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Celebrating the contributions of an Old Guard

24 Mar 2019 < 1 min read

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Comrade Ong Pang Boon, an Old Guard leader and a Minister in the first PAP Government in 1959, celebrated his 90th Birthday yesterday. 

PAP Secretary-General and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and 100 comrades – past and present- were in attendance at the Parliament House to celebrate Comrade Ong’s birthday. 

Comrade Ong, who was in the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s first Cabinet, was among the 10 ministers who signed the Independence of Singapore Agreement in 1965. 

Prior to his long innings as a Minister in the Home Affairs, Education, Labour and Environment, Comrade Ong served as the election agent for Mr Lee when he first contested the Tanjong Pagar constituency during the 1955 Legislative Assembly election. 

In his speech PM Lee shared how Comrade Ong came up with the idea of a pledge to be taken by students, to inculcate national consciousness and patriotism. In fact, Comrade Ong personally translated and produced the final Chinese version of the pledge. 

In addition, as Minister for Education, Comrade Ong initiated the move towards bilingualism, increasing the teaching of English in Chinese-stream schools and the teaching of Chinese in English-stream schools. 

Comrade Ong also holds another honour – he was the Party’s first full-time employee when the PAP started in 1954. 

We salute Comrade Ong and his numerous contributions to the Party and to the people of Singapore.