Women’s rights champion Sukumari Sekhar dies at 87

Sukumari Sekhar was the founding deputy president of the NCWO and fought hard for the rights of women and children.

KUALA LUMPUR: One of Malaysia’s earliest advocates for women’s rights Sukumari Sekhar has passed away at 87.

She died at the Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur (CVSKL) at about 11.20pm yesterday.

Sukumari was the wife of the late Dr BC Sekhar, former Rubber Research Institute chairman, also known to many as Mr Natural Rubber for his work in revolutionising the country’s rubber and palm oil industries.

As the founding deputy president of the National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO), Sukumari fought hard for the rights and welfare of women and children, including children born out of wedlock.

She petitioned the government to grant these children the same proprietary and inheritance rights as other children of their respective parents.

In October 2012, Sukumari received the Anugerah Tokoh Wanita Award from the Prime Minister’s office in conjunction with National Women’s Day celebrations.

She leaves behind four children – Vinod, Jayan, Sujatha and Gopinath; daughters-in-law Bina, Rekha and Dr Winy Sekhar; son-in-law Dipak Naik as well as eight grandchildren.

Sukumari’s funeral is scheduled for today pending arrangements.