PM lauds work of late Chinese pioneer

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has paid tribute to prominent Chinese community leader Tan Keong Choon, who died on Oct 27.

In a letter to Mr Tan's widow, Mrs Tina Tan, PM Lee said his dedication and contributions to Singapore's development and the promotion of Chinese culture, language and traditions are deeply appreciated.

"We have lost a pioneer and a leading light of the Chinese community," PM Lee wrote in the letter dated Wednesday which was released to the media yesterday.

Mr Tan's earlier contributions were to the rubber industry, for which he introduced innovative processing methods that raised demand for quality rubber exports from Singapore, PM Lee said.

He also led a successful campaign against a shipping cartel that fixed freight rates on shipping routes from Singapore. It helped save the rubber industry, PM Lee added.

When Mr Tan was managing director of National Iron and Steel Mills, he pioneered a wage scheme that paid workers a basic wage, and extra wages for extra work done, PM Lee said. Mr Tan also found ways to recognise contributions of individuals and raise productivity.

Mr Tan was born in Xiamen, China, and was the nephew of philanthropist Tan Kah Kee. He was president of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry between 1973 and 1987, and chairman of the Chinese High School and Hwa Chong Junior College management committees.

He was also chairman of the National Parks Board and Singapore Science Centre.

Personally, he was a much respected benefactor who contributed generously to the community, added the Prime Minister.

This article was first published on November 6, 2015.
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