Farewell to a 'true son of S'pore'

Traffic policeman's death a tremendous loss: Shanmugam

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Police officers carrying the casket of Staff Sergeant Nadzrie Matin to a hearse in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 5 yesterday.
Police officers carrying the casket of Staff Sergeant Nadzrie Matin to a hearse in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 5 yesterday. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Staff Sergeant Nadzrie Matin was involved in an accident along Serangoon Road.
Staff Sergeant Nadzrie Matin was involved in an accident along Serangoon Road.
A grieving relative at Choa Chu Kang Muslim Cemetery, where Staff Sgt Nadzrie was laid to rest. Hundreds gathered at the officer's home, Al-Khair Mosque and the cemetery to bid a final farewell. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

Friendly, outgoing, dutiful and generous to a fault - this was how friends and colleagues of traffic cop Nadzrie Matin, who died in the line of duty, was remembered yesterday at his funeral.

Among the hundreds who went to pay their respects was Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, who described the 29-year-old staff sergeant as "a true son of Singapore", whose death was a "tremendous loss".

The officer was accorded a ceremonial police burial.

"Officers like him go about their duties day to day, unsung heroes," Mr Shanmugam told reporters at the void deck of the late officer's Choa Chu Kang block of flats.

Staff Sgt Nadzrie was on patrol on a Traffic Police motorcycle on Thursday morning when he was involved in an accident along Serangoon Road. The 52-year-old driver of the other vehicle - said to be a black van - has been arrested for a negligent act causing death, said the police.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Shanmugam highlighted how Staff Sgt Nadzrie was a "promising Home Team officer" who received a medal for good service in 2015, and was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant in June last year.

Staff Sgt Nadzrie was married for 31/2 years and had four siblings - two elder brothers and two elder sisters. He did not have any children.

Although his family declined to speak to the media, others shared their memories of Staff Sgt Nadzrie.

A friend, Ms Nurmarrini Mohamed Yunos, described him as a friendly and chatty person who was generous.

"He even bought robes for my two sons when he and his wife went for umrah last December," said the 31-year-old, referring to the minor pilgrimage to Mecca performed by Muslims.

Colleagues remembered Staff Sgt Nadzrie as an officer whose enthusiasm for his duties was never dampened by the demands of the job.

At the void deck of the flat where he lived, his body was carried to a hearse by Traffic Police officers dressed in their ceremonial white tunics.

As they lifted the coffin draped with the national flag, the officers could be seen holding back tears.

Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Zaqy Mohamad also came to offer his condolences to the family.

The body was taken to Al-Khair Mosque at Teck Whye Crescent, where hundreds gathered for funeral prayers, filling the ground floor of the three-storey mosque.

The hearse arrived at the cemetery shortly after 3pm.

There, policemen lined both sides of the road leading to the grave, saluting their fallen colleague as his coffin was carried past.

The Last Post - a bugle call usually sounded at military funerals - was played as his family lowered his body into the ground.

And it was not just friends and family who attended the funeral.

Taxi driver Osman Umar, 60, had never met Staff Sergeant Nadzrie, but came to pay his respects as his children are also police officers.

"I'm sure his family is proud that he died in the line of duty," he said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health Amrin Amin, who attended the burial, spoke to reporters about the staff sergeant's generosity, saying he treated all of his colleagues to a meal just a few days before his death.

"We've lost an outstanding officer," said Mr Amrin.

He added that Staff Sgt Nadzrie embodied the police motto of "Setia dan Bakti" (loyalty and service in Malay) until the end.

"The police and the Home Team are proud to have had someone like Nadzrie, who served until his last breath as a police officer."

Friends and family say prayers at funeral str.sg/4LdN

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2017, with the headline Farewell to a 'true son of S'pore'. Subscribe