Old guard leaders to be honoured at upcoming NDP on Aug 9

(From left) Messers Ong Pang Boon, Othman Wok and Jek Yeun Thong were among those who signed the Independence of Singapore Agreement.
(From left) Messers Ong Pang Boon, Othman Wok and Jek Yeun Thong were among those who signed the Independence of Singapore Agreement.PHOTOS: ST FILE, BERITA HARIAN FILE

Three surviving Old Guard leaders who signed the official document that marked the independence of Singapore 50 years ago will be honoured at the National Day Parade on Aug 9. 

The PAP stalwarts, Messers Ong Pang Boon, Jek Yeun Thong and Othman Wok, were among 10 men who signed the Independence of Singapore Agreement on Aug 9, 1965.

At NDP, the three men will emerge onto the VIP grandstand together with Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and be seated next to a seat that will be kept empty in honour of their Old Guard colleague Lee Kuan Yew.

The founding prime minister, who had attended every NDP since the first one in 1966, died on March 23, aged 91.

Mr Lee was also one of the 10 men in the founding Government to ink the agreement. The other signatories were Toh Chin Chye, Goh Keng Swee, E.W. Barker, S. Rajaratnam, Yong Nyuk Lin and Lim Kim San.

Mr Ong was then the education minister, while Mr Jek was the Labour minister and Mr Othman the social affairs minister.

The tribute to the stalwarts will be part of events to mark Singapore’s 50th year of independence.

 

To mark the Republic’s Golden Jubilee, Singaporeans will also hear, for the first time, the country's Proclamation of Independence read by the late Mr Lee who drummed up support for its merger with Malaysia in the early 1960s and, barely two years later, broke down as he spoke of its expulsion from the federation.

At 9am on Aug 9, a recording of the late Mr Lee's reading of the proclamation will play on all local TV and radio channels, and at grassroots-led National Day observance ceremonies across the island.

The recording was made three years ago, and will go on air after the sounding of sirens islandwide, said the People's Association.

More than 500,000 people in 82 National Day observance ceremonies, including 30 People’s Association community and corporate partners, will sing the National Anthem and recite the Pledge.