Cameron Highlands environmental awareness chief dies aged 55

IPOH: Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands (Reach) president R. Ramakrishnan (pic) has passed away.

According to his close friend Dilip Martin, the 55-year-old was pronounced dead at the Sultanah Hajjah Kalsom Hospital in Cameron Highlands at about 1am.

Martin said the cause of death is unknown as they are still waiting for the post mortem.

"His sister went to his house in Brinchang last night at about 11.30pm and found him unconscious before rushing him to the hospital," he said when contacted.

"Ramakrishnan is a diabetic patient and had complained about breathing difficulties for the past one week," he added.

Martin said apart from his environmental activism, Ramakrishnan was also actively involved with the Scouts Association of Malaysia and also Malaysia International Search and Rescue.

"He heads the disaster risk management in Scouts. He has taken part in various rescue missions in Iran, Indonesia and also China," he added.

News of Ramakrishnan's passing sent shock waves among environmentalists and local residents in the popular highland site, known for its tea planting and vegetable farms.

Ramakrishnan has helmed Reach for many years and was active in highlighting numerous issues affecting Cameron Highlands and other sensitive sites, including Fraser's Hill.

Among them include illegal land clearing, pollution of river sources and water catchment sites, traffic congestion and usage of illegal pesticides.

He was also active in promoting preservation of Mother Nature and conserving of precious natural resources.

Due to his no-nonsense and combative stance, he has incurred the ire of some parties, including the authorities after he alleged corruption due to non-action against illegal land clearers in the highland.

Former Tanah Rata assemblyman Datuk Ho Yip Kap said he was shocked to hear the sad news.

"The locals in Cameron Highlands lost a son of soil who cares so much for the environment.

"He was also my former student in SMK Sultan Ahmad Shah in Tanah Rata," said the former school principal.

Ho said Ramakrishnan was an active sportsman and took up many green efforts while in school.

Reach committee member Wong Seng Yee said he knew Ramakrishnan since he was in primary school.

"I was a scout member and he was a scout master.

"After leaving school, we often meet up to talk about environmental issues.

"He always tells us that we must be responsible for the environment as we are borrowing it from our future generation.

"He is someone who truly cares for the environment," he said.

Wong said one of the last things Ramakrishnan had worked on was to apply for a piece of land at Mossy Forest in Brinchang to be gazetted as a biodiversity research centre.

"He had worked hard on it for the last six to seven years.

"It has also gotten the support of the Pahang Mentri Besar," he added.

Ramakrishnan's funeral service will be held at 5pm at No 1, Jalan Besar, Brinchang.

For more details, contact Anbalagan 019-555 1550 or Kalayarasi 012-315 1819.

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