Ong Eng Guan
|Ong Eng Guan
|Minister of National Development (Singapore)|
5 June 1959 – 20 June 1960
|Prime Minister||Lee Kuan Yew|
|Preceded by||Office created|
|Succeeded by||Toh Chin Chye (acting)|
|Member of the Legislative Assembly
for Hong Lim
2 April 1955 – July 1965 (resigned)
|Preceded by||Constituency created|
|Succeeded by||Lee Khoon Choy|
|Died||2008 (aged 83)|
|Political party||People's Action Party
United People's Party
Ong Eng Guan (Chinese: 王永元; pinyin: Wáng Yǒngyuán; b. 1925, Malacca, Malaya–d. 2008) was a Singaporean politician. An anti-communist, he was a Chinese-educated orator who was one of the pioneer members of the People's Action Party (PAP). Ong was well-known among the Chinese community in Singapore. He was elected to the City Council of Singapore and mayor of Singapore in the 1957 municipal election, after the PAP won 13 out of 32 City Council seats. Ong's anti-colonial stance shocked the British government and every City Council meetings then were considered entertainment for the spectators there.
Ong continued to run the City Council for two years until the PAP gained control over the Legislative Assembly in 1959, when Ong was appointed National Development Minister and the new Singapore government began assuming functions of the council. Ong was unhappy with Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and his cabinet for a variety of issues, including the abolition of the City Council. In June 1960 Ong tabled 16 resolutions to the Central Executive Committee that challenged the party leadership, after which he was sacked from the cabinet and expelled from the PAP. Later he resigned from the Legislative Assembly, forcing the government to hold by-elections. Ong registered a new party, the United People's Party (UPP), he won the Hong Lim by-election defeating PAP candidate Jek Yuan Thong, which proved a blow to the PAP for the leaders had campaigned non-stop for Jek but Ong was too popular in the Chinese community and so Jek lost the elections. During the 1963 elections, UPP lost heavily winning only one out of more than 46 seats the party challenged, the seat won by Ong himself. He quit the Assembly and retired from public life in June 1965. According to news reports in 2012, Ong died in 2008 at the age of 83.
In the new book launched in 2009 titled "Men In White", it was revealed for the first time that in choosing who was to be the first prime minister of Singapore by the PAP central executive committee, Ong lost to Lee Kuan Yew by just one deciding vote which was cast by Toh Chin Chye.
- Sonny Yap; Richard Lim; Weng Kam Leong (2009). Men in White: The Untold Story of Singapore's Ruling Political Party. Singapore Press Holdings. ISBN 978-981-4266-24-6.