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“With our gratitude : to the 4 Malaysian-Indian men who’ve looked after our family” Johor Sultanah remembers


Johor Baru – The Seafield temple saga despite its negative impact is also bringing out emotional and nostalgic stories about prominent Malaysian personalities who have been sharing their experiences about religious tolerances and respecting other races and religions.

Tan Vincent Tan has embarked on a mission to raise donations to buy the temple land with himself pledging RM500,000. On his own initiative he has also raised another 1.5 million ringgit bringing the total to RM 2 million. He also visited the temple yesterday and participated in prayers there.

Another Malay described on his facebook posting how Malay families in Kampong Pandan were given shelter during the May 13 riots in 1969.

Yesterday, the Johor Sultanah Zarith Sofiah Idris (pic) penned her emotions on her facebook posting, sharing her experiences how the fellow Malaysian Indians served the Johor Royal family with dedication. Her story has since gone viral.

The following is the full text of Johor Sultanah’s posting on her facebook page:

“On 5th December, it will be three years since my son, Jalil, passed away. Our family has not stopped grieving but this year, the grief is mixed with a kind of particular sadness : a sadness to see that racial intolerance and misunderstanding have come to the fore again.

With the rioting which took place at the site of the Indian temple in Subang Jaya recently, where a Malay fireman was injured seriously, and the racial tension that flared up afterwards, I thought of all the Indian friends and staff who have been part of my family’s everyday life :

With Mohan and his family at their home on Deepavali day

The ones who come to mind immediately are Dato’ Subramanyam Balan and Dato’ Singaraveloo – our family doctors. They were part of the medical team who helped look after Jalil while he was undergoing cancer treatment.

Over the years, whenever my husband or my children were ill in the middle of the night, it would be one of these two doctors who would rush over and treat them. It didn’t matter what time it was: whether it was before midnight or 3 in the morning.

And when Jalil was diagnosed with liver cancer, it was these two doctors with whom we – and Jalil – were most comfortable. Because Jalil was used to see both doctors come in and out of our home to treat us from the time he was little, theirs were familiar, friendly faces. And he had come to trust them.

When Jalil took his last breath, it was Dato’ Balan who looked at the clock and confirmed the time of his death.

Then, there is Mohan : when our eldest son, Tunku Mahkota Johor, was just a year old, it was Mohan who looked after him while my husband was water-skiing at Stulang Laut.

In fact, it was Mohan who taught all my children how to swim. And whenever they wanted to go swimming, it would be Mohan who would look after them, and be in the water with them for hours and hours.

He’s been their swimming coach, their playmate and their “nanny”.

When my children were still young, and if my husband was away from home, I would ask Mohan to stay at our house because I was frightened of being in a house of just children and women (my maids).

He would not sleep until the other staff had come in to work in the morning. I trusted him with my life and the life of my children.

And there’s Dato’ Sugumaran, my husband’s police aide-de-camp (ADC).

He has proven and shown his love and loyalty to my husband. He has always remained honest and sincere – even if it means getting yelled at (which happens quite often!)

Dato’ Sugumaran Raman helping Tunku Putera Johor get some apples from the tree

When I was on holiday in England in 2009, it was Dato’ Sugumaran who became my youngest son’s companion and who helped him pick apples from the tree; or feed the ducks in the park.

My husband and I have many friends of other races.
But, for now, while the scrutiny is on Malaysian Indians, it is these four men who I think deserve mention, and a thousand thank-yous from my family.

May Allah grant peace in our country, and a love in our hearts for each other as Malaysians.”

(Photos: Credit – Her royal highness Johor Sultanah Facebook)