Saturday, November 10, 2007

Singapore pays tribute to Sim Kee Boon

Former top civil service head Sim Kee Boon, who had been battling stomach cancer for 15 years, died on Friday morning. He was 78.

Mr Sim is one of the most well-known and respected public figure, who headed the civil service from 1979 to 1984, and had held numerous top positions in the public sector and statutory boards. He is survived by his wife Jeanette Sim, 76, five sons and five grandchildren.

The passing of former civil service head Mr Sim Kee Boon is a "loss" to the nation, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Mr Lee said Singapore owed an 'enormous debt' to public servants such as Mr Sim. "They grew up; they saw the country change; they made the change happen."

The prime minister said that as head of the civil service from 1979 to 1984, Mr Sim set the tone for the organisation and led it to achieve many highs, including the building of Changi Airport.

Tributes poured in from many who had worked with him in the civil service and business community. Many who knew him described Mr Sim as "a very sharp and intuitive man, and a good teacher." It is reported that whenever he's at any airport, he would make an effort to look around. He is known to go to the airport about one or two hours earlier and board the plane at the last minute. A hands-on man with exacting standards, he made frequent unannounced walks around the Changi terminals, instituting the habit of Management by Walking Around (MBW) in CAAS.

Leading the tributes from the Keppel group where Mr. Sim presided 16 years as Excecutive Chairman, Mr Lim Chee Onn, the current Executive Chairman of Keppel Corporation, said: "He developed a strong and stable platform for Keppel upon which we have been able to develop and grow at a sustained pace during these last 8 years. Keppel's success today is a result of his vision and efforts.

Mr. Sim is an outstanding personality who has left his mark on a country that is proud of and grateful for his contribution.

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