Fan Yew Teng

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Fan Yew Teng (范俊登 12 May 1942[1] – 7 December 2010) was former Acting Secretary-General of the Democratic Action Party, Malaysia, former Member of Parliament for Kampar (elected in 1969) and Menglembu (elected in 1974), and former Selangor State Assemblyman for Petaling Jaya. He was arrested in 1969 and later charged under the Sedition Act for publishing, as editor of DAP's The Rocket, a speech by Dr. Ooi Kee Saik, then Penang DAP Chairman.[2] He was eventually convicted for sedition in 1975. Fan was then disqualified from Parliament and denied all MP privileges, including his pension. He kept his parliamentary seat until 1977, when the Privy Council upheld the decision of the High Court. Fan left DAP over differences in 1978 to join Social Democratic Party (SDP).[3] He rejoined the DAP in 1998, during the transformative period of Reformasi in Malaysia.[2]

Early Life and Education[edit]

Fan graduated from Brinsford Lodge teacher training college in the UK. He held a Masters in Education from the University of Sussex, and was a Parvin Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs at Princeton University. In the late 1960s, he was appointed as the editor of the NUTP’s (National Union of the Teaching Profession) organ 'The Educator', where he launched staunch and often sharp criticism against the government, particularly against the then Education Minister. He was the co-organiser of the 1967 nationwide teachers' strike, which helped to bring about equal pay for women, as well as pension, housing and health benefits for all teachers. Due to his leadership in the NUTP he was sent off from Kuala Lumpur to schools in rural areas like in Kuala Lipis and Temerloh, Pahang and Tanah Merah, Kelantan.

Political career[edit]

He contested and won on a DAP ticket in Kampar, Perak in the 1969 general election. In the 1974 general election, he daringly took on PPP founding president S. P. Seenivasagam in Menglembu parliamentary seat as well as unionist and former MTUC secretary-general V. David in the Petaling Jaya state seat. Fan won both seats and came to be known as a 'giant slayer'. Fan was also famed for his firebrand oratory style.

Fan's political career was marred by many trials and tribulations, including his infamous conviction under the Sedition Act in 1975 and subsequent disqualification from the Menglembu parliamentary seat.[4] Fan was disqualified after he was fined RM2,000 in default six months’ jail for publishing a seditious speech by the then Penang DAP chairman Dr Ooi Kee Siak the in party organ The Rocket. A two-term MP and a sterling leader of society, he was denied even his basic right to an MP pension. To make ends meet, Fan became a freelance writer and would occasionally conduct lectures for students.

Published works[edit]

Throughout his life, he continued to write prolifically on political and social issues and campaign for human rights and the cause of justice. His books include 'If We Love This Country' (1988), 'Oppressors and Apologists' (1988), 'The UMNO Drama: Power Struggles in Malaysia' (1989), 'The Rape of Law' (1990), and 'Anwar Saga: Malaysia on Trial' (1999).[5] He also co-authored, with A. Rajaguru, 'The Neverending Quest: The teachers' struggle for dignity and excellence' (1994).

Personal Life and Death[edit]

He lived frugally renting a house in the city of Ipoh, Malaysia and also stayed with his wife who works for the United Nations office in Bangkok, Thailand. Fan lived out the final days of his life close to his wife, Dr. Noeleen Heyzer and twin daughters in Bangkok. Fan died after a year-long battle with cancer at 1.40pm on 7 December 2010[6] in the Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok.


  1. ^ The Sun Daily
  2. ^ a b Kee Beng, Ooi (2015). LIM KIT SIANG: Defying the Odds. Marshall Cavendish. ISBN 9789814677370. 
  3. ^ "The politics of accommodation: an analysis of the 1978 Malaysian general election". 1978. Retrieved 20 Jan 2011. 
  4. ^ Mohd Sani, Mohd Azizuddin (2009). The Public Sphere and Media Politics in Malaysia. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 9781443803861. 
  5. ^ "Books by Fan Yew Teng". Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  6. ^ "Former DAP MP Fan Yew Teng dies in Bangkok. hospital". The Star Online. 7 December 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2010.