Biography of K. R. SomasundramGeneral Knowledge »
Tan Sri Dato K.R. Somasundram (born 13 March 1930) is a prominent Malaysian Indian of some stature.
Born in Teluk Intan, Malaysia in 1930, he was the son of a grocer who gained prominence by heading the National Land Finance Co-Operative for the last two and a half decades.
World War II
Somasundram attained basic education but this was interrupted with the advent of World War II. He joined the Indian National Army at the age of 14 and later after World War II trained at the Tanjung Rambutan Training Camp where he gained Executive rank by the age of 20. He was then posted to the Azad School in Singapore for Combatant Training.
K. R. Somasundram Political Years
After his stint in the armed forces, Somasundram worked at Bukit Sidim Estate in Kedah and by 1962 became the Estate Manager, one of the first non-British to be in such a position.
K. R. Somasundram became Vice Chairman of the Malaysian Indian Congress, Kedah Branch and a member of the National Central Working Committee. In 1967 he was elected as a Senator for Kedah. Part of his role was to represent the Malaysian Government in the 1968 UN General Assembly.
In 1960 Tun V.T. Sambanthan, leader of the Malaysian Indian Congress touted the idea of a social co-operative to help plantation workers during the British land sell-off. Tun Sambanthan and Somasundram worked closely to purchase their first estate at Bukit Sidim in that same year.
The co-operative was later called National Land and Finance Co-operative Society (NLFCS). Somasundram took over the Chairmanship of the company upon the death of Tun Sambanthan and still actively manages the co-operative.
K. R. Somasundram is also a strong advocate for Tamil rights in Malaysia. He has been generous with the money of the co-operative he heads.
Today NLFCS has 19 estates totalling 35,000 acres (140 km2), as well as investments in palm oil, property and banking. Somasundram is currently Chairman of NLFCS and has been for the last two decades.
Honours and Achievements
Due to his contribution to society through the co-operative he manages, Somasundram has been honoured on numerous occasions. In 1965 he received the AMN (equivalent to the British MBE), a Justice of the Peace (JP) in 1971, a Datoship in 1988 as well as being conferred a PSM, bearing the title ‘Tan Sri’ in 1996.
K. R. Somasundram is also an honorary Indian citizen as well as being conferred a Doctorate by the University of Newcastle, Australia. Somasundram is also the first Indian Chairman of a floated firm in Malaysia (Premium Nutrients, Bursa Malaysia).
In 2007 he was awarded the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the president of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.which caries title of Padma Shree.
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