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Did You Know There’s A Giant Statue Of Malaysia’s Beloved Politician At A Kedah Uni?

Did You Know There’s A Giant Statue Of Malaysia’s Beloved Politician At A Kedah Uni?

His political career started early, at the age of 23 in 1959 and is most remembered by many for his sense of humour.

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He died in 2022. After an illustrious career as a politician that began in 1959 when he was just 23 years old, the former Sungai Siput parliamentarian retired from Cabinet in 2008 but remained in the limelight.

Who is he?

Tun S Samy Vellu, of course. He holds the record for the longest serving president of MIC, at 31 years.

His colourful journey in politics included many jokes told and retold of the verbal blunders he allegedly made; some were true, others possibly exaggerated and perhaps the rest were just made up.

Samy Vellu was a strong ally of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, having served in the latter’s Cabinet for a long time.

The statue

Samy Vellu passed away at the age of 86 in 2022. At a time Malaysia was still somewhat knee deep in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The career politician was said to have died in his sleep at his home in Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur.

Among the things he is remembered for, one is being the founder of AIMST University.

In a bid to honour his contributions, the university unveiled a giant 14-foot statue of Samy Vellu on their grounds last month.

Pic credit AIMST University

In a statement, the university said the statue stood “as a testament to the remarkable contributions of Samy Vellu, a revered leader whose legacy continues to inspire and shape the future of Malaysian education and community development”.

His visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to the betterment of society have left an indelible mark on the nation.

AIMST University

The unveiling was officiated by MIC President Tan Sri S Vigneswaran, who described Samy Vellu as a father figure.

Tun’s exceptional leadership and a life dedicated to serving the community, for many of us he was a father figure, we were his ‘political sons’ whom he mentored, groomed, and instil the love for our community so we were worthy of the responsibility we were entrusted to carry on. Therefore, without any stretch of imaginations, he embodied the AIMST University motto of ‘educating tomorrow’s leaders’.

Tan Sri S Vigneswaran, MIC President

Samy Vellu’s granddaughter Arathy Devi also took to Facebook to speak of her beloved “tata”.

AIMST University is located in Bedong, Kedah. It was commissioned by the MIC when Samy Vellu was president.

A colourful journey

Samy Vellu was born in Kluang, Johor in 1936.

By profession, he was a chartered architect but in 1959, he set out on what would be a long and storied political journey by joining the MIC at its Batu Caves branch.

With the country still in its infancy of being independent from the British, it was a time of opportunity, and uncertainty.

A well-remembered story of Samy Vellu is one that is still told by some, of how in 1963, when talks were rife of the formation of Malaysia which included Singapore, tensions were high concerning Indonesia.

After news broke that the Malayan Embassy in Indonesia was torched, Samy Vellu and Tan Sri Khalid Yunus, who did not know each other at the time, were among the many young Malaysians who marched to the Indonesian Embassy in Jalan Ampang, KL.

Pic credit Facebook Khairul Azri

The duo climbed the embassy building and brought down the Indonesian flag, replacing the pole with a Malayan flag.

Khalid was a reporter at the time and would later become the minister of youth and sports.

The two took the flag and marched it over to Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s house. It was said that the Tunku had initially refused to come out.

In recalling the incident, Khalid said they had shouted to Tunku Abdul Rahman to step on the flag but the latter refused.

“So we lifted him up and put him on the flag. I could see at the time that he (Tunku Abdul Rahman) looked sad and I remember Tunku saying ‘why are you doing this to me’,” Khalid said as quoted by Sinar Harian in 2022.

This would later spark the Ganyang Malaysia movement by Indonesia.

What happened to Samy Vellu after that? He was charged in court, fined RM2 and hailed as Hero Malaysia by the newspapers.

In 1974, he was elected as Sungai Siput MP and would continue to hold the seat for eight terms until 2008.

He served as Works Minister and also as the Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Post.

After losing the Sungai Siput seat in the 2008 General Election, he was appointed as Malaysia’s special envoy to India in 2011.

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