A mom, a dedicated human rights activist, a teacher, a PKR supreme council member, director and founder of the Tenaganita, but in all things she was an inspiration.
Irene is best remembered as a champion of the oppressed in Malaysia whose indefatigable advocacy for better treatment of foreign migrant workers prompted her government to denounce her and human rights groups throughout the globe to support her call to action.
Her signature crusade was for the rights of the poorest and most marginalized people: migrant workers, plantation workers, domestic workers, sex workers, refugees and AIDS sufferers.
As she unearthed evidence of migrant beatings and near starvation. In an interview with The New York Times in 2012, she characterised the situation as “slavery days coming back”. Irene never stopped working, even when a conviction and year’s prison sentence hung over her head on the trumped-up charge of “maliciously publishing false news”.