In memory of Mustaffa Dapat

Allahyarham Mustaffa b. Dapat (b. 21 October 1964, d. 28 August 2004).


Mustaffa Dapat was born to a former British Army employee, Dapat b. Selamat. He grew up in Kampung Stulang Baru, Johor Bahru, Johor and attended Larkin School. His father by then became a Postman at Bukit Panjang Post Office, Bukit Panjang, Singapore while his mother run an eatery stall in Larkin.

Later he attended MARA Junior Science College, Kuantan, Pahang (1977-1981). He went to Oklahoma to study engineering but later transferred to Ohio University in Columbus, Ohio and earned a bachelor in aeronautical engineering in 1986.

He came back to Malaysia during the first economic recession. After his mother passed away in 1987 to stomach ulcer, Mustaffa enrolled in the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) KD Pelanduk as a Cadet Officer. He graduated and commissioned in 1989 as the best cadet officer and earned the golden sabre from HM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong, beating more than a dozen ex RMC cadet officers in his intake.

He was initially destined to be trained as the engineer for the RMN’s Air Wing KD Rajawali. However, still as a Sub. Lt., he was sent to Royal Australian Navy submarine school near Sydney in 1992 instead. He earned his ‘dolphins’ in 1993, the first RMN officer to be certified as submariner, along with Lt. Abdul Rahman Ayob and Senior Petty Officer Suhaimi after the training in an RAN Oberon Class submarine.


His track record was so impressive that the RAN, through Australian MINDEF, requested their Foreign Office to ask MINDEF, through Wisma Putra for Lt. Mustaffa to come and serve for another tour of duty, in the RAN submarine squadron. During this time, he participated in a submarine exercise with the US Navy.


After serving ten years of short commission service, Mustaffa left the RMN in 1997 due to economic reasons. He joined ATSC Sdn. Bhd. and served as the Project Manager for the MiG 29N maintenance program, based in TUDM Kuantan, under former RMAF Brig. Gen. Richard Robless Sr. He later joined Rajawali Aerospace Sdn. Bhd. as a General Manager, also following Robless.

In 2001 when Perimekar Sdn. Bhd. put up the bid for the submarine project, Mustaffa was employed as a consultant to the project. He later joined Perimekar as a Project Manager and facilitated the project management during the lengthy technical negotiations between DCNi, Thales (now Armaris), Perimekar and the RMN. The contract was signed in June 2002 for the acquisition of two Scorpene Class SSK submarines. By then, LTAT through Boustead Bhd. was a 51% shareholder of Perimekar.

Mustaffa was sent to Cherbourg, France in December 2002, to facilitate for the Perkimekar’s contract to ensure the RMN Submarine Project Team’s work supervising and monitoring the construction, testing and commissioning of the two submarines are fully completed, according to the contract.


In late July, Mustaffa fell ill due to viral fever and was admitted to the Louis Pasteur Hospital, Cherbourg in early August. Five days later he was transferred to another hospital in Caen where he remained for the next two and half weeks. Within that time, it was diagnosed that Mustaffa suffered a rare penicillin allergy called ‘Steven Johnson syndrome’. He went into a coma and eventually just before six a.m. Saturday, 28 August 2004, Mustaffa Dapat died never regained consciousness.

His body was bathe and kapan (covered with burial shroud) at the Caen mosque. Then the remains was taken to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport on the afternoon of Monday 30 August 2007 and was flown back to Kuala Lumpur onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH 021 at noon, national day of 2004. His remains arrived in KLIA on 5.30 am 1 September 2004, accompanied by his wife Masniza Mansor, his 8 year old son Muhammad Faza Aiman, his three month old baby Misha Elyssa, Puan NorAishah M. Nasri (wife of Deputy Leader, Submarine Project Team Capt. Rosland Omar), his best friend and fellow submariner (who also represented the RMN), Cdr. Abdul Rahman Ayob and Perimekar manager based in Cartagena, Spain, Anuar. Lt. Cdr. Zulhelmi Ithnain and Lt. Cdr. Baharuddin Md. Nor were there at KLIA to receive the body and those who accompanied the remains of Allahyarham Mustaffa Dapat.


His was then remains taken to Masjid Kampung Chempaka, Kampung Tunku, Petaling Jaya and later was interned at Kampung Tunku Cemetery that noon. Relatives, former colleagues from the RMN and the Defense Attache’ of the French Embassy of Kuala Lumpur were there to pay their respect. So were representatives of DCNi and Armaris.

Mustaffa Dapat would have been forty three today if he was still with us. His passing was missed by the entire submariner community in this country, especially the RMN. I remembered specifically in LIMA ’01, during breakfast at Awana Porto Malai, former Chief of Navy Laksamana Tan Sri Ilyas Md. Din (then Fleet Operation Commander Laksda Dato’ Ilyas Md. Din) said to me “Mustaffa’s departure from the Navy was a great loss to us but later proven to be a great service to the nation. He would one day made Chief of Navy had he stayed on and served”. So did former RMN Inspector General Laksmana Pertama Danyal Balagopal confirm the same point, separately.

Adieu, mon kapitan.

Published in: on October 21, 2007 at 00:58  Comments (16)  

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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dear Biggie,

    I remember you telling me and Ena the story of this very dear friend of yours. What a loss. I hope his kids are alright. Bro, you should visit them and tell them what a dude their dad was.

    Mustaffa’s children are lving in Paris now with their mother, who married an Algerian born French physician. I was with Kept. Rahman Ayob last night and we talked about our experiences with Mustaffa.

    God, I missed my friend, dearly! 😦

  2. Thank you for the write up.. I am extremely touched. I even shed some tears while reading your article as those memories of his last days with us are still alive in my thoughts.
    Faza and Elissa are always being reminded by how great his father was. And Elissa who is now 3 and 1/2 years old keep saying that when she was a little baby, her father used to carry her…as that was his last photo with her; Mus carried her in his arms in a ‘cukur jambul’ ceremony held in Admiral Rosland and wife’s hse in Cherbourg.
    We have settled down in Paris. My husband is not exactly an Algerian..but a french born doctor with his father from Tunisia and his mother from Finland. He is a specialist in gastro and hepathology and work in one of the hospitals in Paris.
    Faza, my eldest, has started his ‘college’ equivalent to the first year of secondary school; and he is doing extremely well in his studies. He speaks good French, English and Malaysian language. He loves to dwell into scientific experiments as well as constructing objects from his lego materials. As he grows older….one cannot help but notice his physical resemblance to his father.
    I miss Mus too, in fact more than anyone can imagine. He is exactly the sort of man that everyone is talking about. He was who we perceived he was. And my children and I were lucky to have shared our wonderful life with him although it was a very short one.

  3. Salam & Greetings to all,
    I was Mus’ colleague in MRSM Kuantan. It was quite a shock to hear about his death. Yeah, Mus was already a gentleman even in those days.. Takziah to his family, semoga rohnya ditempatkan di kalangan org2 yg beriman, al-fatihah.

  4. Mus was a dear brother in MRSM Kuantan, we used to share the love for the military and fighter planes. I remembered teaching him how to become a Hockey Goalkeeper and still remember how easy it was. A person so receptive and dynamic.
    He onced made promise made to me – This was what he said – “the day i visit a military base while im studying in US – i will send you a T-Shirt” – and that was exactly what he did.. A man of his words. He was the senior that inspired me to really study hard to go to the US. That … impacted my teenager ambitions. Thank You and you will be rememberd .. May ALLAH bless you for the kind and inspiring words and action you have given me.

  5. […] kurang mendapat sambutan, Kelab Wayang Gambar terpaksa ditutup. Selang beberapa bulan, Saudara Mustapa Dapat, Tingkatan 5, salah seorang pimpinan pelajar dalam Badan Perwakilan Pelajar bercadang untuk […]

  6. Salaam semua, Al-Faatihah to my dear late brother, semoga Allah sentiasa mencucuri RahmatNya keatas roh Allahyarham, this is my third time shedding tears while reading the article. I might not be very close to him but don’t know why I my tears kept on droping… I think I missed him, I always remembered whenever I pay a visit to Mindef sometimes in early 2000 we always bump into each other and always have a little chat, doesn’t matter whether at the entrance or in the compound. Mus was a person that made me feels being respected, since the very first time we met until his last days, everytime we met. I am always proud to tell others who Mus was. I think another Al-Faatihah will make ease on my droping tears for him. May God always bless you and your families.

    Thank you. Very kind words for a dearly missed departed friend.

    Imagine what I had to go through writing this piece.

  7. I think my sis was so lucky to get married with a wonderful guy like arwah abg Mus..
    All the memories with him since i was a lil girl still fresh on my mind.. what can i say he’s really a good brother and I really miss him so much =(
    Eventho he’s not with us anymore, ma and abah always talk abt him, for ’em there’s no other like him..
    Like ma always said to me, “tak akan jumpe menantu sebaik Mus..” and ma’s tears will start to drop..
    I totaly understand what ma’s feeling..
    he was such a nice nice person..
    and for me, he’s perfect..
    and i really respect him and look up for him..
    Abg Mus always in memory.


    so sad..

    but as a naval wife… i ready for any risk..
    love Rajawali..~

  9. Dear blog owner, i was suprised that my comment has been deleted. Why? I didnt say bad things bout Arwah Mus. Or just maybe we didnt know each other.. Thanks.

  10. […] Naval Forces), Tan Sri Subhan Jasmon (then Deputy Chief Secretary MINDEF) and last but not least, Allahyarham Musaffa Dapat. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The Scorpene is completely joinedMalaysia begins […]

  11. […] best friend Mustafaa b. Dapat would have been forty six today if he was not called to be with Allah s.w.t. a little over six years ago. My greatest regret is […]

  12. […] Mustaffa Bin Dapat, an aeronautical engineering graduate who enrolled as Cadet Officer in Royal Malaysian Navy, volunteered and then selected to undergo submarine training in Australia. It is a very tough service for any seaman to specialize. It requires unsurpassed dedication, commitment and to certain extend, passion. The highly demanding job require them to work and live in conditions unlike other seamen. […]

  13. This website really has all of the information
    and facts I wanted about this subject and
    didn’t know who to ask.

  14. wish God bless him

  15. I was with Aruah onboard KD GANAS in 1991/92. He was the Navigation Officer while I was the Gunnery Officer. CO was Lt Kdr (then) Raja Mohamed. At pierside, “PILOT” often used my cabin at night to “bergayut dgn telefon” as it was closest to the Quarter Muster (handphone yet to exist) while I have to wait in the wardroom until late night to before I can claim my cabin back. I was senior to him and he is older than me, we were the only bachelor officers staying onboard . Somehow that brotherly give and take exist among us. He was replaced by Lt (then) Ahmad Taufik Sabikis. I do miss this humble guy very much. “Semoga Allah tempatkan aruah dikalangan orang-orang beriman” Amin.

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