KLANG: Former MIC deputy president Tan Sri S. Subramaniam (pic) breathed his last at his home after being bed-ridden for almost 11 years. He was 78.
The former Segamat MP fell into a coma in November 2011 after suffering cerebral bleeding due to high blood pressure.
He underwent two surgeries but did not fully recover and was not seen in public since.
According to his son Datuk Sunther, Subramaniam passed away peacefully in his sleep at around 8pm last night.
When he took over as MIC president from Tun VT Sambanthan in 1973, Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam brought in young, well- educated members to inject change within the party.
Subramaniam and former MIC vice-president Datuk K. Pathmanaban, who was educated at Harvard University, were handpicked by Manickavasagam to be groomed as MIC’s future leaders.
MIC president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran said Subramaniam’s demise would be mourned by party members who knew him well.
“I remember him as someone who was always ready with a smile. He was also a person who had a lot of happiness and laughter in him,” he said.
He added that Subramaniam was a very friendly person who accepted things as they came.
“It was a big loss to the party when he fell ill,’’ said Vigneswaran.
Malaysia Nanban news editor Rajeswary Kanniasen, 64, who has been covering the MIC since the 1980s, remembered Subramaniam as a suave and polished man.
“He was humble and always cool and collected.
“Even during MIC’s volatile moments during that era, I never heard him raise his voice,’’ recalled Rajeswary.
Tamil Malar managing director Datuk M. Periasamy, who was a close friend of Subramaniam, remembered him as an articulate administrator and a good strategist.
“As a politician, he was not boisterous or confrontational and that is why he did not fight his way up,’’ said Periasamy.
He added that Subramaniam had been in a vegetative state since suffering a stroke 11 years ago
“I used to visit him on his birthdays and I would be heartbroken seeing him like that,’’ he added.
Former MIC central working committee member Datuk Dr NG Baskaran said Subramaniam was a very knowledgeable and capable leader as he had come into the party when he was young and held many positions before rising up to become the party’s deputy president.
“But most importantly, he was a friend to many,’’ said Dr Baskaran, who is also the former Malaysian Medical Association president.
Subramaniam served two terms as the Damansara MP from 1974 to 1982 and also served as the Segamat MP for four terms with his final term in the 1999 general election.
He served as the parliamentary secretary to the Labour and Manpower Ministry from 1974 to 1978, the parliamentary secretary to the International Trade and Industry Ministry from 1991 to 1995 and the Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister from 1995 to 2004.
He is survived by his widow Puan Sri Tina Subramaniam, 70, children Ananthan, 43, Sunther, 42, and Datin Dr Priya, 37, and son-in-law Datuk Sathiya Kumar.
Subramaniam’s funeral will be held at the family home at No.26, Jalan 16/5, 46350, Petaling Jaya. The time is expected to be decided later today.