People's Action Party (PAP) stalwart and former Bukit Timah MP Chor Yeok Eng died at the Singapore General Hospital yesterday, days before the launch of a book on his long political career. He was 86.
Mr Chor was diagnosed with severe aplastic anaemia a year ago and was admitted to hospital on May 27.
The book, titled Chor Yeok Eng's 60 Years In Politics, is published by the Char Yong (Dabu) Association and includes speeches he made as well as newspaper cuttings of major political events he was involved in. Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min has been invited to launch it at the clan association's premises in Geylang on Aug 2.
Youngest daughter Eng Horng, 56, a retired IT professional, said: "It was his wish to see the book launched and he had even asked for additional physiotherapy sessions in the hospital to strengthen himself so that he could attend the event. But he did not make it."
Mr Chor leaves behind two other daughters, two sons, three grandsons and two great-grandsons.
He was one of 43 PAP candidates who won in the 1959 General Election, enabling the party to form the government, and is remembered for his loyalty. He refused to cross over to Barisan Sosialis, formed by breakaway PAP assemblymen in 1961, even though he was offered a $200,000 bribe to do so. Leftist leaders, however, denied having offered the money to him.
Mr Chor lost in the 1963 General Election in Bukit Timah to Barisan opponent Lee Tee Tong, but re-entered the House in a 1966 by-election.
He was praised by founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew as "one of my oldest, most steadfast and courageous party comrades" when he retired from politics in 1984, as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.
PAP HQ executive director Alex Yam said Mr Chor remained active in the community after retirement "and was a constant welcomed presence in Bukit Timah".
"He always struck me as a humble and patient mentor, always encouraging," Mr Yam added in a Facebook post.
Said former PAP MP Chiang Hai Ding: "I remember then PM Lee Kuan Yew once said that if he had to take one man to war with him, he would take Chor."
Char Yong (Dabu) Association said yesterday the book on Mr Chor would be launched as planned, but as a posthumous tribute to him.
Daughter Eng Horng said he was "a strong-willed person and doting daddy who loved his family".
Mr Chor's wake is at her house at 158C, Jalan Jurong Kechil. He will be cremated on Monday.