By SHANE SHAH
KOTA KINABALU: A prominent Sabah Indian leader Datuk K A Vanar (picture) passed away Wednesday. He was 91.
A cremation is scheduled to be held at the Fook Lu Siew funeral home at 2pm Thursday (May 02, 2019).
Vanar, who was Sabah Indian Association president in the 1990s, was widely credited with getting Deepavali declared a public holiday in the state in 1997.
His involvement in Indian community activities from the 1970s eventually saw him go into politics to give the small Sabah Indian community a voice in government.
Vanar joined the then Barisan Nasional component Sabah Progressive Party to bring Indian issues before the government.
As a minority community, he felt that Indians should work with multi-racial parties in Sabah to pursue their agenda despite the entry of MIC in the late 1990s.
Through SAPP and the then state Barisan government under Salleh Said, the cabinet in 1996 decided to approve Deepavali as public holiday.
Vanar also facilitated through SAPP state funding for Hindu temples in Sabah during his involvement in government between 1994 and 2004.
While in government, he served as deputy chairman of the Sabah Housing and Town Development Board before helming it for about year in 1997.
As secretary to the Kota Kinabalu Hindu Temple Association in the late 1980s, Vanar and other members of the temple were instrumental in putting up the unique Sri Pasupathinath Temple in Kota Kinabalu.
Vanar, whose wife Datin Kamala Dewi passed away in 1996, had four sons, the eldest of whom died in 2013, and two daughters, along with 14 grandchildren and two great grand children.
Prior to active involvement in politics, he worked with North Borneo colonial secretariat in 1947 but left to join private sector North Borneo Trading company in 1950s before joining the just set up Sabah Electricity Board in 1965 and retired as a senior manager in 1983.
He worked briefly after his retirement with Sabah Gas Industries in Labuan when it was set up before getting fully involved in Sabah Indian Association and temple association activities from the late 1980s.
Those who require funeral details can contact Mugu @ 019-881 0449.