SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday (4 May) paid tribute to former Bukit Batok MP Chai Chong Yii, who died a day earlier in his sleep at the age of 87.
Noting his 16 years of service in Bukit Batok, Lee said Chai saw the transformation of the estate from a kampong area housing granite quarry labourers and re-settled farmers, into a modern township. “He was much loved and respected by his residents, and served as MP for four consecutive terms,” Lee added.
Chai served in several ministries, including the then-Ministry of Culture, then-Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Education.
As Senior Minister of State for Education, Chai played a crucial part in launching the Special Assistance Plan schools in 1979, Lee said. After politics, Chong Yii was an auditor for the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) until 1996, and also served as Singapore’s Trade Representative to Taiwan from 1991 to 1994.
“Chong Yii will be deeply missed. I wish his family much comfort in this time of loss and grief,” Lee said.
Petir, PAP's political newsletter, also paid tribute to Chai, saying that under his leadership, Bukit Batok became a stronghold for the PAP.
During his time in MOE, Chai also promoted bilingualism in Singapore, and contributed in the merger of the University of Singapore and Nanyang University to become National University of Singapore in 1980, according to Petir.
Chai is survived by his wife Khor Phaik Tin, three children and six grandchildren.
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