Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim hailed the late Mr Othman Wok as a "multicultural icon", after the 92-year-old passed away yesterday (17 Apr).
He spoke about the legacy left behind by the former Cabinet minister and first generation leader, saying it was something "we can never forget because without him and the other founding fathers, we wouldn't have modern Singapore."
Mr Othman was lauded for his courage during Singapore's separation, seeing through “some of the extremist forces that were at play” to realise that “a better future lies for Singapore through a society where we respect one another”.
"He fought not only for the Malays but for everyone in Singapore."
Minister Yaacob, also Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, noted that the foundation Mr Othman laid for “a modern and progressive Malay-Muslim community” allowed “us to lead a very vibrant and socio-religious life".
He cited Mr Othman's efforts in developing key institutions within the community such as the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA), the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), and the Mosque Building Fund from which there are now 26 mosques in the heartlands.
As both a community and national leader, Mr Othman upheld an ethos characteristic of his generation’s leadership – a respect for multiracialism, meritocracy, and society where every community has a space to thrive and develop as best as they could, said Minister Yaacob.
"He's always reminded us not to forget to continue to be tolerant and understanding of one another and live peacefully with each other."
Source: “Othman Wok was a multiracial icon: Yaacob Ibrahim” (CNA, 17 Apr 2017)
Photo: The Straits Times. Copyright © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Used with permission.