S R Nathan Dalam Kenangan

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    Mantan Presiden S R Nathan. (Gambar fail: Xabryna Kek)

S R Nathan "anak jati S'pura": PM Lee dalam kawat takziah

SINGAPURA: Mantan Presiden S R Nathan adalah "anak jati Singapura" yang berpegang teguh dengan rasa tanggungjawab yang kuat terhadap negara. Perdana Menteri Lee Hsien Loong berkata demikian dalam kawat takziah kepada Cik Nathan.

Menyifatkan Encik Nathan sebagai "inspirasi untuk semua", PM Lee berkata riwayat hidup mantan Presiden itu merupakan kisah seorang budak lelaki yang berjaya menangani cabaran-cabaran yang dihadapinya, terus dinaikkan pangkat dalam perkhidmatan awam, hingga memegang jawatan tertinggi negara sebagai Presiden Singapura paling lama berkhidmat.

"Ia kisah tentang bagaimana Encik Nathan selalu mengutamakan negara dan mengabdikan dirinya kepada rakyat negara ini, dan kerap kali membuat pengorbanan peribadi yang besar. Ia kisah tentang ketekunan, rasa tanggungjawab, dan semangat seseorang yang tidak lentur," kata PM Lee.

Beliau juga menulis tentang kerjaya "berpelbagai dan cemerlang" Encik Nathan, dan peranannya mengelak para Komunis daripada mengambil alih Singapura dan membangunkan rangkaian-rangkaian diplomatik negara.

"Kebanyakan warga Singapura akan mengingati Encik Nathan sebagai Presiden paling lama berkhidmat yang berkhidmat kepada rakyat Singapura dengan bangga dan cemerlang. Beliau dikagumi para pelawat dengan pengetahuannya tentang ehwal dunia. Beliau Presiden yang mesra dan ramah yang disayangi rakyat Singapura," tulis PM Lee.

Selepas dua penggal sebagai Presiden, Encik Nathan mengundurkan diri pada 2011, selepas beliau "akhirnya mampu dedikasikan lebih banyak masa dan perhatian kepada keluarganya," kata PM Lee.

Meskipun setelah mengundurkan diri, Encik Nathan terus menyumbang kepada Singapura, dan murah hati dalam mengongsi pengalamannya dengan generasi muda diplomat, pelajar dan rakyat Singapura, tambah PM Lee.

"Saya sudah kenal Encik Nathan hampir 40 tahun. Saya mengenang beliau sebagai seorang yang meniti kehidupannya berpandukan rasa tanggungjawab yang mendalam terhadap negara. Beliau tampil ke hadapan setiap masa. Beliau anak jati Singapura," ujar PM Lee.

Berikut ini kawat takziah PM Lee kepada Cik Nathan:

Dear Mrs Nathan,

Please accept my deepest condolences on the passing of your husband S R Nathan.
Mr Nathan’s life is an inspiration to all of us. His life was a story of how a young boy strove to triumph over his circumstances, rising through the ranks of the public service, to one day occupying the highest office in the land as our longest-serving President.
It was a story of how Mr Nathan always put his nation before self, often at great personal sacrifice. It was a story of perseverance, duty, and a man’s indomitable will.

Mr Nathan had a varied and stellar public service career. Mr Nathan’s career took him to the unions where he played an instrumental role in preventing the Communists from taking over Singapore. After independence, he joined the newly-formed Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and helped build up our diplomatic networks. When we needed to build up the Security and Intelligence Division (SID), Mr Nathan was again our choice because of his savvy judgement and moral courage. He then returned to MFA as Permanent Secretary before retiring from the civil service.

Most Singaporeans will remember Mr Nathan as our longest serving President who served Singaporeans with dignity and distinction. He impressed visitors with his knowledge of world affairs. He was a warm and approachable President who endeared himself to Singaporeans. During his Presidency, he established the President’s Challenge to help the less fortunate in our society.

After two terms as President, he stepped down in 2011 and was finally able to devote more time and attention to his family. Even so, Mr Nathan never stopped giving back to Singapore. He joined the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and the Nanyang Technological University’s S Rajaratnam School of International Studies as Distinguished Senior Fellow, and was generous in sharing his experiences and insights with a younger generation of diplomats, students and Singaporeans.

I have known Mr Nathan for almost 40 years. I remember him as a man who lived his life guided by a deep sense of duty to the nation. Without fail, he stepped up each time. He was a true son of Singapore.

My thoughts are with you and your family during this time of sorrow.

With my deepest sympathies,
Lee Hsien Loong

- CNA/nd

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