COMMENT | The use of draconian trade union laws and the fostering of moderate trade unionism by the British and then by the post-independence government succeeded in breaking up militant post-war trade unionism in Malaysia.
The percentage of unionised workers dwindled sharply from over 67 percent to a pathetic six percent today, and radicalism among trade unionists declined woefully. However, occasionally, one could still find a trade unionist who was full of idealism, creativity in helping workers and prepared to sacrifice time and energy beyond the eight-hour call.
S Somahsundram, who passed away suddenly but peacefully yesterday, belonged to that rare breed of unionists.
Somahsundram was a veteran unionist from the Paper and Paper Products Union and was also a general council member of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC). To the working class, he was a true comrade and fighter, totally dedicated to the defence of their rights and well-being.
He was the kind of unionist you know will not sell out the workers...