SUNGAI PETANI: A retired Army staff sergeant who shot to fame some three decades ago after winning the competition to name the national automobile’s first model - Proton Saga, passed away on Friday.
Ismail Jaafar, 71, passed away at his home in Taman Nuri here about 3.10pm, two days after being discharged from Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital due to health complications.
His son Mohd Sarisffuddin Ismail, said his father who suffered from heart disease, diabetic and asthma was warded for 51 days at the hospital after falling ill since returning from performing Haj pilgrim in November.
He said Ismail, who was attached to the Royal Malaysian Army’s 2nd Division Camp in Penang prior to his retirement in 1987, was discharged from the hospital two days ago but his health since deteriorated.
"He passed away peacefully with the presence of my mother Sariah Abdul Rahman, 69 and my sibling," he said.
Sarisffuddin added that his father had been unwell for the past eight years and he was also hospitalised in Mecca while performing the Haj.
Ismail was buried at the Amanjaya Muslim Cemetery yesterday evening.
Sarisfuddin described his father as a caring and responsible father.
"We will miss him dearly but we are grateful for being able to fulfill all his wishes expect for one, before left us forever, " he said.
He added that Ismail had wished for his children to locate back the Proton Saga that he had won in 1985 from the competition.
"My father had to sell the precious car years ago as he needed money to fund the my two younger siblings education in universities," he said.
Sarisfuddin said he and his brother had since then tried looking for the car in the Pendang area but to no avail.
In the competition in 1985, Ismail defeated thousands other entries to win Proton's first 1,300cc sedan model after naming it as Saga.
Translated from Harian Metro