He almost lost car and $27,500 in Johor Baru
Football fan was waiting to deposit money meant for matchday trip when incident happened in Johor Baru
When he opened the door of his car, the sight of ash on his seat and smell of clove cigarettes alarmed him.
Mr Akbar Hashim had driven to Johor Baru by himself on Thursday morning and he did not smoke.
The 54-year-old, who heads local football fan club Die-Hard Fans Singapore, has been organising trips overseas to support the national team, as well as the former LionsXII in the Malaysian Super League, since the 1990s.
He told The New Paper (TNP) yesterday: "Something was wrong. I knew that someone had been in my car."
Mr Akbar's first thought was to reach under his car seat, where he had stashed a sling bag.
The bag contained RM80,000 (S$27,500), which he had intended to deposit into a bank account that day.
The money was meant for a trip he was organising for Singaporean football fans to attend the Sultan of Selangor Cup at the Shah Alam Stadium in the state of Selangor.
Mr Akbar heaved a sigh of relief when he felt and opened the bag.
"When I grabbed the bag by the sling, it felt like it had some weight.
"Thank God the money was all still there," he said.
Mr Akbar then checked the glove compartment for his passport and found that it was still there.
Just when he thought everything was fine, Mr Akbar was shocked to see that the ignition key slot of his Toyota Wish had been damaged.
"Someone tried to steal my car, but they must have fled when they couldn't get the engine to start," he said.
When he realised he could not start the car to return to Singapore, he phoned a Malaysian friend in Johor Bahru for help.
The friend helped to get the car to a workshop, where the ignition key slot was replaced. It cost Mr Akbar RM1,000, but he said it could have been much worse.
He was thankful that whoever tried to steal his car had not looked below the car seat or searched his car.
Mr Akbar said the money would be used to charter 34 buses to send 1,000 supporters from Singapore to Shah Alam to watch the match between Singapore Selects and Liga Super Malaysia on May 7.
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah started the event in 2001 to promote closer relations between Selangor and Singapore.
Last year's edition, which was scheduled for Oct 4, was cancelled due to the severe haze.
Mr Akbar told TNP that he had gone to the Larkin Market, which is popular among Singaporeans, to have breakfast at 7.30am.
He had parked his car near a taxi stand and took his time to eat because he was "killing time" while waiting for the bank to open.
"Besides, no one knew I had that money in my car and I always park there," said Mr Akbar, who visits Johor Bahru at least twice a week.
Someone tried to steal my car, but they must have fled when they couldn't get the engine to start.
- Mr Akbar Hashim