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Veteran Malaysian journalist Subramaniam Harihar dies at 79

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Subramaniam Harihar, a longtime journalist in Malaysia who covered the countrys amount of extraordinary economic growth for The Associated Press, has died at age 79.

Subramaniam used the byline Hari Subramaniam for his AP stories and was referred to as Maniam to his friends. He previously experienced ill health for quite some time and died on Aug. 21, based on the Star newspaper, where he worked after retiring from the AP in 1997. The reason for death had not been announced.

Subramaniam joined the AP in 1970 and covered events like the 1975 hostage-taking by japan Red Army at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the 1992 collision of a container ship with the oil tanker Nagasaki Spirit that killed a lot more than 40 people, and the collapse of a flat building in 1993 that left 48 people dead.

Subramaniam launched his journalism career 62 years back in 1960 at age 17, joining the neighborhood Malayan Times 3 years following the countrys independence from Britain. He moved to United Press International and to The Associated Press.

Back the dark days, we ignorant outsiders dispatched from NY had a term for underpaid, underappreciated bureau reporters who connected us to complex realities: locals. Anyone who still uses it hasn’t met Hari Subramaniam, Mort Rosenblum, a retired AP foreign correspondent, recalled Thursday.

He floated seamlessly among government offices, embassies, British expats at the tight-knit Cricket Club, and late-night street food stalls that perfumed that which was still a sleepy colonial backwater, Rosenblum said. People who have what to hide opened to him, unfailingly, until they detected a relentless hard-ass reporter at the job.

He knew everything about Malaysia that there is to learn, said Denis Gray, APs former bureau chief in Thailand.

Subramaniam was also specialized in Indian music and enjoyed opening his home for concerts at performers.

Its a means I can donate to the city and spread an appreciation for Indian music, he said.

The Star said his funeral happened on Aug. 22.

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