PUAN SRI N. SARASWATHY DEVI
PUAN SRI DATIN SERI N. SARASWATHY DEVI
Advocate & Solicitor
President, International Federation of Women Lawyers (2002-2005)
NO. 47 JALAN SULTAN ISMAIL 50250 KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
Puan Sri Datin Seri Saraswathy Devi is a member of the prominent Nadchatiram family of Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. She has nine brothers and sisters seven of whom are barristers and all of them completed their law in England at the various Inns of Court. Her brothers and sisters who are in the legal profession each have their own legal firm in Kuala Lumpur and in Seremban and are in their own capacity successful practicing barristers in Malaysia, at present.
Her primary and secondary education was completed at the Convent of Holy Infant Jesus in Seremban, where she was not only a good student but also active in Sports and extra mural activities. She also won several Cycling Tournaments including winning the title of 'All Women Malaysian Cycling Champion' in 1954 and Chess Championships.
In 1956, Puan Sri Datin Seri Saraswathy Devi went to England to pursue her legal studies at Middle Temple, London where she qualified as a Barrister and called to the English Bar in 1960. She then returned to Malaysia in 1960 where she did her pupilage at the leading Malaysian legal firm of Lovelace & Hastings, Kuala Lumpur. In October 1961, she was admitted to the Malaysian Bar as an Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya. She opened her first legal practice in Malaysia in 1961 in Seremban and simultaneously opened another office in Kuala Lumpur. Whilst carrying on a legal practice, Puan Sri Saraswathy Devi was also from 1965, involved in the purchasing of large rubber estates owned by foreign companies in Malaysia which estates she then fragmented and sold in small lots 5 acres to lower income local families and workers
On 26.8.1968, Puan Sri Datin Seri Saraswathy Devi married Tan Sri P. Alagendra, a senior Police officer who retired in July 1984 as the Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Malaysian Police. Her husband has to date received nine awards from the Rulers of the Malaysian States as well as the King of Malaysia. In 2001, He received the award of "Panglima Setia Mahkota" which bestowed the title of 'Tan Sri' on him and the title of 'Puan Sri' on her. This award is the 2nd highest award in the Country. Her husband Tan Sri P. Alagendra is an avid sportsman, who played Hockey for the Country at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. Since then he has been involved in six other Olympics, including being appointed the Malaysian Chef de Mission to the Sydney Olympics. He is also the President of the Malayan Olympian Association (2000 to todate), the Secretary General Asian Hockey Federation since 1992 and the Deputy President Malaysian Hockey Federation.
Puan Sri also has 4 daughters, 3 of whom are practicing lawyers at her firm in Malaysia and the youngest daughter Shyamala Alagendra is currently a Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands. Shyamala was a Prosecutor for Serious Crimes and Gender Crimes in East Timor with the United Nations from 2001 – 2005 and a Prosecution Attorney at the Office of The Prosecutor Special Court for Sierra Leone from 2005 to 2008.
Puan Sri Datin Seri Saraswathy Devi at present is a sole proprietor of her legal firm Messrs. N. Saraswathy Devi in Kuala Lumpur, she has actively practiced law for the past 50 years in all fields.
Her expertise in Criminal Law has attracted prime attention especially in the way she handled criminal cases involving murders, drug-trafficking, kidnapping for ransom and firearms offences all of which carry the mandatory death sentence, as well as cases involving rapes, armed robbery and grievous bodily harm. She has in these years also successfully defended women and children from foreign countries who have been charged for prostitution, drug trafficking as well as other cases involving the protection of young women and children. Puan Sri has also gained recognition for her special handling of matters involving persons detained under the Emergency Ordinance where many have been detained without a trial.
ASEAN LAW ASSOCIATION (ALA): Puan Sri was a founder member of ALA who has actively participated in the ALA Conferences held in Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore Thailand and Malaysia, with the firm conviction that it was a noble Association set up for the betterment of legal education, the legal profession and the Judiciary. She had also worked to creating public awareness of ALA in various ASEAN countries.
KAUM IBU : as the wife of the Chief Police Officer for the State of Selangor, Puan Sri Datin Seri Saraswathy Devi became the President of the Police Families' Association known as "Kaum Ibu". In her role as president, for the Selangor Kaum Ibu from 1977 to 1984, she dedicated herself to uplifting the families of police officers in the State. More than 200 wives of police officers and police men were put through several internationally recognized Certificate Courses organized and managed by Puan Sri such as tailoring, cake-making, cooking and hair dressing, at no cost to those attending, done in the spirit of good will and service to the community and the country. This enabled the wives to assist their husbands who were in the police force earning an average income, to manage their families in a meaningful and significant way. This step taken by Puan Sri had set the trend in the other States Police Forces in Malaysia, thereby resulting in members of the Royal Malaysian Police Force working with more dedication and loyalty. In recognition of the invaluable service she gave, Puan Sri Datin Seri Saraswathy Devi was conferred the federal award of Ahli Mangku Negara by the King of Malaysia.
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN LAWYERS (FIDA): Puan Sri N. Saraswathy Devi has also actively been involved with FIDA and attended several conferences held all over the world. In March 2002, she organized the 1st Asian Regional Congress of FIDA in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in her capacity as Regional Vice President for Asia, FIDA. On 8th September 2002, she was elected President FIDA at the 31st Bi-annual Convention in Manaus, Brazil and since her return has dedicated herself to better the rights of women and children and preventing the trafficking of women and children. Puan Sri N. Saraswathy was also invited to present papers to the European Women's Lawyers Association in Paris and in Finland to combat the sudden increase in the trafficking of women and children world wide. In her role as President FIDA from 2002-2005, Puan Sri Saraswathy Devi had also attended the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, in New York where she has participated in meetings, conferences and discussions. As FIDA President, Puan Sri was the Organising Chairperson of the 32nd nternational Convention of FIDA from 7th to 11th November 2005 which was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Puan Sri is currently the Parlimentarian of the International Federation of Women Lawyers with effect from 11.11.2005 and the Chairperson of the Anti-Trafficking Committee of the International Federation of Women Lawyers with effect from 2008.
COUNCIL OF NGOs (CONGO) : In December 2003, Puan Sri Saraswathy Devi, in her capacity as President of FIDA successfully campaigned and FIDA was appointed the 1st Vice President of CONGO and has since traveled around Asia and Europe and promoted the aims of CONGO, sought increased participation of NGOs worldwide in CONGO and assisted in diversifying CONGO's sources of income where she has been given the mandate to organize fund raising activities for CONGO. Puan Sri was CONGO 1st Vice President until the year 2008.
CONFERENCES ATTENDED AND PAPERS PRESENTED
Puan Sri Saraswathy Devi is highly active in the combating of human trafficking, the trafficking of women and girls, the equality of women, violence Against Women and women's rights.
Puan Sri Saraswathy Devi has presented papers on human trafficking, women rights, Violence Against Women, Equality Of Women and Rights of the Child.
Some of the Papers and Conferences attended by Puan Sri Saraswathy Devi include :-
CONGRESS OF THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN IN LEGAL CAREER (FIFCJ) ISTANBUL, TURKEY 2001
TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN
1ST ASIAN REGIONAL CONGRESS OF THE INTERNATIONAL FEDARATION OF WOMEN LAWYERS, KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA 28 FEBRUARY 2002 – 3 MARCH 2002
THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
3RD EUROPEAN WOMEN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION CONGRESS , PARIS
JUDICIAL CO-OPERATION IN CRIMINAL LAW
UNITED NATIONS CIOMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN, UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK, USA 3 – 14 MARCH 2003
PARTICIPATION AND ACCESS OF WOMEN TO MEDIA – ITS IMPACE AND USE AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR THE ADVANCEMENT AND EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN
WOMEN RIGHTS ISSUE
4TH EUROPEAN WOMEN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION CONGRESS , HELSINKI, FINLAND
CHILD TRAFFICKING AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE GLOBAL ISSUE
AFRICAN REGIONAL CONGRESS, INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN LAWYERS, LAGOS, NIGERIA 7 – 11 JUNE 2004
9TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE ASEAN LAW ASSOCIATION AT BANGKOK, THAILAND
"PROTECTION OF VICTIMS, PARTICULARLY WOMEN AND CHILDREN, AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL OFFENCES AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING"
33RD INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN LAWYERS, MILANO, ITALY
"Trafficking, abuse and pedopornography"
9TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CHIEF JUSTICES OF THE WORLD THE WORLD JUDICIARY SUMMIT 2008 LUCKNOW, INDIA