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Malaysian May Be Oldest at 140

January 22, 1998

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Supporters of a Malaysian man who claims to be 140 years old are trying to get him recognized in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest living person.

If confirmed, Omar Abbas would have a more than two-decade advantage over Canadian Marie-Louise Febronie Meilleur, 117, the titleholder since France’s 122-year-old grande dame, Jeanne Louise Calment, died last August.

Other people claim to be older than Meilleur, but lack the documents Guinness requires to prove their claims, notably a birth certificate.

Although Abbas does not have a birth certificate, his birth date has been confirmed by the State Registration Department as Sept. 26, 1857, the New Straits Times reported Thursday.

The department’s head, Wahab Mohd Yasin, was quoted as saying only Malaysians born after June 1926 were issued birth certificates. Those born earlier were given ration cards recording their birth dates.

Wahab said Abbas’ birth date was transferred from his ration card to a plastic identification card in 1966, when identity cards became mandatory for residents without birth certificates.

``As long as his age is certified by the (registration) department ... this is proof of his age,″ said Irene Liong, a spokeswoman for Malaysia’s first Book of Records, to be published later this year. It plans to list Abbas as its oldest person.

Abbas married in his late 60s and lives with his 96-year-old wife, Minah, the newspaper said. It said the couple has four children, 23 grandchildren and 73 great-grandchildren.

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