Former Penang chief minister Dr Lim Chong Eu died today, about a month after suffering a stroke. He was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Penang Hospital on Oct 26 and was in a coma for a number of weeks.
The former politican was discharged from the hospital at around 8.30pm and passed away half an hour later at his home.
He leaves behind his wife, two sons and two daughters.
Lim was the second Penang chief minister, for 21 years from 1969 to 1990, and held the Gerakan presidency from 1971 to 1980. Born in 1919 in Penang, Lim studied at the Penang Free School and was the King's Scholar in 1937. He obtained a degree in medical and surgery from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 1944. In 1951, he was appointed to the Penang Local Council and in 1955, he was appointed a member of the Federal Legislature. Prior to joining Gerakan, Lim was MCA president from 1958 to 1959, during a time when the party was facing one its most tumultuous times. In December 1960, Lim left the MCA and formed the United Democratic Party in 1962.
Defeated by Kit Siang in 1990
He was among the key figures who formed Gerakan just before the 1969 general elections.
The formation of the opposition party split the Chinese votes and weakened the political representation of the MCA as the only party for the community. It was under his stewardship that Gerakan, of which Lim was founding president, joined BN in 1973.
He stepped down as Gerakan president in 1980 and was succeeded by Lim Keng Yaik. But while he continued on as Penang chief minister, he eventually retired from politics after he was defeated by DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang in his Padang Kota state seat at the 1990 general election.
Following his retirement from politics, Lim became a businessman and was awarded the Tunship.
In 2007, he was named founding chancellor of Wawasan Open University in Penang.
In a statement, former Penang chief minister and current Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon said that in Lim's passing, the country, Penang and Gerakan have lost a great statesman and visionary. Describing Lim as the Father of Industrialisation for his role in convincing electronics MNCs to invest in Penang, Koh said Lim must also be counted as one of the founding fathers of the nation for his contributions to discussions on the draft Federal Constitution. “Gerakan members and I are very saddened to have lost our most respected founder, who steadfastly championed the cause of all Malaysians.” From Hong Kong where he is currently away for official business, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, also expressed his “deep sorrow” upon hearing of Lim's demise and extended on behalf of the Penang government hi deepest condolences to Lim's son Chien Cheng and his family.