Tan Sri Devaki Krishnan, a name that needs no introduction who also emerged as the first Malaysian woman elected to public service, has died at the age of 100.The prominent gem contested and won the Bangsar seat at the Kuala Lumpur Municipal Elections in 1952, and in 1955, she stood for a second term and won. In 1959, she became the first Malaysian Indian woman to contest in a general election, under the Alliance Party for the Sentul constituency.
The veteran politician, who is the daughter of the last Acting Controller of Post and Telecoms of Malaya during the British Malayan Administration, played a fundamental role in shaping the early fabric of Malaysian society.
Together with her contemporaries such as Dato’ Onn Jaafar, Yong Shook Lin, Tun Omar Ong Yoke Lin, Puan Sri Putih Mariah, Tun Fatimah Hashim, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Sambanthan, Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Tun Tan Siew Sin, Tan Sri Devaki rallied the Merdeka movement and developed the concept of a Malaysian society.
She joined the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) during the Alliance/Barisan Nasional era, and is still a lifetime member of the party. Over the years, she has championed women empowerment, interfaith and inter-ethnic cooperation while playing a prominent role in organisations like the National Council for Women’s Organisations, Pan Pacific Southeast Asian Women’s Organisation, the Pure Life Society, and the St John’s Ambulance Association, among others.
Besides, she also played a crucial role in pushing amendments for the Guardianship of Infants Act in 1999 allowing single mothers to care for their children.
For her years of service and dedication, Tan Sri Devaki has been bestowed with numerous awards, including the Serving Sister of St. John Award honoured by Queen Elizabeth and made an Ambassador of Peace by the Universal Peace Federation. She had also been presented with the Tokoh Wanita Award and Tun Fatimah Award for her contributions to women empowerment and welfare services.
In year of 2022, the Malaysian Book of Records honoured Tan Sri Devaki Krishnan in conjunction with her 99th birthday, by recognising her as the first Malaysian woman to hold public office in the country's history.
In addition, she is also the first Malaysian Indian woman to be conferred the Panglima Setia Mahkota entitling her to use the title, Tan Sri.
Source: Astro Awani
Photo source: Malaysia Book of Records