RETIRED Sub-Inspector Michael Sundram, fondly referred to as Uncle Mike may have retired from the police force almost 20 years ago but this has not stopped him from serving the community through his efforts in the SS15/2 & SS15/3 Rukun Tetangga. Once nicknamed “007” for his crime busting days and reputation of shooting suspects to immobilise them, Uncle Mike is more like “Peter Pan” to many in Subang Jaya who know him well; forever young and full of zest in his neighbourhood. SJ ECHO caught up with him for a cuppa recently to find out what drives him on.
AT 78, Uncle Mike is probably the oldest serving community leader in Subang Jaya. But his tenacity and energy in helping those in need and also organising community events in his neighbourhood would put a man half his age to shame. There’s always something for him to do and whenever he has some free time on his hands, you would see him keeping himself busy at the SS15/2 & SS15/3 Rukun Tetangga cabin.
“Community work has kept me busy over the last 13 years or so. It has helped me to keep physically and mentally fit. I’ve always got something to do. I don’t like sitting at home doing nothing.”
“My hobbies (classic cars and bikes) and my commitment to the community has kept me going after I retired from the police force,” he said.
According to Uncle Mike, a community leader has to be dedicated to the cause in Subang Jaya. Talking to residents, helping them sort out their problems and organising events which can engage the men and women in the community is what keeps me busy and helps to build a good relationship with the people around me.
“Leaders must be a good example to the people they lead. They must be dedicated and devoted to the people they serve. Don’t just be a ‘cincai’ leader just to be a leader and do nothing to serve the people who put their trust in you.”
“I played a supporting role in forming the Rukun Tetangga in my neighbourhood. I took the helm as chairman for 4 years and passed it on to the next person after that,” he added.
Uncle Mike feels that one need not be the chairman of a residents association or Rukun Tetangga to be able to play a significant role in building the community. Instead, he feels that a good leader can support and drive initiatives under another leader.
Recently conferred the Pingat Jasa Pahlawan Negara, Uncle Mike humbly mentioned that the award was a recognition of his 37 years long service in the Royal Malaysian Police. He had also received several awards during his long service, some of which include Pingat Pangkuan Negara (1976) and Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (1976) and Pingat Berkhidmat Selangor (1997).
The Pingat Jasa Pahlawan Negara is a medal given to members of the Royal Malaysia Police in recognition of their heroic service for the country.
“The two awards in 1976 were for my role in apprehending “Mat Commando”, then Negeri Sembilan’s most wanted man who stole two Sterling sub-machine guns and 25 rounds of ammunition from the Sikamat military camp.”
“I was assigned to track down the suspect. I arrived in Labu and asked a Malay boy (showing him a photograph of the suspect) if he had seen the suspect. The boy pointed to a house. I peeped into the house the boy pointed out and at that moment, a woman yelled out,” he said, adding that at that moment he had no choice but to rush into the house and found the suspect rolling up the sarung he was wearing before successfully arresting him.
According to Uncle Mike, he shouted out to his colleagues to get the handcuffs as the suspect was an ex-commando and Negeri Sembilan’s most wanted man at that time.
Uncle Mike continues to carry out his anti-crime efforts by coordinating the Rukun Tetangga’s voluntary patrolling scheme which is aimed at creating an omnipresence to prevent crime in neighbourhoods.
He now keeps himself busy in MBSJ’s MPP Zon 1 team helping to run campaigns, events and initiatives in the neighbourhood. During the interview, he was already talking about his plans to celebrate Merdeka Day, Malaysia Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival which are coming up in August and September.
“I believe in getting up close and personal with my community. If we learn of any resident who is in hospital, we will send a bouquet of flowers to wish him/her well, even if we don’t know them personally. Community work is not about asking people to volunteer to work for you. It’s about bonding with your community with compassion.”
“Community work is a two-way traffic and this is something I’ve been advocating to my community throughout the years of building Subang Jaya into a well-rounded neighbourhood,” he said, adding that age is no barrier for anyone to join in and enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Editor’s Note: Have you been harbouring a desire to join the community? Get in touch with your local neighbourhood groups and start. It’s never too soon or too late to do your bit for Subang Jaya, our home, our kampung.