Former Cabinet minister Ong Pang Boon, 90, received the People's Action Party's highest honour - the Distinguished Service Medal - for his contributions to Singapore and his years of service to the party. The award was presented to him by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the PAP65 Awards and Convention yesterday. Also on stage at the award ceremony was PAP chairman Gan Kim Yong.
Yesterday's event at the Singapore Expo marked the party's 65th anniversary since it was founded on Nov 21, 1954. Mr Ong is the last surviving member of the first-generation Cabinet.
He was the PAP's first organising secretary and played a crucial role bridging the non-communist and mostly English-educated PAP leaders with the Chinese-speaking masses who formed the majority of voters from the 1955 elections.
Mr Ong was also instrumental in ensuring that communism and the influence of secret societies did not take root among members, the party said in a citation.
Mr Ong has helmed several ministries, including home affairs, education, labour and environment. A total of 402 PAP activists received awards this year.