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Singapore’s top Indian-origin engineer Dr Arumugam Vijiaratnam dies aged 94

Singapore's top Indian-origin engineer dies at 94

Singapore, Feb 19 (UITV)- A top Indian-origin engineer who played an important role in developing the Port of Singapore Authority and Changi airport has died yesterday morning at the age of 94, and leaves behind three daughters and a son.

His only son Vijendran Vijiaratnam, told Channel NewsAsia that his father had woken up at 6 plus in the morning to have breakfast before going back to sleep. About an hour later, Mr Vijendran went to check on him and noticed that he had stop breathing. An ambulance arrived shortly after and Dr Vijiaratnam was pronounced dead.

Vijiaratnam was born in 1921 in the north Ipoh city of Peninsular Malaysia. He later moved to Singapore, and went on to study civil engineering at Brighton College of Technology in Britain on government scholarship in 1950.

Dr Vijiaratnam remains the only Singaporean to represent the nation in four different sports – hockey, football, rugby and cricket – at international level. His achievement is published in the Singapore Guinness Book of Records.

On return from Britain, he joined the then Public Works Department and played a key role in the formation of the Port in Singapore Authority in 1964. He also played an important role in developing Changi Airport.

Vijiaratnam was also the first Asian vice-president of the UK’s Instruction of Structural Engineers, the first Pro-Chancellor of Nanyang Technological University from 1992 to 2005, the president of the Institution of Engineering (Singapore), Board Chairman of Tamil Murasu and a World Bank Consultant.

Of note is Dr Vijiaratnam’s participation at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics in hockey, which made him Singaporean’s oldest surviving Olympian until his passing.