Mr Ahmad bin Ibrahim was the PAP Government’s first Malay Minister in 1959.
Born in Penang, Mr Ahmad first came to Singapore and worked as a telephone operator at the then Singapore Naval Base in Sembawang.
In 1955, he stood for the Legislative Assembly elections and won as an independent candidate, representing Sembawang. When the PAP government formed its first Cabinet 1959, Mr Ahmad was appointed as the Minister for Health and also Assistant Secretary-General of the PAP’s Central Executive Committee. In a Cabinet reshuffle in September 1961, he was made Minister for Labour.
Unfortunately in August 1962, while serving as the Minister for Labour, Mr Ahmad died at the Singapore General Hospital after a prolonged illness at the age of 35.
As a measure of high regard for him, Mr Ahmad was given a state funeral, and it was attended by Singapore’s then head of state Yusof Ishak, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Cabinet ministers and members of the public.
In a tribute, Mr Lee highlighted how Mr Ahmad dedicated himself to the cause of workers, regardless of race and religion. “He made friends easily, and there are many in Singapore who cannot help liking him as a man, his modesty and straight-forwardness,” Mr Lee said.
In memory of Mr Ahmad, a road in Jurong (Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim), two schools (Ahmad Ibrahim Primary and Secondary schools), as well as a mosque in Yishun (Masjid Ahmad Ibrahim), have been named after him.
Cover Image: The Straits Times