PETALING JAYA: The MIC says it has come up with the funds to help a widow repatriate her late husband’s remains from a hospital in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
In a statement today, MIC treasurer-general S Vell Paari said the party managed to raise the RM139,087.19 required by Gertrude Anthony to repatriate the remains of her late husband, Thangaratnam Thyagarajah, who died on Feb 5 after being diagnosed with meningitis the month before.
“The hospital bill amounted to RM112,480.29 and the repatriation cost is RM26,606.90.
“The funds were contributed equally by MIC president Dr S Subramaniam and former president S Samy Vellu.
“The amount will be deposited with the foreign affairs ministry (Mofa) tomorrow.
“The ministry will then liaise with the hospital and settle the bill,” he said, adding that the ministry will also handle the repatriation of the body back to Malaysia.
Vell Paari was responding to an FMT report on Sunday in which the widow had made an appeal to the public to help raise the funds claimed by the hospital, as she was only a kindergarten teacher and could not afford it.
Gertrude said her appeals to the hospital on humanitarian grounds had failed to reduce the huge amount.
“My husband has no insurance coverage and I have two children to support on my own,” Gertrude, who has a son and daughter, aged 22 and 20, told FMT.
“I also sought assistance from the foreign affairs ministry and MIC, but failed,” she said.
However, Vell Paari says, he was aware of Gertrude’s plight since early last week and had agreed to help.
“Last Friday, I met Gertrude and Mofa officials, and we discussed on the assistance that could be given by the ministry.
“On my part, I volunteered to use my links in Dubai to either seek a waiver or a discount from the hospital.
“But not wanting to wait for the waiver or discount, I also agreed to raise the money required to repatriate Thangaratnam’s body back home,” he said.
He added that he had not wanted to comment on the matter sooner as he was waiting for everything to be organised.
“I have now informed Gertrude on the funds raised and have volunteered to organise a meeting between Mofa and her, either tomorrow or Thursday, to handle all the details.
“It’s a very difficult time for her family. One cannot even imagine the sheer agony and pain that she has to bear.
“Firstly, losing her husband and then the difficulty in trying to bring his body back home,” he said before calling on all quarters to pray for her family and offer any assistance possible to the family.