KUALA LUMPUR: A man of many talents and a great sense of humour.
This was how former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik described his long-time friend and colleague, the late Tun S. Samy Vellu.
“He had a great sense of humour that made even the most serious figures in the Cabinet burst with laughter.
“Even Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad enjoyed his jokes,” he said when met during the former MIC president’s wake on Friday (Sept 16).
Recalling their Cabinet meetings, Dr Ling said he especially enjoyed Samy Vellu’s company, adding that he would sit next to him.
“Dr Mahathir would sit in the centre, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi next to him, with Samy and myself flanking the duo.
“It was very interesting to see how the government was run.
“Despite any disagreement, things were always resolved the Barisan Nasional way which is through peace and harmony.
“That is how we can concentrate on the good things and solve the issues,” said Dr Ling.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong who was also present, recalled receiving a visit from Samy Vellu while recuperating after an operation in Hospital Kuala Lumpur in 2015.
“It was a pleasant surprise to receive a visit from Samy Vellu himself, who was coincidentally undergoing some treatment there,” he said.
Dr Wee added that the former works minister was also someone who listened to those from all walks of life.
“When I became the Ayer Hitam MP in 2004, I brought up an issue in Parliament on the road widening works from Batu Pahat to Kluang.
“In less than a week, his team was already on the ground monitoring the situation with an RM32mil allocation coming soon after to resolve the issue,” he said, adding that this showed Samy Vellu’s commitment to serving the people.
“He is a national icon, not only for the government but also the Indian community.
“Although he is no longer with us, I am sure that his legacy will be carried on by current MIC members,” said Dr Wee.
Samy Vellu was the Sungai Siput MP from 1974 to 2008 and served as Works Minister from 1983 to 1989 and again from 1995 to 2008.