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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visits the wake of Dr. Wee Cho Yaw. Here he is pictured with the late Dr Wee’s wife, Madam Chuang Yong Eng, at the wake of Dr. Wee (Photo source: UOB).

Singapore leaders pay tribute to late banking tycoon Wee Cho Yaw

Wee was hailed as a visionary leader and for his contributions to education and culture.

Singapore leaders paid tribute to UOB chairman emeritus and honorary adviser Dr. Wee Cho Yaw, who passed away at 95.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressed deep sadness for the passing of Wee and offered his condolences to Wee’s family.

“Cho Yaw was a titan of Singapore’s banking industry. His distinguished career spanned more than 60 years at UOB, much of it at its helm. His business acumen and visionary leadership were instrumental in growing UOB into one of the most successful banks in Singapore and the region,” Lee said.

Lee also celebrated Wee’s significant contribution to promoting the Chinese language, culture, and values; and his passion for education, notably Wee’s role in the formation of the National University of Singapore.

“I have known Cho Yaw personally for four decades. When I was Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, overseeing major changes to the financial sector, I worked closely with him, and greatly valued his perspectives and advice. I will always warmly remember his passion and energy, and our many conversations across a wide range of issues over the years,” Lee wrote in a facebook post.

In a separate post, President Tharman Shanmugaratnam called Wee “simply unique.”

“He had an insatiable appetite for work and a shrewd eye for opportunities - unmatched in local banking. He was also committed to his staff. It made UOB a leading bank in the region, and helped build up our financial centre,” Shanmugaratnam wrote in the post.

He added that he had always enjoyed his meetings with the late banker during his time working at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

“He had insights that I always found useful. And a tenacious, but very warm personality,” Shanmugaratnam recalled.

President Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the wake of Dr. Wee Cho Yaw (source: UOB).

 

Deputy Prime Ministers Heng Swee Keat and Lawrence Wong also expressed sadness for Wee’s passing.

“His vision and ethical standards set a lasting industry benchmark, and his contributions to our financial centre and much more, will be remembered. Our condolences to his family and the UOB community,” Wong wrote.

Keat hailed Wee as “one of Singapore’s most successful businessmen,” saying that he always led by example as a committed philanthropist who contributed to numerous charitable causes.

“In my interactions with Mr Wee over the years, I have always admired and learnt from his drive and business acumen, as well as his commitment to serving the community. I offer my deepest condolences to Mr Wee’s family and his loved ones,” Heng wrote.

Minister of Education Chan Chun Sing, meanwhile, praised Wee for his contributions to the education sector in Singapore, especially for Wee’s contributions to various education initiatives, such as the Nanyang Junior College Zhong Zheng Ren Scholarship, and the Wee Cho Yaw Future Leaders Award scholarship programme.

“He uplifted many students from all walks of life,” Chan said.

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