All he wanted was to save money by buying cheaper groceries for his family this Ramadan.
But his short grocery run to Johor Baru on June 5 ended in tragedy, leaving his family without their main breadwinner ahead of the Hari Raya Puasa festivities.
Mr Zulkefli Yusop, 47, a driver, was killed in a hit-and-run accident at Jalan Johor Bahru, heading towards Kota Tinggi, near the Eastern Dispersal Link Expressway at 7.35am.
The Singaporean’s motorcycle was hit by what is believed to be an orange Proton Waja on the right-most lane, causing him to fall off.
His widow, Madam Rohaya Zainal Abidin, 44, told The New Paper yesterday that the impact was so great that the front bumper of the car was ripped off and got lodged in the rear wheel of the motorcycle.
“He left after morning prayers that day, at about 5.30am, to go to Johor Baru to buy groceries and pass some money to his mother who lives in Taman Pulai,” the part-time cashier said in their two-room flat in Marine Terrace.
“I never expected something like this to happen,” she added before breaking down in tears.
The Johor Baru (South) traffic police chief, Deputy Superintendent (DSP) Wan Zulfikri Wan Othman, told Berita Harian that after Mr Zulkefli fell, another car hit him and dragged his body for about 40m.
“After the collision, (the driver of the Proton Waja) did not stop,” said DSP Zulfikri.
“He (Mr Zulkefli) fell on the right-most lane where another car, a Perodua Myvi, could not brake in time. The body was then dragged for about 40m.”
Mr Zulkefli was pronounced dead at the scene.
Told of her husband’s death within the hour, Madam Rohaya broke down after breaking the news to their four children – two sons and two daughters aged seven to 16.
“I got a call from my relatives in JB at about 8am. They told me that my husband had died in an accident,” she told TNP.
“When I woke my children to tell them, they said, ‘Don’t joke,’ and then started screaming and crying.”
Madam Rohaya said the Johor police told her relatives that a third car had crashed into the Perodua Myvi, which brought both cars to a halt.
The RM600 (S$200) meant for Mr Zulkefli’s mother, as well as his mobile phone, were missing from his body.
TNP understands that the driver of the Proton Waja is still at large.
Enraged by the driver for not stopping to help her husband after knocking him down, Madam Rohaya said: “I wish I could strangle that person. My husband is gone. I don’t know how to carry on.”
Told that pictures of the accident were circulating on Facebook, she found photos of her husband’s motorcycle with an orange bumper lodged in its wheel.
She said her husband had bought the second-hand motorcycle in January and was still paying the instalments.
“We were on our way to a better life. Two days before the accident, my husband, who was taking home $1,300 a month, had gone for an interview for another driving position that would pay better,” said Madam Rohaya.
“But now, I don’t know how we’re going to manage.”
After his death, the company her husband had applied to called to say that he was being offered the position.
The new job would have given him an additional $200 a month, a tidy sum for a family that depends heavily on financial assistance schemes to get by.
The children make do with $5 a day, often eating their meals at home to save money, Madam Rohaya said.
They also do not have a family portrait – they only have Mr Zulkefli’s passport photo to remember him by.
Muhammad Nur Fadhli Zulkefli, 16, said his father often pampered him and his siblings.
“He gave his best for us, sometimes taking me to school despite being tired after his night shifts,” he said.
“He would also sometimes spend a little more and buy us treats like murtabak to make us happy.”
Fadhli said that with Father’s Day around the corner, he could not be more heartbroken.
“Two weeks before the accident, he told me that if one day he’s gone, I was to look after my mother and the family,” he said.
“I told him to stop talking nonsense, but now that he really is gone, I am going to try my best. It is what he would have wanted.”