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P.Patto the peoples man


Speech on the occasion of the “10th Anniversary of P.Patto passing on: A celebration of his life
-at the Excelsior Hotel, Ipoh
by M. Kula Segaran

(Ipoh, Saturday):
P.Patto was born in Bagan Serai on the 10th December1946. He was raised by his grandfather as his father passed away when P.Patto was just 10 years old. P.Patto died at the age of 48 on12th July1995

He had a difficult child hood. He was a trained teacher. He was a loving father to his daughters and his wife Mary. He joined the DAP in 1971.But he quit teaching to take up posting as a political secretary to Opposition leader in 1973

He was such a tireless fighter for justice that he neglected his own health and  welfare and sacrificed much precious time he could have spent with his wife and daughters.

P.Patto contested against MIC leader Dato Seri S.Samy Vellu in the Parliamentary constituency of Sungai Siput in 1974 where he lost by a mere 644 votes. He contested again against  Samy in the same seat in 1990 where he failed to defeat Samy again. Samy was shaken by the bold and great fight P.Patto gave. But he was no match to the massive government machinery, money and media which was backing the Barisan National and its candidate Samy

In his pursuit of justice, he took care to acquire skills in languages including Tamil, English, Bahasa Malaysia and some words and phrases in Cantonese, in oratory and in analysis. He soon became a powerful orator, debater and analytical skills which his comrades and even some of his opponents equally respect, and which his supporters and admirers adored.

The detention under the internal security act (ISA) seems to have made P.Patto a more determined and more politically mature man. Politically he was more passionate, but he was also wiser.

I remember the late P.Patto as a man who had inspired many to join the political movement of this country. I had the privilege of meeting him for the first time when I was reading law in London in 1980. That meeting actually provoked my inner conscience of responsibility to the people of my motherland Malaysia. He was simple straightforward yet very articulate on issues. I eventually joined the DAP.

If there is one word which could sum up the whole career of P.Patto’s it is that as a DAP Leader and a parliamentarian, it must be the word ‘ JUSTICE’. Before his untimely death he had written a series of articles about himself entitled “Nenjukku Neethi”( in tamil) literally it means Justice from my heart. Reading the book will reveal that P.Patto was a people’s man a relentless, tenacious and courageous fighter of justice for the poor, the downtrodden, the overworked and underpaid workers, of all races and classes.  



* M. Kula Segaran, Member of Parliament for Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman

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