Several leaders yesterday described the death of former Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Tan Sri Megat Junid Megat Ayob as a great loss to the nation. Megat Junid died of cancer in Kuala Lumpur early Thursday. He was 65. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he was saddened by the demise of ”a close friend and colleague”. He said Megat junid had contributed a lot to the Government and country. ”he was known for being a jovial character,” Najib told reporters officiating the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Public Service Commissions here. In PETALING JAYA former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the nation had lost a leader of quality. “Megat Junid was hardworking, honest, and a minister of quality’ he told reporters after paying his last respects at the residence of Megat Junid in Kelana Jaya. Dr Mahathir, who arrived at the residence with his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali at 9.15am, described Megat Junid as a spirited individual and said that when he met Megat Junid three weeks ago, he was talking about politics despite being ill. Megat Junid had served for nine months as the political secretary of Dr Mahathir when the latter was education minister in 1976. Megat Junid, who launched his career in politics in 1972, had served for 13 years as a deputy minister and four years as a minister. He had also served as the Umno information from 2OOO to 2003. Former deputy information minister Datuk Khalid Yunus, who also paid his last respects at the residence, said Megat junid had served Umno and the country well ‘We have lost a good leader and I have lost a friend,” he said, adding that he came to know Megat Junid when both of them joined Umno Youth in the 1970’s.