Selangor state exco member and veteran MIC leader K Sivalingam died in Chennai today. He was 59.
It is believed he died of a heart attack.
According to his family member, Sivalingam died at the Chennai International Airport right after arriving from Kuala Lumpur at 10.40am Indian time (1.10pm Malaysia time). Chennai is in Tamil Nadu, South India.
The family member said that Sivalingam was waiting for his luggage upon arrival when he collapsed and died.
His daughter Vanitha, 33, and her husband G. Pathmanathan, 36 were with him.
The family is now making arrangements to bring his body home with the funeral expected to be held on Friday.
He had a history of heart ailments, undergoing a by-pass in 1992.
Bernama quoted a Chennai-based Malaysian High Commission official as saying that Sivalingam was rushed to a nearby hospital from the airport but was pronounced dead.
He was the third-term state assemblyman for Ijok in Selangor. He was also the state exco in charge of state unity and estate workers committee. He also sat in the MIC central working committee.
It is expected that the Election Commission will call for a by-election for the Ijok state seat.
The EC will be making an announcement on the by-election after it has been officially informed by the state legislative assembly.
Sivalingam won the seat for his third term by beating Keadilan’s Abdul Rahman Moharam with a majority of 1,649.
Ijok is a mixed seat with Malays representing 50.6%, Indians (28%) and Chinese (20.9%).
A former journalist with a Tamil newspaper, Sivalingam joined the MIC in 1968 at the age of 20. In 1986 he was elected as a Senator by the Selangor state legislative assembly.
He first became a state exco member in 1997 but his first foray as an elected representative came in 1990 when he won the Seri Cahaya seat in Selangor.
In 1995, he stood at the Ijok state constituency, a new state seat, and won comfortably beating a DAP candidate.
He retained the seat in 1999, once again defeating a DAP candidate.
In 2004, the majority of his victory was slashed in a three-corner fight involving the Keadilan candidate and an independent.