Vocal disability rights activist Anthony Siva Balan Thanasayan died of a lung infection at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre today.
The former Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) member had been disabled since birth and confined to a wheelchair since he was 10 years old.
He actively championed the rights of the disabled, especially in terms of public facilities, and founded Reaching Out to Educate the Able-bodied and Care for the Handicapped and Petpositive, an NGO involved in animal therapy for the disabled and elderly.
He also criticised several quarters, including politician Ibrahim Ali, who asked former DAP chairman Karpal Singh to stand in Parliament despite being disabled.
In 2019, he also hit out at Ruziah Ghazali, a member of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, who said that some parents were ashamed of registering their disabled children.
MBPJ councillor Derek Fernandez said Anthony was a fighter who had always worked to improve the lot of those with disabilities.
"He taught me to look at things differently, for which I am eternally grateful.
"He made me realise that every one of us will be disabled one day, some more so than others. But all of us will be disabled one day. Ageing is a disability, and disabled people should not be hidden away but deserve their days in the sun like everyone else."
Adding that Anthony had sometimes "crossed swords" with other activists, Fernandez nevertheless said that he had done so "with honesty and integrity".