Dr M K Rajakumar: A man of the people (1932-2008)

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rajakumarHis mission was to serve the people – be it as a politician, a physician, a person. This selfless dedication stemmed from the socialist ideals he had imbibed from young: witnessing an Asia swept up in the anti-colonialist storm, going beyond being a witness in bringing about the dawn of the independence era in Malaysia.

In the 1950s, he used his pen to condemn British colonialism and call for national liberation. In the 1960s, he used his oratory skills to lead the fight for social justice, economic equity and political rights. From the 1970s, he used his physician’s craft and compassion to care for his patients, especially those from the low-cost flats and the urban slums. Through it all, his socialist convictions never wavered, only taking different forms and directed to different ends.

He was an inspiration to all who knew him, and a mentor to many. The immediate response from his friends and peers to Aliran’s call to contribute to this tribute is testimony to the high regard they have for him. From all these tributes emerge the clear image of a man devoted to the vision of a multiracial Malaysia built upon a commitment to justice and freedom. That this vision has not come to fruition in his life time might have been a source of disappointment. But he was never one to dwell on setbacks. He rejoiced at the return of a socialist member to Parliament after 40 long years, even if it was only one. As his old friends and old comrades know, he would only have urged them to swell the ranks.

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This tribute is therefore dedicated to celebrating his rich and full life and his undaunted spirit.

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