The son of celebrated Malay nationalist leader Ahmad Boestaman, the Tanjung Malim-born social scientist was formerly the deputy president of Parti Rakyat Malaysia, which have since merged with the Parti Keadilan Nasional to form the PKR.
He left behind a wife, two children - a son and a daughter, and a grandchild. It is learnt that Rustam passed away after suffering from difficulties in breathing early this morning. According to daughter Ariani, he could have suffered a heart attack.
"It was all so sudden. We had dinner together last night. He collapsed after having problems breathing at about 2.45am," she said between sobs.In recent years, Rustam was known for his occasional blog postings in his 'Suara Rakyat' and 'Karya Semasa'.
Rustam obtained his Malay Studies degree from Universiti Malaya, and later took his Masters degree in United Kingdom (University of Reading and University of Kent) and later United States (Yale University) and Sweden (Uppsala University). Rustam was an associate professor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s political science department in the 1980s.
Even to his final day, Rustam wrote from morning to dusk, said his son Azrani. "From the time he wakes up, he would start writing. He was very dedicated to the importance of ideas and the need to raise social conciousness."
He was to launch two of his latest books - ‘Failed nation? Concerns of a Malaysian Nationalist’ and ‘Social Roots of the Malay Left’ - on Saturday.
Publisher SIRD said the event will go ahead and will now be a memorium for the author. The launch will be officiated by PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.
It will take place at 3pm on April 26, 2008 at the Perpustakaan Raja Tun Uda (Selangor State Library) in Shah Alam.