SINGAPORE - The body of late pioneer Cabinet minister Othman Wok has been brought to Sultan Mosque for prayers.
Clouds blanketed the sky as the hearse bearing his body pulled up outside the national monument in Kampong Glam. The coffin was then carried into the mosque by male family members and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim.
The prayers, which began at 1.06pm, were led by Mufti Fatris Bakaram.
Mr Othman died on Monday (April 17) at the age of 92, after being hospitalised for more than a week for a chest infection and stomach complications.
Among those who gathered at the mosque to pay their last respects was Mr Billy Lee, 69, one of Mr Othman's former golfing buddies.
He remembers Mr Othman as a jovial and humorous man. On one golfing trip in Indonesia, when their group of about 20 were in a cramped minivan travelling from Jakarta to Bandung, "he kept cracking jokes and made the three hour journey so much more palatable," said Mr Lee.
Housewife Aini Osman, 58, a long-time friend of Mr Othman's widow Madam Lina Abdullah, said Mr Othman was very friendly and "a real joker".
"There were not many Malay leaders last time, but he was one of those who contributed significantly," she added.
An hour-long journey from his home in Woodlands did not deter retiree Said Mohamed, 54, who said it was special that such a prominent funeral was held for a Malay leader.
"When (Singapore's first president) Yusof Ishak passed away I was still very young. This is the only other time they've held such a funeral for a Malay leader, I thought I should come to pay my last respects," he said.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong attended the prayers, along with goverment leaders including Dr Yaacob, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman and Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Social and Family Development Faishal Ibrahim.
Old friends, members of the public as well as politicians past and present visited Mr Othman's house in Kew Avenue earlier in the day to pay their respects. The family said a private prayer before leaving for the mosque just before noon with the hearse carrying Mr Othman's body.
Mr Othman will be laid to rest at the Choa Chu Kang Muslim Cemetery in the afternoon.
A gun carriage carrying his State-Flag draped casket will pass by North Bridge Road, North Boat Quay and River Valley Road, through Alexandra Road, Commonwealth Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue West and Clementi Avenue 6 before the burial.