kuala Nerang, Kedah, and Teh Nannie Roshema Roslan of Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan, both 21, were crossing Plymouth Road about 6.20pm (7.20am Monday Malaysian time) when the accident occurred.
The engineering students of University of Michigan were on their way home after breaking fast at the mosque at the Islamic Centre of Ann Arbor.
Both suffered head injuries and were pronounced dead on arrival at the University Hospital. The driver of the pick-up truck was detained by police for questioning but released after having his statement recorded.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed the accident, adding that the families of the deceased were informed yesterday. She said arrangements were being made to fly the bodies back to their respective hometowns.
In Alor Star, the family of Norhananim Zainol described her as a bright and independent young woman. Retired teacher Zainol Hanafi, 72, said his daughter, a third-year electrical engineering student, had never made any special request for the family to send her anything during her stay in the US.
Even when members of the family offered to send her her favourite food, he said she would turn the offers down. Zainol said the family was concerned as Norhananim had been unable to return for the Hari Raya celebration since she went abroad.
"We kept asking her year after year whether she wanted her favourite dishes like rendang or our home-made Raya cookies but she always said tak payah susah susah (no need to trouble you)." Although the family lived in Kampung Bukit Tembaga Selatan, Kuala Nerang, Zainol said Norhananim would be buried at the Kampung Seberang Chegar Muslim cemetery in Anak Bukit upon the request of his 90-year-old mother Jam Sulaiman.
"We were informed of her death by a Mara official at 9.30am yesterday. It was a big shock as we last spoke to her over the telephone two days ago," he said.
"She sounded her usual self and she inquired about the family especially about her mother.
"My mother requested that my daughter be buried here as our family members had been buried here for generations." In Kota Baru, Teh Nannie's mother said her daughter would call home almost every week. Noziah Mohd Noor, 50, said the third-year mechanical engineering student last called home on Saturday.
"She was on the phone for about two hours and among other things told us that she had sent a Hari Raya gift parcel home," she said when met at her house in Taman Pakatan, Pengkalan Chepa.
Noziah said Teh Nannie, the third child in the family, returned home for two months in June.
She was informed of the accident by her husband Roslan Matsid, an accounts assistant at the Statistics Department in Ipoh.
"The Malaysian Student Department in Michigan rang me yesterday while I was driving but they did not say anything as they wanted to contact my husband." She said Teh Nannie and Norhananim had been close friends since arriving in the US three years ago.
Teh Nannie's body is expected to arrive from the US on Friday and will be buried at the Kampung Banggol cemetery.