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Former MCA president Lee San Choon dies at 87

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — Former MCA president Tan Sri Lee San Choon has passed away at the age of 87.

According to a report by Sin Chew Daily, Lee passed away at 10.30am this morning.

His cause of death was not specified in the report.

The former fourth president of MCA was hailed as a legendary politician for leading his party through three general elections, with the most successful being the 1982 general election.

Prior to the 1982 general election, he accepted former DAP’s secretary-general Lim Kit Siang's challenge to contest in a Chinese-majority constituency and won against the former DAP’s chairman Chen Man Hin in his Seremban stronghold.

His victory was secured marginally with a mere 845 majority.

Lee was born in Pekan, Pahang in 1935 to immigrant parents from China.

He started off his political career by joining MCA in 1957 and went on to win the Klang Utara parliamentary seat in the 1959 general election and became the youngest MP in the country at the age of 24.

The former businessman held various ministerial posts in the Cabinet from 1969 to 1983, including labour and manpower minister, works and public utilities minister, and transport minister.

His other important legacies include his initiative to build the party's headquarters Wisma MCA, setting up a construction fund for Tunku Abdul Rahman College, and establishing the Malaysian Chinese Cultural Society.

Lee dramatically retired from politics at the height of his political career by resigning from the Cabinet on March 24, 1983 and relinquishing his position as the president of MCA the next day for unspecified reasons.

The former statesman however explained in 2000 to Asiaweek that he was "stabbed in the back” by Umno leaders in the 1982 election.