First MAS managing director Michael Wong Pakshong dies

Mr Michael Wong Pakshong was MAS' managing director from 1971 to 1981, and also had an illustrious corporate career.
Mr Michael Wong Pakshong was MAS' managing director from 1971 to 1981, and also had an illustrious corporate career.

A veteran of the corporate scene here and the first managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Mr Michael Wong Pakshong, died yesterday morning, aged 86.

He was MAS' managing director from 1971 to 1981, a role in which he served "with unstinting dedication and integrity", the central bank said in a tribute.

In a statement last night, the MAS said its staff and management were saddened by the news and offered condolences to Mr Wong Pakshong's family.

MAS added: "He laid the foundations for MAS as a central bank and integrated financial regulator."

Mr Wong Pakshong had helped to steer the central bank through its "crucial formative years, navigating a turbulent global environment marked by the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, global recession, and double-digit inflation", MAS said.

Under his stewardship, MAS said it has instituted a robust regulatory and supervisory regime that has become a hallmark of the central bank.

"MAS' pioneer generation under Mr Wong Pakshong's leadership also laid the groundwork for Singapore's development as an international financial centre, bringing in global banks, supporting the growth of the local banks, and creating the Asian dollar market."

He also had an illustrious corporate career, taking on board roles at firms including Neptune Orient Lines, Robinson & Company, WBL Corp, OCBC Bank, The Straits Trading Company and Great Eastern Holdings.

Responding to a Straits Times query, Great Eastern said it is "indebted to Mr Wong Pakshong for his visionary leadership" and for steering the firm to greater heights.

"He instilled a culture of strong work ethics, service excellence and always doing right by our customers. His legacy will continue to live on in Great Eastern," added Great Eastern Holdings group chief executive Khor Hock Seng.

Mr Wong Pakshong had served on the Great Eastern Holdings board for 25 years, including eight years as chairman from 2000 to 2008.

He leaves his wife and daughter.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2017, with the headline 'First MAS managing director Michael Wong Pakshong dies'. Print Edition | Subscribe