Indian-origin top engineer in Singapore dead

Singapore: An Indian-origin engineer, who played a key role in the formation of Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) and Changi Airport, passed away at the age of 94 on Thursday in Singapore, the media reported.

A Vjiaratnam, who excelled as a sportsman, engineer, and public service officer, died peacefully at his home in Maryland Drive, Singapore, reported The Straits Times on Friday.

“There are not enough words to describe my father and his contributions,” his son Vijendran, 55, was quoted as saying, citing the various positions held by Vjiaratnam at work and in the community.

Born in 1921 in Malaysia, Vjiaratnam later moved to Singapore, where he studied at Victoria School. In 1950, he received a government scholarship to study civil engineering at Brighton College of Technology in Britain.

Vjiaratnam played an important role in the formation of PSA, helping to develop its containerisation programme, among other things, and rose to the position of chief engineer.

Vjiaratnam worked in PSA for 17 years and was one of two key men who were instrumental in reclamation works for Changi Airport.

Vjiaratnam was also part of the national hockey team that went to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

“He was a role model in the way he was able to juggle both sports and a successful career,” said Singapore National Olympic Council vice-president Tan Eng Liang.