KUALA LUMPUR — Hundreds of people, including politicians from both sides of the political divide, continued to pay their last respects to former MIC president Tun S. Samy Vellu, who passed away at the age of 86 yesterday.
Scores of mourners were seen gathered outside the former works minister’s residence here in Jalan Ipoh since early this morning.
Many were seen bringing flower bouquets to add on to the already vast number of bouquet stands placed as a tribute to the deceased prominent Indian ethnic leader.
Former Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil arrived in a black SUV around 10.30am, clad in black and white Malay traditional baju kurung.
After almost 10 minutes, Shahrizat came out to address the media and was on the verge of tears while reminiscing her personal experience with the late Samy Vellu.
She said that Samy Vellu was a great leader not just for the Indian community but to all without prejudice.
“When we were together in the cabinet, he treated me like a sister. He taught me that in leadership you must not only have a vision, but also a good heart.
“He walked the talk when he not only implemented policies but was often seen meeting the people.
“We cannot only see him as a leader for Indians but for all races and the country. I feel like a star is gone,” she said.
Also present during the wake was Puchong lawmaker Gobind Singh Deo, who described Samy Vellu as an approachable person who was always willing to cooperate whenever it was related to problems faced by the public.
The DAP MP added that he had personally worked with Samy Vellu in the past over the latter’s legal cases.
“It’s easy to get to know him because he’s frank with his words. Whenever he needed advice, he would just call,” he said.
Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz also paid his last respect, saying that although he was never in the same Cabinet, he regarded Samy Vellu as a unique leader.
“I remember when I was a teenager and watched Tun’s powerful speeches on television, especially when championing Indian ethnic rights,” he said.
Samy Vellu had been a long-time MP for Sungai Siput, a constituency in Perak, from September 1974 to March 2008, and was among the longest-serving ministers, lasting 29 years.
Samy Vellu was also the seventh MIC president and also the ethnic Indian party’s longest-serving leader, holding the position for 31 years.
Hundreds of people from all walks of life had been streaming into the prominent Indian Malaysian leader’s house here since yesterday to pay their last respects.
His body is to be cremated later this afternoon at the Cheras Crematorium.
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