Perambalur to Kuala Lumpur: A saga self-made

Though S Prakadeesh Kumar (39) from Poolambadi village in Perambalur district falls in the first category, the trials in Malaysia seemed so stormy that a heyday seemed almost impossible.

Published: 25th September 2022 05:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th September 2022 05:32 AM   |  A+A-

S Prakadeesh Kumar gives away Covid-19 kits to a student of Poolambadi Government High School in Perambalur | Express

Express News Service

PERAMBALUR: If you are born into a poor agricultural family in a nondescript village, and forced into an engineering course, then you may vie for treasures across the seas that could liberate your family from centuries of misery. Some may come back triumphant, others may perish trying. Though S Prakadeesh Kumar (39) from Poolambadi village in Perambalur district falls in the first category, the trials in Malaysia seemed so stormy that a heyday seemed almost impossible.

Two decades ago, in 2001, Kumar completed his engineering degree and left for Malaysia. He landed a humdrum job in a car company, and managed to drag out that stint for a year. The next year saw him assisting customers at a duty-free shop. But the wages sufficed for zilch and Kumar wanted to be his own boss. With whatever savings he had, and loans from relatives and banks, he unveiled his own duty-free shop named ‘Plus Max Company’ in 2003. But his lack of business experience and poor grip of rules of the land took him to the cleaners.

Kumar was, however, not ready to close the shop. He tightened his belt and slaved away. Slowly, patronage swelled and Kumar launched another shop branch. 19 years later, ‘Plus Max Company’ stores found a home in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Dubai, India and a few countries on the African continent. Kumar also now owns oil and gas, and construction companies in Malaysia and Thailand. He provides employment to over 5,000 people.

His story does not end with a rags-to-riches twist. The scene now shifts to his hometown Poolambadi. He donated Rs 28 lakh for laying a new road in this village, Rs 20 lakh for digging small ponds in a farm, and Rs 1 lakh for a library in the village.

“I am an incredibly lucky person since I am able to help others now. My purpose in life is simple. Do whatever little I can to ensure that others don’t go through what I had to endure. When my business first failed, I even had suicidal thoughts. But I braved the rough seas and steadily succeeded. The Malaysian government has also conferred upon me the honourable ‘Dato’ title for my work,” Kumar says.

He exhorts students to make the most of educational opportunities that come their way. He pays the fees for the top achievers at his alma mater college. Kumar is known far and wide for his helping hand, and benevolence. S Madhavan, a lorry driver of Perambalur attests to this: “I have two daughters but did not have enough income to educate them. I was suffering from inadequate income and Covid-19. I approached Kumar and he immediately gave my daughter a free seat in his college at Thalaivasal. This is very helpful for me and my huge burden has been lifted.” Now Madhavan’s daughter has successfully made it to her third year in  BSc computer science. 

The tycoon also adopted a village in Thiruvarur during the Gaja cyclone and provided the residents with relief items. In his own village, he recently renovated a 100-year-old Draupathi temple at a cost of Rs 4 crore and conducted Kumbabishekam following public request. Further, he has promised to pay one-third of the Rs 30 crore outlay for the ‘Namakku Naame’ scheme works in Poolambadi town panchayat, and already given Rs 90 lakh as his first contribution.

Among other services, he provides medical assistance to many people. During the lockdown, he arranged a special flight to send Tamils stranded in Malaysia back to India. Even amid a busy schedule, Kumar finds time to stay in his hometown for a few days every month. What sets him apart is he has never forgotten his humble roots while flourishing as a tycoon. 


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