PETALING JAYA: To many people, M. Balasundram was a formidable crime buster, but to his four children, he was their superhero.
The former super cop passed away aged 86 in February due to pneumonia and is remembered mainly for his extraordinary career in the police that spanned 30 years.
He led the investigations in several notable cases, including the bombings of the National Monument and Police Field Force building by insurgents, the AIA building siege by the Japanese Red Army and the spate of armed robberies by the infamous Botak Chin and his gang.
While his career in the police meant he was away from home a lot, his loyalty to his family was second to none, say his four children who speak of him with full of pride and lovingly.
"People would run away from danger but he would go towards it. When the phone rang at night and the door unlocked, we knew that he would be going out for work," said his 56-year-old eldest son Karunakaren.
"Even though he took his work very seriously, he always looked after the family. He was not only our father, but a true hero for us," added Karunakaren.
Balasundram's career took him all over the country, serving in Teluk Intan, Batu Gajah, Tapah, Kampar, Ipoh, Penang, Singapore, Bukit Aman and Terengganu.
He opted for early retirement in 1980 while holding the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
Karunakaren said that his father taught them the importance of hard work, honesty, humility and to be a good role model for children.
"He always told people he was proud of his children, but we were prouder of him," Karunakaren told The Star recently.
His 50-year-old daughter Sujita said her father was a gem of a man who did everything for the family.
"Being the youngest, I was his pet. He was a tough cop but he had a soft heart," she said, adding that he was a humorous person.
Karunakaren said his father who was born in Serdang, Kedah, in 1930 encouraged all his children to take up sports alongside their academic endeavours and was a keen sportsman himself.
"He hardly spoke much about his pedigree in hockey and football, however, and it surprised me just how accomplished he actually was until I researched the national and press archives after his passing," said Karunakaren.
Balasundram played for the Perak hockey team and also faced the then five-time Olympic champions India on their February 1954 tour of Malaya.
Perak was the dominant team in the country at the time, and had eight internationals in their ranks.
Balasundram became a regular in the team, and would have gone on to be in the running for a place on the national team that eventually qualified for the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 had his career not been affected by an injury in 1955.
Balasundram had also played football for Kinta Indians, Police and All Malayan Indians.
He was also in the horse racing industry after his police career, working as a handicapper for 11 years.
"We are deeply grateful for the times we got to spend together with a truly great man," said Karunakaren.
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