BUKIT MERTAJAM: Veteran trade unionist Francis Xavier, 59, died when his motorcycle was involved in a head-on collision with a car which had skidded into the opposite lane at Jalan Kulim. Four other motorcyclists were also injured in the incident which occurred at about 11.30pm on Tuesday night. The driver of the car, who is believed to be in his 20s, had apparently lost control of the vehicle, causing it to skid and collide with the motorcycles. Francis, who sustained serious abdominal injuries, died at 4am at the district hospital here.
Three motorcyclists are still being warded while one received outpatient treatment. Francis’ brother Henry Basil, 55, said Francis was a bachelor who lived alone in a rented house in Taman Remia here. Malaysian Trade Union Congress Penang branch secretary K. Veeriah said Francis had been involved in the trade union movement for more than three decades. “It is a big loss to the movement. I, too, have lost a friend because he was my schoolmate at Bukit Mertajam High School in the mid ‘70s,” he said. “In March, he was appointed the coordinator of the newly registered northern region Electronics Workers Union,” he said. Central Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Azman Abd Lah appealed to eyewitnesses to come forward to assist in investigations.