Lim Chong Eu

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Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr.
Lim Chong Eu
林蒼祐
Lín Cāngyòu
Gerakan celebrate after 1969 election.jpg
Lim Chong Eu (on the left, being hoisted) alongside Syed Hussein Alatas (bearded) during Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia's victory in the 1969 Malaysian general election.
2nd Chief Minister of Penang
In office
1969–1990
Preceded by Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee
Succeeded by Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon
2nd President of Malaysian Chinese Association
In office
March 1958 – July 1959
Preceded by Tun Tan Cheng Lock
Succeeded by Dr. Cheah Toon Lok (acting)
2nd President of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia
In office
1969–1980
Preceded by Professor Syed Hussein Alatas
Succeeded by Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik
Personal details
Born 28 May 1919
Penang, Straits Settlements
Died 24 November 2010(2010-11-24) (aged 91)
Tanjung Bungah, Penang, Malaysia
Nationality Malaysian
Political party Gerakan (1962-1990)
MCA (1949-1962)
Residence Tanjung Bungah, Malaysia
Occupation Medical doctor
Politician
Religion Buddhist

Tun Dato' Seri Dr. Lim Chong Eu (simplified Chinese: 林苍祐; traditional Chinese: 林蒼祐; 28 May 1919 – 24 November 2010)[1] was a Malaysian politician who served as the second Chief Minister of Penang for a record 21 years. He was also the founding president of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, a member of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional. He was termed the "Architect of Modern Penang".

Early life[edit]

Lim was born in 1919 in Penang. He attended school at the Penang Free School, where he was the King's Scholar in 1937. He later obtained a degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1944.

Political career[edit]

In 1951, he was appointed to the Penang Local Council and in 1955, was appointed a member of the Federal Legislature.

In the March 1958 party elections, he challenged Tun Tan Cheng Lock and won the presidency with a majority of 22 votes.

After the victory, he called an extraordinary general meeting to amend the Constitution to consolidate the power of the Central Committee. This was met with strong resistance by Tun Tan Siew Sin and his supporters.

Although the proposal was passed with a single-vote majority, the move left the Party split. At the same time, the MCA under Lim also had severe political differences with the then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

The crisis worsened especially on the eve of the 1959 general elections when Lim demanded 40 parliamentary seats and also wanted to make Chinese an official language.

The Tunku increased the seats allocated to MCA from 28 to 31 but this was rejected and their relationship worsened.

During the one-year period when the MCA was under Lim, the party was under tremendous pressure from within and outside. In December 1960, Lim left the MCA and in 1962, he formed the United Democratic Party. Dr Cheah Toon Lock became the Acting President with the resignation of Lim.

He was one of the founding members of the Opposition Party Gerakan before the 1969 General Election. The formation the of Gerakan party threw the Chinese Malaysian aggregate into a dilemma, weakened their political strength and above all, eroded the political representation of the MCA as the only party for the Chinese community. Gerakan joined the ruling Barisan Nasional after winning the Penang State Government in 1969.

Chief Minister of Penang[edit]

Lim served as Chief Minister of Penang from 1969 to 1990. The iconic projects that emerged during Lim’s rule included the 66-storey KOMTAR administrative tower and commercial complex, and the 13.5 km Penang Bridge. When it was topped-off, KOMTAR was for some time the tallest building in Asia, and the Penang Bridge one of the longest in the world. Lim is best known for overseeing the emergence of Penang’s Free Trade Zone (FTZ) – later renamed Free Industrial Zone – which evolved into one of Asia’s most powerful electronics hubs.

In the Malaysian General Elections of October 1990, a crisis occurred when Lim, serving as the chief minister, lost his state seat and Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan) had less seats than UMNO in the Penang State Assembly. A crisis was averted when Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik, the then president of Gerakan, was able to convince the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad to allow an ethnic Chinese to continue on in the role of the Chief Minister.

Retirement and death[edit]

Lim had retired from politics and was concentrating on business. He was at the time chairman and advisor for several large corporations. In 2007, Lim was named founding chancellor of Wawasan Open University.[2]

In late October 2010, he was admitted to the Penang Hospital after suffering a stroke. He later died on Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at his home in Hillside, Tanjung Bungah at about 9 pm.[3] On Thursday, November 25, 2010, he was given a state funeral. The Penang state flag was flown at half-mast from 25 to 28 November for 4 days as a mark of respect. His body was cremated at Batu Gantung Crematorium on Sunday, November 28, 2010.

Memorials[edit]

The 17.84 km Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway comprising Jelutong Expressway and Bayan Lepas Expressway was renamed after him on December 7, 2010.[4][5]

Other memorials included Bangunan Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, a main headquarters of the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) located at Persiaran Mahsuri, Bayan Lepas.

References[edit]