Honouring a Malaysian hero


  • Metro News
  • Friday, 22 Jun 2018

Sambanthan garlanding Tunku Abdul Rahman to welcome the latter home from Malacca where he had proclaimed the date of Independence in February 1956. – National Archives

HUMAN Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran has paid tribute to VT Sambanthan for his contribution towards Indian society and the independence of then Malaya.

Speaking in Buntong, Ipoh, during the commemoration of what would have been Sambanthan’s 99th birthday on June 16, Kulasegaran said Sambanthan should always be remembered as one of the founding fathers of Malaysia who always stood firm on the issue of cementing national unity in the country.

“Some youth who may not know of the great man might still recognise his name from one of the busiest roads in Kuala Lumpur, located in Brickfields.

“He worked tirelessly to empower social co-operatives, which later became the National Land and Finance Co-operative Society (NLFCS), to aid plantation workers and to convince them to stay and work the land rather than contemplating returning to their homeland,” he said.

Kulasegaran (third from left) speaking to guests during an event to mark Tun V. T. Sambanthan’s 99th birthday in Buntong.
Kulasegaran (third from left) speaking to guests during an event to mark Tun V. T. Sambanthan’s 99th birthday in Buntong.

“He was also one of the country’s first Cabinet ministers who never stopped championing racial and national unity as well as building bridges between communities. He called our society a plural society,” he added.

The Ipoh Barat MP also said he was honoured to meet Sambanthan’s wife Toh Puan Umasundari Sambanthan, who told him to remain steadfast, honest and transparent in performing his duties as a minister.

“It is indeed a great honour to have known the great Sambanthan and to meet his wife.

“Tun will always be remembered as a trustworthy man, free of corruption, with his heart firmly set on forging ties between races, while his wife is still a remarkable woman who fights for women’s rights and was always above politics,” he said, adding that he is honoured and humbled to hold a similar portfolio as Sambanthan, who was the country’s first labour minister.

“Umasundari also asked me to ensure that all workers are protected, their rights defended and that labour standards are improved,” he added.

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