KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — Profligacy and a failed investment has left the widow of a Malaysian killed on the job in Singapore broke just a year after receiving nearly S$1 million (RM2.5 million) in compensation and aid over his death.
According to Singapore daily The Straits Times, Pusparani Mohan is now back on the job market after discovering that millionaire status can be fleeting when not accompanied by financial discipline.
Flush with millions, Pusparani first splurged on a holiday in Genting Highlands, Pahang with her family. She then doled out part of the money to her relatives, after clearing some S$50,000 in previous debts.
Half of the almost S$1 million went to a business venture with her brother, a transport firm that began bleeding funds just four months into operations, before a falling out saw her lose the rest of her investment.
Now, Pusparani and her four children — aged two, seven, 10 and 11 — sleep on two old mattresses in a house in Skudai, Johor rented for her by an employer.
“I made a mistake. People knew I had so much money and they all came to me. I am so stupid. I never buy house and finished all the money meant for my children,” Pusparani told The Sunday Times, the weekend edition of the newspaper, yesterday.
In 2012, her husband, Chandra Mogan Panjanathan, was killed after he was hit by a taxi hijacked by a Chinese national while operating a floor-scrubbing machine outside the Changi Airport’s Budget Terminal.
Pusparani then received S$100,000 in insurance compensation and S$800,000 in public donations collected on her behalf by the Changi Airport Group (CAG) that had employed Chandra.
Along with the money came financial counselling for her to apportion S$200,000 to each of her four children, with the rest for herself.
Instead, Pusparani decided to venture into business with her brother. First, it was just S$100,000 to start the transport firm.
“But I was told the money was only enough to buy one lorry and we needed three lorries. So, I withdrew half of my children's money, which was about US$400,000, to buy two more lorries.”
The investment was also done without the knowledge of the financial consultants hired by CAG to help her manage her funds.
Even after the failed investment, however, Pusparani still had S$400,000 in her children's accounts.
But despite saying her monthly expenses “came up to RM5,000 to RM6,000”, that amount only lasted her for five months and was exhausted by last May.
“Now I don't have enough for my children's future.”
Pusparani now works as an accounts clerk in Johor Baru, earning RM2,000 a month, but is considering a return to Singapore in search of better pay.
She is held back, however, by the thought of meeting those who gave so generously after her husband's death.
“I don't know how to explain to the people who donated money to me and my children,” Pusparani said.
The driver who hit Chandra fatally is now serving a jail sentence of two years and one month for voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery.