VIPs bid farewell to ex-diplomat de Silva


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 07 Mar 2007

PETALING JAYA: Historian, diplomat extraordinaire and patriot aptly sum up Jack de Silva who was laid to rest yesterday. 

Tears flowed freely at the funeral service of the 81-year-old former ambassador at the Church of the Holy Rosary in Brickfields, where close friends and ex-diplomatic colleagues gathered to pay their last respects.  

De Silva, who died of pneumonia on March 1, had served in New Zealand, England and Vietnam, before retiring as Ambassador to South Korea in 1981. 

His wife Izabella, 70, said: “I am sad that he is gone but I am happy that a lot of people, even some of his school friends, came to see him for the last time.” 

Former Malaysian Ambassador to the United States, Datuk Albert Talalla, a long-time friend of de Silva, said: “Jack played an instrumental role during the Confrontation (with Indonesia) and even accompanied our then Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Ismail to New York to present our case. 

“He had a very distinguished career and never stopped promoting Malaysia,” said Talalla, who had known de Silva for over 45 years. 

Among those who attended the service were Transparency International Malaysia president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, Wisma Putra deputy secretary-general (II) Tan Seng Sun and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok. 

“He was a shining example of an efficient civil servant and really stood his ground,” recalled Navaratnam, who studied with de Silva at Universiti Malaya in Singapore. “His integrity should be an example for other civil servants in Malaysia” he said. 

Another friend, former diplomat and ex-deputy minister Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad, recalled de Silva as an “excellent spokesman” for the country’s cause. 

De Silva leaves behind his wife and three children.  

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