PETALING JAYA, Dec 3 – In view of the racial tensions that flared up after the temple riots, Permaisuri Johor Raja Zarith Sofiah Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah remembers all her Indian friends and staff who have been part of her family’s everyday life.
“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,” she said in a post on her personal Facebook page yesterday.
She shared her heartfelt gratitude to four Malaysian-Indian men who looked after her family.
She credited the family doctors – Datuk Subramanyam Balan and Datuk Singaraveloo – as they were part of the medical team that helped look after her late son, Tunku Laksamana Johor Tunku Abdul Jalil Sultan Ibrahim, while he was undergoing treatment. Her son passed away due to cancer three years ago.
Raja Zarith shares that when “Jalil was diagnosed with liver cancer, it was these doctors with whom we – and Jalil – were most comfortable”.
“Because Jalil was used to seeing 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 Dr Balan who looked at the clock and confirmed the time of his death,” she said.
When her eldest son, Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, was just a year old – another man, Mohan, looked after him while her husband was waterskiing at Stulang Laut.
She says that Mohan taught her children how to swim and whenever the children wanted to go swimming, he would look after them, even being in the water for hours.
“He’s been their swimming coach, their playmate and their “nanny”.
Mohan would also “stay at our house because I was frightened of being in a house of just children and women (my maids)”.
Raja Zarith shares that she trusted Mohan with their lives.
“He was dedicated to the point that he would not sleep until the other staff had come in to work in the morning.”
Fourthly, there’s Asst Comm Datuk R. Sugumaran who is her husband’s police aide-de-camp (ADC).
She said Sugumaran is honest and sincere, having proven and shown his love and loyalty to her husband.
She said Sugumaran was also her youngest son’s companion.
Raja Zarith believes these four men deserve thanks from her family.