Grieving mother: Politicians betrayed me with promises

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It is close to three years since a falling chair at Seri Pantai People’s Housing Project (PPR) flats in Pantai Dalam, Kuala Lumpur, killed S Sathisawaran but his family is yet to find closure.

Speaking to The Malaysian Insight, the teen’s distraught mother S Kasthuribai said that she feels disappointed and betrayed by politicians for taking advantage of her situation and for not fulfilling their promises to her.

Among the key pledges, she said that she was told she would receive justice for her son’s death and a free home in the same flats she currently resides. However, none of these were fulfilled, she added.

“When my son was killed three years ago, a number of politicians came up to me and promised me that they would get justice for his death, a free home and so many other things.

“First, Raja Nong Chik, who was contesting here (Lembah Pantai) in the last elections promised me of a new house in the same block. He lost and nothing ensued.

“Then, I remember Fahmi Fadzil (the current Lembah Pantai MP) made similar promises, but there has still been no development.

“I am still grieving my son’s loss and paying rent for the house.

“Basically, everyone took the opportunity of my son’s death for their own political gains,” said the 47-year-old restaurant helper.

On January 15, 2018, Sathiswaran, a form three student at SMK La Salle Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur, was on the ground floor of the PPR Seri Pantai flats with Kasthuribai when he was struck by a chair, flung from the 21st floor of the low-cost flats. He later died from massive head injuries.

Fahmi had previously said that he understood the family’s situation and believed justice needed to be served.

The PKR communications director then said that he was monitoring updates on the case closely.

In 2019, a year after Sathiswaran’s death, Fahmi also added that the family was moving to a new unit in the same block, which was given to them for free under the Baiti-Jannati scheme.

He said the family will receive the unit, worth RM35,000 to RM40,000, and that they will not need to pay for anything, except maintenance.

However, Kasthuribai said that, while she did indeed move to a new unit, it was not free.

The Malaysian Insight has sighted what appear to be current rental payment receipts and a red notice from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for arrears.

Kasthuribai also alleged that Fahmi had started a scholarship fund in the name of Sathiswaran but said she has no idea of what happened to the initiative and funds collected.

“They used my son’s name to collect money. Hopefully, it wasn’t for their own political use and I hope that it really benefitted the poor as he promised,” she said.

In March 2018, Fahmi said the scholarship fund was a crowd-funding project that aimed to raise RM100,000 for children living in PPRs.

He said it was started in Lembah Pantai and that it will expand as the fund increases, adding that they had collected more than RM1,000 in a single day since the launch of the project.

However, Kasthuribai said she has received some assistance provided during the tough times.

“I won’t say they never help at all.

“When Nurul Izzah Anwar (the former MP for Lembah Pantai) was around, she did help, so did Fahmi in the initial stages.

“However, the most important thing is getting justice for my son and the house that was promised, which never materialised,” she said.

Kasthuribai also said that despite having legal friends within PKR and the Pakatan Harapan circle, Fahmi offered no help in finding a lawyer to help her pursue justice for her son.

She said that the family does not have the financial means to hire a lawyer of their own.

However, late last year, with the help of Arun Dorasamy, who led the Indira Gandhi Action Team, Messrs Raj and Sach offered to take up the case on a pro bono basis.

Arun has now formed the Sathiswaran Action Team in seeking justice for Kasthuribai.

She is now demanding RM1 million compensation from Kuala Lumpur City Hall for her loss.

Arun has since told The Malaysian Insight that they would be filing the legal suit soon.

Meanwhile, Kasthuribai also said she was disappointed by the police’s lack of interest in her son’s case.

Currently, the police are treating the incident as a murder inquiry.

However, she said that the police had not contacted her and provided no updates regarding the case.

“Probably I’m not rich and this is not a high-profile case like others, so the police aren’t showing much interest in this.

“Three years have passed…I cannot believe the police have not found any leads.

“By now, I think the person who killed my son would have left the area. So, in the end, my son will never get justice,” she said.

Sathiswaran would have been 18 this year. Kasthuribai said he would have gone on to become a chef and worked to help the family, had he lived.

Kasthuribai has another son, who turns 21 this year. – TMI