Lee Suet Fern’s Father Lim Chong Yah Passes Away Aged 91, He Was A Prominent Economist

Ex-Chairman Of National Wages Council Lim Chong Yah Passes Away

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his wife, Lee Suet Fern, are currently under police investigation and have left the country.

The younger son of founding father Lee Kuan Yew has hinted that the couple won’t return to Singapore in the foreseeable future, and thus he may not see his sister face to face again.

Unfortunately, this also means that Mrs Lee probably didn’t see her father for the last time, as he passed away at 91.

Source: Thiaya Raju on Facebook

Professor Lim Chong Yah was a prominent economist and the former chairman of the National Wages Council (NWC).

Lim Chong Yah passes away on 8 July

According to an obituary posted on Facebook by Hainanese obituary archives, Prof Lim passed away on Saturday (8 July).

Source: Hainanese obituary archives 新加坡海南先人讣告档案 on Facebook

He is survived by his wife and four children — Suet Fern, his eldest, as well as one other daughter and two sons: Suet Wun, Suet Lynn and Suet Ron.

He also has four children-in-law, including Mr Lee Hsien Yang, and seven grandchildren.

Lim Chong Yah was an accomplished academic

Prof Lim might be best known for being the Chairman of the NWC for 29 years, reported The Straits Times (ST).

He is also an accomplished academic, having been named an Emeritus Professor by two universities in Singapore: the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

NTU paid tribute to him on Saturday, saying he “left an indelible mark on Singapore and its economic landscape”.

Source: NTU on Facebook

The university said he was the inaugural Albert Winsemius Chair Professor at the School of Social Sciences.

Earlier this May, NTU honoured him by launching the Professor Lim Chong Yah Reading Room, which houses the Lim Chong Yah Collection of books and personal memorabilia he donated.

Prof Lim was also present at the launch event.

He authored 2 economics textbooks

However, former and current economics students may also recognise his name as an author of two economics textbooks: Elements of Economic Theory and Economic Structure and Organisation.

Source: @serendipity8888 on Carousell

Other books he’s authored include one on the NWC.

Source: NTU School of Social Sciences on Instagram

In 2017, Prof Lim launched his autobiography, “Lim Chong Yah: An Autobiography, Life Journey of a Singaporean Professor”.

2 ministers pay tribute to Lim Chong Yah

Due to his achievements, two Singapore ministers have paid tribute to Prof Lim.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said he was saddened to hear of Prof Lim’s passing.

Mr Wong was one of the students who benefitted from his textbooks. He also lauded him for setting up the NWC with no precedent to draw from, yet allowing the organisation to be “a force for change”.

Source: Lawrence Wong on Facebook

In his own Facebook post, Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said Prof Lim’s contributions to Singapore “went far beyond the academic realm”.

He met the economist several times and was always inspired by his intellect, candour, and passion.

Source: Tan See Leng on Facebook

Particularly, Mr Tan said,

His concern for the livelihoods and welfare of our lower-wage workers was unceasing.

He wanted to pay low-wage workers more

As former NWC Chairman, Prof Lim has been vocal about the salaries of low-wage workers.

In 2012, he famously suggested that the pay of workers earning S$1,500 or less per month be raised by 50% over three years. He also proposed that the wages of those who earn S$15,000 or more be temporarily frozen.

This would help with Singapore’s growing inequality, he said, in a move he described as “shock therapy”.

However, then NTUC Secretary-General Lim Swee Say responded that it was a “very risky” move that would have “some downside”.

Prof Lim has also said that Singapore should introduce a minimum wage if the above proposal doesn’t work.

Other politicians, including Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh, have echoed this call for minimum wage.

Lim Chong Yah passes away without Suet Fern by his side

Unfortunately, in all likelihood, Prof Lim departed this world without his eldest child Suet Fern by his side.

Source: Lee Hsien Yang on Facebook

That’s because she’s ostensibly with Mr Lee Hsien Yang after the couple left Singapore before the police could interview them.

In a Facebook post in March, Mr Lee lamented that he’d “been made a fugitive by [his] own country”. Bloomberg reports that they are now based in Europe.

MS News extends our deepest condolences to his friends and loved ones. May they be comforted by his lasting legacy and place in Singapore’s history.

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Featured image adapted from NTU on Facebook and Lee Hsien Yang on Facebook.

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