KUALA LUMPUR: The late Tan Sri Ani Arope (pic) was not only a “very cool” father who gave priority to his children’s education and character-building, but a much-loved figure among his godchildren, many of whom furthered their studies with his support.
“He stood out with his impeccable integrity and outstanding service. He was a man of principle,”
His son Ismail said although Ani was strict, he had given him and his siblings a lot of freedom to explore and do their own things.
“My father had always wanted us to do the right thing, to be useful and help the needy.
“He was generous and humorous ... he spoke fluent Tamil, Hokkien, French and had friends of many races. He was a very cool father,” added Ismail, 42, a director of CIMB-Mapletree Management Sdn Bhd.
Ani had also sponsored dozens of underprivileged youths to further their studies.
“He cared for their well-being and developed a strong bond with them. He even played matchmaker for them,” said Ismail, adding that Ani was also very close to his former colleagues from several workplaces.
He said the godchildren and former co-workers had kept his father company and was by his side when he was ill.
Ani, the 82-year-old former Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) chairman, died at 5.20am yesterday at Subang Jaya’s Sime Darby Medical Centre, where he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.
He is survived by his wife Puan Sri Saenah Ahmad, 76, and three children – Sakinah, Dr Salina and Ismail.
He was laid to rest at the Section 21 Muslim Cemetery in Shah Alam.
Among those who paid their last respects were Raja of Perlis Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail and TNB CEO Datuk Seri Azman Mohd.
Ismail said his father was diagnosed with cancer during a routine medical examination for a pilot’s licence in 2009, but had kept it a secret from the family.
“He did not want us to worry and I only found out from his friend the following year,” he added.
Tan Sri Ahmad Tajuddin Ali, who replaced Ani as TNB CEO in 1996, said Ani would always be remembered by Malaysians as a principled and jovial person who enjoyed life.
“He was a great man and left a mark in the lives of many,” Ahmad Tajuddin added.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak conveyed his condolences through Twitter.
“My condolences to the family of TS (Tan Sri) Ani Arope who passed away this morning. May his soul be placed among the believers. Al-Fatihah,” he said.
Former Bernama editor-in-chief Datuk Seri Azman Ujang said Ani was one of Malaysia’s unsung heroes.
“He stood out with his impeccable integrity and outstanding service. He was a man of principle,” he said.
In a series of tweets, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said Ani should be given a Tunship as he was a hero who embodied the essence of 1Malaysia.
Asli Centre of Public Policy and Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said Ani was faithful to his calling no matter his post.
“He served the country with great distinction, and had set a very high standard as a public servant who showed the way in terms of dedication and integrity.
“He was always ready to speak up against corruption and inefficiency. He was a true Malaysian ... honest and moderate,” he said.
Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, chairman of CIMB Group, told Bernama he got to know Ani well when he was corporate adviser to TNB.
“He was ‘old school’ at its best. He was demanding but always fair. He was honest and stood up for honesty.
“And he was a nationalist, always thinking country before self,” he said.