Seremban native Chris Pillai, is the first Malaysian-born mayor of a town in West Yorkshire, England.
He was sworn in on May 19 as mayor of the borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire in an official ceremony. His mayorship was actually due to begin last year but due to the pandemic, Pillai had carried out his duties as Mayor-elect.
Nadarajah, 82, his brother, describes Chris as a hardworking and helpful person by nature and a Malaysian at heart.
“Despite being in England for half a century, my brother is still very much a Malaysian at heart. He speaks like any one of us, and when our parents were alive, he would always make it a point to converse in Tamil to them,” he told The Star.
Pillai describes the post an honor.
“I feel very honored and privileged to be elected as the first non-English Malaysian Mayor of this historic town of West Yorkshire and would wish to carry out my duties in the best possible way to serve the Calderdale community,” he told The Vibes.
Pillai’s received his early education in Methodist (ACS) Ipoh (1958-1960), followed by Methodist (ACS) Seremban (1961-1966), and then in Methodist Boy’s School Kuala Lumpur (1966-1970).
When his family moved back to Seremban, Pillai left for London, to train as a nurse, in 1971.
“I applied to train as a nurse in England, with an open mind that I would accept any offer that comes my way. But, instead, I was truly blessed to be accepted by the world-famous Moorfields Eye Hospital in London,” he said.
Pillai has since held many roles within the healthcare sector; he was a senior nurse at Greenwich Area Health Authority, London (1984-1988), director/partner of Ivy House Nursing and Residential Home, Brighouse (1989-2004), and non-executive director at South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust (2002-2006), according to a The Vibes.
The portal also highlights that Pillai entered public office as a councilor of Calderdale Council in May 2011, after working for the Conservative Party since 1989.
He was Deputy to Mayor Marcus Thompson (2018-2019) and Mayor Dot Foster (2019-2021).