KUALA LUMPUR: Former MIC president S Samy Vellu was happy as he spent his last days with his family, his son S Vell Paari said.
“He was in quite a jovial mood. Last night he said he wanted to eat fried rice and I cooked it how he wanted it. At about 10pm, he said he was tired,” he said as he shared intimate details of his father’s last moments.
Vell Paari, who is a senator, said his family was touched to see so many people coming to pay their last respects to his father.
“Today, because of his service to the community, his passing is an eye-opener of how many lives he had touched.
“He was a man who just bulldozed his way through. He was from a different time, the Mahathir era, where they were a different breed of people who just got the job done,” he said, referring to former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Samy Vellu died at 6am today and many former political leaders went to his residence to pay their respects. Some described him as an irreplaceable leader whose passing was a huge loss to the country.
Defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Samy Vellu was a leader who should be emulated by future generations.
“It is a big loss to me personally as I knew Tun when my father became prime minister until the time I served in the Cabinet with him,” he said.
Human resources minister M Saravanan shared that Samy Vellu had changed the country’s development landscape during his tenure as public works minister, while Bernama chairman, senator Ras Adiba Radzi talked about her encounters with him during her time as a journalist.
She said even though he looked like a very serious person, Samy Vellu loved to joke around.
“There was this one time at Parliament when we were rushing to get a quote, and he stopped us and told us: ‘Don’t run, you’ll fall. I’m here, and I’m not going to run away’,” she said.
Others who paid their respects included DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng, who said that Samy Vellu was a leader who did not take political differences into account when carrying out his ministerial duties.
“Despite our political differences, we can never doubt that he cared. He cared about many things, we always appreciated what he did even though we were on opposite sides,” he said.
Samy Vellu’s remains will be brought to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall crematorium in Cheras at 4pm tomorrow for cremation.