11 April 2018
Veteran diplomat Bilahari Kausikan, 63, will retire next month, bringing a 37-year career in the Foreign Service to a close.
The Ambassador-at-Large told The Straits Times he will not renew his yearly contract with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) when it expires in May, as he wants to retire.
He has held that post since 2013 – a role for former ambassadors who are assigned specific projects or tasks by MFA. He previously led MFA for 12 years as its second permanent secretary and then its permanent secretary.
Said Professor Joseph Liow of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies: “In every discussion I have abroad about regional affairs, it does not take too long before his views are cited as influential perspectives… to be taken seriously.”
Referring to Mr Kausikan’s outspoken nature, Ambassador-at-Large Ong Keng Yong, a close colleague, likened him to a durian.
“Bilahari’s unorthodox way of interacting with all levels of MFA colleagues leaves them with an unforgettable amount of learning from an unconventional pro,” he said.
“Like the durian, not all favour it. Yet, as with the fragrance of durian, it lingers long and is pervasive. MFA is so much enriched by this brilliant, undiplomatic diplomat.”
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 11/04/2018