PETALING JAYA: Mother Mangalam, the president of the Pure Life Society in Jalan Puchong, died at 3.52pm today at the age of 97.
Mangalam, whose real name is SII A Mangalam, is known as the Malaysian Mother Teresa for her work with orphans and underprivileged children.
She had been with the society for 74 years.
Her former student and the society’s former secretary, Ravindran Raman Kutty, said Mangalam was admitted to Assunta Hospital two weeks ago for bronchopneumonia before succumbing to her illness.
Ravindran fondly remembers her as his English teacher in Standard 5 and 6 at SRK Dharma, a school affiliated with the society.
“Mother taught us a lot of things. One of them was that religions are like rivers, they all flow to the same sea,” he told FMT.
Ravindran said he last celebrated her 97th birthday at the society last month and she was her usual cheerful self.
He said Mangalam was very adept with technology, using text apps to keep in touch with all and sundry.
Mangalam was born in Singapore on May 17, 1926, and moved to Kuala Lumpur as a teacher in 1948, before joining the society a year later.
Her work with the poor has been recognised nationally, where she has been conferred the Kesatria Mangku Negara from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in 2003 and Pingat Jasa Kebangsaan from the Selangor sultan in 1955.
She was also honoured with the Tun Fatimah Gold Medal from the National Council of Women’s Organisations in 1977.
The funeral will be held on Monday. Those wishing to pay their last respects can do so tomorrow at the Pure Life Society in Puchong from 10am.