Woman claiming to be Samy Vellu’s common-law wife has bid for maintenance postponed

John Bunyan
E. Meeriam Rosaline, who claims to be Tun S. Samy Vellu’s common-law wife, is seen at the High Court in Ipoh December 12, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, Dec 12 — The High Court here today postponed hearing E. Meeriam Rosaline’s application for an interim order for her unrestricted access to Tun S. Samy Vellu, whom she claimed to be her common-law husband.

Meeriam, 59, is seeking the access and monthly payments of RM25,000 from the former minister and ex-MIC president.

The former minister’s family has moved to have him declared mentally unfit, after he and his son, Datuk Seri Vell Paari, were named as respondents in Meeriam’s suit.

Justice Datuk Hashim Hamzah postponed today’s hearing to January 17 to allow for the disposal of Vell Paari’s related application that will be heard next Tuesday.

Meeriam was represented by lawyers RSN Rayer and Ramesh Sivakumar.

Rayer explained later that Vell Paari was able to secure a stay in order for Samy Vellu’s mental state to be assessed.

On Monday, news emerged that Vell Paari was seeking a court order to declare his father Samy Vellu mentally unfit under the Mental Health Act 2001. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Vell Paari asserted that his father was suffering from dementia and no longer mentally capable to conduct his affairs.

“We argued that at least interim maintenance and access must be given as she (Meeriam) is dependent on him (Samy Vellu).

“But the court has allowed the application by Vell Paari’s lawyer to postpone the case,” he said.

Meeriam claimed to have entered a common-law marriage with Samy Vellu in 1981 and to possess documentary evidence to back this.

In her lawsuit, Meeriam is also seeking formal recognition of her customary but childless marriage to Samy Vellu.

Ramesh said the alleged marriage ceremony took place at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur in 1981 and argued that it was legal despite never being formalised.

“Quasi-spousal is a common law principle referring to a married couple who has lived as a husband and wife except for registration.

“They did not register their marriage because the registration only came about in 1982 and they got married the year before. So according to law, the traditional marriages before 1982 are recognised and valid even without registration,” he said.

Meeriam told reporters today she last saw Samy Vellu on June 13, when they met at a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. — Malay Mail pic

When met outside the court, Meeriam told reporters she last saw Samy Vellu on June 13, when they met at a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.

“We had a good time and spoke for about an hour. My husband is in a normal mental position. He told me not to worry about anything as he will take care of me. 

“I have always been dependent on him. I want to see my husband and I want him to come to my house and take care of me as how he promised,” she added.

On Monday, news emerged that Vell Paari was seeking a court order to declare his father mentally unfit under the Mental Health Act 2001.

He told Malay Mail in a statement that Samy Vellu suffered from dementia and was diagnosed in 2017 as suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Vell Paari also purported that Samy Vellu has appointed him to manage his personal and financial affairs since then.

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