KUALA LUMPUR: The late Tun Nguyen Cao Ky, the former prime minister of South Vietnam, loved Malaysia and once told a friend that although he was born in Vietnam, he would one day die here.
It was because of this that his family chose to have his wake here.
Ky’s youngest daughter, Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen, said her father, who died at the Serdang Hospital of lung infection on July 23, had frequently visited Malaysia and thought of it as a peaceful country.
“We believe his spirit chose this place. So, we do not want to disturb his body and move it out of the country,” she said at the Buddhist funeral service at the Nirvana Memorial Centre here yesterday.
Ky was awarded a Tunship by the Malaysian Government in 1965.
- Final farewell: Family members paying their last respects to Ky (inset) at the Nirvana Memorial Centre in Sungai Besi Thursday.
He was 80 and leaves behind 11 children and 14 grandchildren.
Duyen, 46, said her father was in Malaysia to set up an international school and to establish a scholarship in his name.
“Property has already been acquired for the project. Efforts to build the school, which will specialise in teaching English, will continue even after my father’s death as it was his last wish,” said Duyen who is a Vietnamese-American entertainer.
Asked what she would miss most about her father, she said: “I will miss his wisdom. He was a very wise man and I could listen to him speak for hours.
“His views and philosophy on things were very captivating.”
Nguyen Cao Dat, Ky’s third son from his first marriage, said his father was a very warm person and had a special way of reaching out to people.
Ky’s body will be cremated at the Nirvana Crematorium in Shah Alam today.
His ashes will be taken to the United States for his friends to pay their last respects.
Ky, a former air force general, became the prime minister of South Vietnam in 1965, when US involvement in the Vietnam War was at its highest.
He ruled the country for two years.