THE man behind the name of Malaysia’s first national car, the Proton Saga, died at his home yesterday, according to reports.
Ismail Jaafar, 71, had been hospitalised for 51 days at Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital in Sg Petani after suffering a heart attack upon his return from performing haj in November.
“Our family accepts this as the will of Allah. Our late father was ill for a long time, more than eight years. In fact, while he was performing his haj in Mecca, he was also hospitalised.
“My family and I are thankful that my late father had the chance to be selected for the pilgrimage, and he was a responsible and good father, and irreplaceable,” his son, Mohd Sarisffuddin, 48, was quoted as saying by Berita Harian.
Ismail, who retired more than 20 years ago, was a staff sergeant, with his last post as chief clerk at the Army School (Services Corps) in Taiping, Perak.
The name Proton Saga was chosen from 102,823 entries received by Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional (Proton) as the competition organiser, and the first edition of the national car was launched by the then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on September 1, 1985.