Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia lost one of its noted national press figure Rosihan Anwar, endearingly called Pak Ros.

Pak Ros was admitted to Harapan Kita Hospital in March 2011 for heart bypass surgery but his relatives said he was finally allowed to leave the car for sick institution after spending 20 days under intensive care.

But the country`s senior journalist at last has to be called to to return to his Creator.

Pak Ros passed away of heart attack at the Metropolitan Medical Center (MMC) in South Jakarta at 8.15 on Thursday morning.

Honorary Council of the Indonesian Journalist Association secretary Ilham Bintang said Rosihan Anwar was very weak when being fed by his daughter early Thursday morning, and then he was rushed to the MMC but he had taken his last breath before arriving at the hospital.

At 11.25 am, Rosihan`s body arrived was taken to the mortuary on Jalan Surabaya in Menteng, Central Jakarta, where hundreds of mourners have been waiting.

Seen among the mourners were among others President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Vice President Boediono, Alwi Sihab, Dahlan Iskan, Ishadi SK. and the prominent educator Arief Rachman.

Arief Rachman, a good friend of Pak Ros considered the latter as as a national educator and teacher, apart from being a noted journalist.

"The issues that he (Rosihan Anwar) was following closely, are cultural values and democratization, where the freedom of expression is well guaranteed by the state," Arief Rahman said.

Best described as sharp, bright, and straightforward, the legendary journalists, Pak Ros, was born on May 10, 1922 in Kubang Nan Dua, West Sumatra.

Considered to be an important figure in Indonesian history, Rosihan started his career in journalism in 1943 as a reporter for Asia Raya newspaper.

In 1945, he became an editor at Merdeka newspaper and the chief editor for Pedoman newspaper.

He was one of the few Indonesian reporters who covered the Round Table Conference in The Hague in 1949 when the Netherlands officially agreed to transfer sovereignty to Indonesia.

The author of more than 40 books once said he would continue to write to prevent senility until he dropped dead.

His latest book, "Backtrack to the Netherlands: 60 Years Journey of the 1949 Round Table Conference Journalist," was published on his 88th birthday in 2010.

Rosihan finished his studies at the Dutch elementary school for natives or Holland Inlandesche School (HIS) in 1935 and the Dutch colonial secondary school or Meer Uitgebreid Lager Onderwijs (MULO) in 1939, both in Padang.

He continued his education at the prestigious Dutch colonial high school or Algemeene Middelbare School (AMS) in 1942 in Yogyakarta.

Pak Ros became a journalist in April 1943 when he joined Asia Raya, the only newspaper allowed to be circulated by the Japanese military during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia.

At that time, he had passed a test to become a prosecutor, but he needed money as his parents did not provide him with financial assistance.

So he became an editor of the Merdeka daily newspaper in October 1945, but because of a conflict with B.M. Diah, he quit the paper on Oct. 7, 1947.

He later founded the Siasat magazine in January 1947 and became the chief editor until the magazine died in 1957.

In 1948 he also founded the Pedoman newspaper and became its chief editor until former president Sukarno forcibly closed the newspaper in 1961, and later president Soeharto did the same in 1974 for its criticism of the authoritarian regime.

Vice presidential spokesman Yopie Hidayat said when Vice President Boediono visited Rosihan at Harapan Kita Hospital on March 30, 2011, they talked in a friendly informal way about their experiences.

Yopie said that at the time Rosihan also told the vice president about how he first met his wife late Siti Zuraida Samawi whom he married on April 25, 1947.

Rosihan met Siti Zuraida at the Asia Raya newspaper and they have two daughters, one son, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

As a journalist who has lived through the Dutch colonial period, the Japanese occupation, and independence, Rosihan has had many experiences a journalist can be proud of.

Rosihan was there during the Nov. 10, 1945, battle in Surabaya and witnessed other battles during the revolution.

In his lifetime, Rosihan covered numerous events such as parliamentary meetings during the revolution, negotiations between Indonesian delegations and the Netherlands, the early trips of former president Sukarno and vice president Mohammad Hatta as well as attending the Malino Conference in Malino, South Sulawesi.

He also had experience as a correspondent for several foreign media publications, including Australia`s The Age, the Hindustan Times in New Delhi, London-based news agency World Forum Features, and the Asian weekly in Hong Kong (1967-1971).

From 1976 to 1985 Rosihan was a correspondent of Singapore`s The Straits, and the New Straits Times in Kuala Lumpur, but service was terminated at the time he was 63 years old.

Reporter: by Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2011