At the outset, please permit me to congratulate you on an excellent contribution to the Malaysian news landscape through the legendary Malaysiakini.
I am the daughter of former MIC president Tun VT Sambanthan.
I write with reference to the article by Terence Netto in Malaysiakini entitled 'MIC views Sg Siput recapture as emblem of revival'.
The thrust of the article is speculative. I wish to address two points which are factually incorrect.
1. I quote: "Folklore has it that the nexus between the Sambanthan family - the large wooden house in which he lived in the constituency is reputedly still intact - and Sungai Siput was such that when the MIC patriarch died in 1979, he was driven to the town so that his expiry could be simulated as having occurred there rather than somewhere in the Klang Valley."
Kindly note that my father passed away peacefully in his official residence at 15, Jalan Ledang (formerly Jalan Guillemard), Kuala Lumpur on the morning of May 18, 1979. He was then taken to the family home in which he was born at No 52, Jalan Lintang, Sungai Siput (North) Perak.
That he had passed away at home in KL and transported to Sungai Siput was well known at the time and a little verification would have confirmed this, rather than the tasteless tone of the statement above as published.
This was not done "so that his expiry could be simulated as having occurred there rather than somewhere in the Klang Valley".
This is a highly irresponsible statement which has no basis in fact.
2. I quote: "For that reason the party has even toyed with the notion of fielding Kunjari Sambanthan, daughter of VT Sambanthan, the MIC president who was first elected to the seat in 1959. Though the 50-something Kunjari has shown no taste for the fray, the fact that she has been propositioned is a measure of the gravity with which the MIC views the recapture of its once hallowed stomping grounds".
I wish to state here that I have not been approached by the MIC to contest in the upcoming general elections as their candidate for Sungai Siput.
Who is the source of this information that I have been "propositioned" (by the MIC?), presented as a fact. For the record, I was not approached by Mr Netto or anyone else on behalf of Malaysiakini in an attempt at verification.
Both the above quotes reflect a lack of commitment to accuracy, which is not something I expect from Malaysiakini.
Please take the necessary steps to correct the misinformation provided in both these statements contained in the referenced article.
In the context of professionalism, integrity and credibility, a formal retraction is in order. I suggest you arrange for the correction and retraction of those lines pertaining to my father's passing, as well as the misinformation regarding my having been approached by the MIC, and cause an apology to my mother, Yg B'Bhg Toh Puan Umasundari Sambanthan, and myself, to be published in Malaysiakini in a prominent spot.
This retraction and apology should be done as soon as possible, preferably within 48 hours of this e-mail.
I have written separately to Mr Terence Netto.
Editor's note: Deva Kunjari, as a rule, once an article is published, it cannot be retracted. However, corrections can be made should there be any errors, misrepresentations or omissions.
The writer was not referring directly to the facts relating to the death of your father, but to the ‘folklore’ surrounding a man who was seen by many as an icon in MIC.
As for you not “propositioned” to contest in Sungai Siput, we concede that perhaps “suggested” would be the better word as the emphasis was on the fact that some leaders in MIC had mooted the idea, and not on you being approached to be a candidate.
While the writer has no intention to malign the late Sambanthan, Malaysiakini nevertheless apologises to you and your mother for the pain and hurt the article may have caused.