PETALING JAYA: Colleagues of the late Redzuan Kushairi remember him not only as a brilliant diplomat, eloquent speaker and distinguished gentleman but also a jolly and kind friend.
Redzuan, who was ambassador to Uzbekistan from 1994 until he retired in 1996, died yesterday after a heart attack. He was 69.
He was prominent in the G25 activist group of former civil servants, and members of the group spoke fondly of him in interviews with FMT.
Tunku Munawirah Putra said she had lost a colleague who was warm, kind and full of life but also brutally frank.
“Redzuan was known to be a person who called a spade a spade and didn’t mince his words,” she said.
She recalled a time she was asked to sit in during a media interview of Redzuan and another G25 member, Noor Farida Ariffin. She said she had to flag Redzuan down for using the word “stupid”.
“He gave a huge guffaw and said, ‘Ah, you’re doing your job.’ His big laugh summed up the jolly person he was.”
Redzuan had a “booming voice” that would be missed, according to G25 executive secretary Siti Jasmine Zulkifli, who described him as intelligent and generous with his knowledge and time.
Siti said she was grateful that Redzuan took her under his wing to work with him for the Foreign Policy Study Group, four years after she had stopped working to focus on raising her family.
“He had faith that I would still be able to work well despite my commitments at home,” she said.
She referred to him as an integral member of G25 and the driving force behind many of the group’s projects.
Noor Faridah said she was in disbelief over Redzuan’s death.
“He was so full of life and was busy preparing for our symposium on Yemen,” she said, referring to an event Redzuan initiated and which will take place today.
Taiping-born Redzuan was the Dato Shah Bandar of Perak, a position in the Perak Royal Council.
“The state has lost a valuable jewel,” said Perak Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu.
“Even though I did not have the chance to work with him for long, I feel Perak and the nation have lost a son who has done much for the country,” he added.
Faizal’s predecessor, Zambry Abdul Kadir, said Redzuan would be remembered as a friendly and good man despite whatever differences one might have with him.
“We feel the loss of a son of Perak who contributed immensely to Malaysian foreign service,” said Zambry.
Redzuan, who joined the Malaysian diplomatic corps in 1972, served as Deputy Permanent Representative at the Malaysian Mission to the United Nations, Deputy High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, First Secretary/Head of Chancery in Washington D.C. and Second Secretary in Moscow before becoming an ambassador.