Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Immortalising Patto's legacy - NST

P. Patto fought tirelessly for the people’s right to freely practise their culture, language and religious beliefs

IPOH: Jul 16, 2008 By Jaspal Singh

With Pakatan Rakyat forming the state government, the state DAP's wish to immortalise P. Patto's legacy will soon come true.

More than 10 years ago, after Patto's death in 1995, the party had proposed to the Ipoh City Council that one of the major roads in the city be named after the late DAP stalwart.

The proposal, handed to the local authority during an input-gathering session for a 10-year Ipoh structural plan, was never adopted.

Perak DAP deputy chairman M. Kulasegaran said it was time to pay tribute to Patto's legacy as the latter had fought for the rights and betterment of the people during his three decades of political struggle and sacrifices.

"He was one of Perak's famous sons like so many others whose names have been immortalised by the streets and roads which are named after them. It is sad that our proposal was never considered," he told the New Straits Times here yesterday.

Kulasegaran said the decade-old proposal would be revisited and implemented without delay.

"After the recent elections, many party members have voiced their wish that a major road be named after the late Patto to honour his contributions."

Patto was born in Bagan Serai in 1946. He was married to S.A. Mary and the couple had two children.

Though he stood in six general elections from 1974-1995, Patto is best remembered for challenging MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu in the 1974 and 1990 general elections for the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat. He lost both times.

He won the Menglembu parliamentary seat in 1978, was defeated in 1982 for the Petaling constituency and regained admission to Parliament when he won the Ipoh seat in 1986.

In 1995, he won the Bagan constituency, but died suddenly, 78 days after being elected as MP, five months shy of turning 49.

He, along with other prominent DAP leaders, was detained under the Internal Security Act at the Kamunting Detention Centre during Operasi Lallang in 1987 for 15 months.

Patto was the founder of the DAP Socialist Youth wing in 1973 and was its first secretary. He held various high positions in the DAP until his death.

Kulasegaran said Patto would always be remembered as someone who fought for the inalienable right of every citizen to freely practise his culture, language and religious beliefs, and for upholding the view that all Malaysians be judged by their character and not by the colour of their skin.

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