He covered his face with a towel, trying to hide his emotions in the hangar filled with state senior police officers and men.
No matter how hard he tried to keep his sorrow in check, Goen’s pain of losing his daughter, Inspector Margaret Tagum, was written all around him.
“She always wanted to be a cop like me. Even after graduating from her studies, she really wanted to wear the blue uniform,” said 65-year-old Goen when met at the Police Air Wing Unit Hangar here.
Margaret died in the line of duty on Sunday when a teenage motorcyclist who evaded the roadblock she was supervising near Km58 of Jalan Batu Pahat-Mersing knocked her down.
She suffered broken arms, legs and hip from that accident. Ten hours after the accident, she died due to internal abdominal injuries at Hospital Enche Besar Hajjah Khalsom in Johor.
Margaret was the first commissioned woman officer who had died in the line of duty in the nation and for her sacrifice, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar posthumously awarded the 32-year-old inspector the rank of Assistant Superintendent.
The police force has been around her since young as her father, a retired Sergeant Major with the Police General Operations Force, used to be posted at the Sarawak Brigade when she was young.
“I could remember her telling me how she liked the way I looked in my uniform before we went on our jungle patrols…
“I can’t believe I am seeing her in the uniform she really wanted… but I can’t say goodbye to her,” said Goen before breaking into tears.
Margaret graduated from Universiti Malaysia Sabah with an Information Technology degree but refused to pursue a career based on her qualifications.
Goen said she even tried her luck when there was an opening for police constable back then but she failed to follow through.
“She was very sad then but I told her to keep her chin up and keep on trying. She finally got into basic training on her third attempt.
“I was happy when she finally got what she wanted all this while and I am proud to hear her achievements from her peers. She could have gone further than where I was in the force… But all that is gone now.”
Margaret began her career in the force eight years ago in 2007 and had served in several places, including Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lipis and Kluang.
More than 200 police officers, including State Police Commissioner Datuk Muhammad Sabtu Othman, senior officers and men along with army officers and personnel paid their last respects to Margaret.
Her remains will be taken to Kampung Bogag in Bau for a wake before her funeral.
She is survived by her husband, Warrant Officer 2 Leon Bahak, who is posted to Kem Mahkota in Kluang.