Prominent businessman Kwek Leng Joo has died

Mr Kwek Leng Joo addressing the delegates of the International Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Summit on 25 Aug 2015. PHOTO: GLOBAL COMPACT NETWORK SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Prominent businessman Kwek Leng Joo has died aged 62.

The deputy chairman of property group City Developments (CDL) died in his sleep from a sudden heart attack early Monday morning, the company said in a statement.

"Mr Kwek's leadership, invaluable contribution and presence will be greatly missed by the board, management and employees of the CDL group," it added.

Mr Kwek is the younger brother of property tycoon Kwek Leng Beng whose family is estimated by Forbes to have a fortune of around US$6 billion.

Mr Kwek was appointed director of CDL in 1980 and was the managing director of CDL from January 1995 until February last year, when he was appointed deputy chairman.

He was also the chairman of CDL's corporate social responsibility and corporate governance.

Mr Kwek was a well-known advocate of corporate social responsibility (CSR), especially in championing sustainability practices to be adopted by businesses. He was conferred the President's Award for the Environment 2015 - Singapore's highest environmental accolade - in October.

He also contributed actively to the local business and civic communities through various public appointments. He was the president of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry from 1993 to 1997, and 2001 to 2005.

An avid photographer, Mr Kwek has raised some $2 million through sales of his photo works and photo art books for various charitable and environmental causes, according to his online profile as president of Singapore Singapore Compact for CSR, which is the national CSR society and local network for the United Nations Global Compact.

Mr Kwek had taken photographs of the Botanic Gardens that were submitted as part of its UNESCO bid.

Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who previously headed the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources said in a Facebook post: "The late Mr Kwek Leng Joo was always the perfect gentleman who was so passionate about sustainability, corporate social responsibility, photography and social issues. His humility, grace and generosity was inspiring. I was fortunate to have known and worked with him for so many years on some of his causes. He received the President's Award for the Environment just last month."

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) President Professor Bertil Andersson expressed his "deep condolences" on the passing of Mr Kwek on behalf of the university.

The late Mr Kwek was a member of the NTU Board of Trustees for nearly 10 years, from 2006 till March this year.

He made a personal gift to NTU in 2009 to establish the Kwek Leng Joo prize for excellence in still photography. Mr Kwek also supported the NTU Fest, an annual community charity event organised by undergraduates.

Ms Wu Guo Yi, 23, the 2014 NTU Fest chairman said: "I was deeply touched to know that despite his busy schedule, he made time to meet me to hear my plan for the first NTU Fest in 2014...It was through him that we successfully got Korean pop stars Kang Gary and Jung-In to perform pro-bono for the event."

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and the S-League also sent their condolences.

"On behalf of the Singapore football fraternity, we extend our deepest condolences to Mr Kwek's family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time," FAS said in a statement.

Mr Kwek was the S-League chairman during its inception in 1996 and stepped down in 1999.

"As the chairman of the board of directors, Mr Kwek played a leading role in establishing a strong foundation for a new professional league, the S-League," the sports association said.

Mr Kwek also helped raise funds for and market the inaugural Youth Olympic Games held in Singapore in 2010, as the chair of its marketing advisory committee.

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