Press Statement by Chief Minister of Penang Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 20.10.17
Ong See Fook Was Not Only The Longest Serving Civil Servant In Malaysia (61 Years) But He Performed His Duties With Distinction Through Loyalty, Humility and Professional Conduct Towards All Who Come To The Chief Minister’s Office Whether Ordinary Folks Or Famous Leaders.
Mr Ong See Fook, aged 83, a familiar and friendly face of Chief Minister’s office at Level 28 Komtar, passed away peacefully on October 18 at 8:15pm. He is the longest serving public servant in Malaysia’s history, having served for 61 years in government service. Mr Ong began his public service career on 3 September 1956 when he was 22 years old, even before Merdeka in 1957. He served three Penang Chief Ministers, Tun Dato Seri Dr Lim Chong Eu, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, and myself.
Mr Ong, a humble, sincere and dedicated civil staff in the Penang State Government Administration had served in several senior positions since the time of Penang’s first Chief Minister Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee as a staff under Penang Municipality in 1956. Subsequently Mr Ong was appointed to work as Tun Dato’ Seri Dr Lim Chong Eu’s Personal Assistant (PA) in the Chief Minister’s office on 1st September 1970. He continued as PA to the next Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and myself when the present state administration took over in 2008. Mr Ong had spent 47 years at the Chief Minister’s office in Penang.
Mr Ong will be sorely missed not just because we have lost a living library of memories involving historical personalities but also his wealth of experience working with different leaders that can be a treasure trove of information. From a person who had witnessed the Union Jack being lowered from the flag post and the Declaration of Independence of the Federation of Malaya, to his long public service gives him a unique historical vantage point of the major events in Penang.
Mr Ong is also a civil servant that should be emulated by all members of the public administration. Reliable, dedicated and dependable, he is the model of discipline, loyalty and professionalism. When my wife wanted him to open the public safe where our family passports were kept, he bluntly told her that he must get permission from the Chief Minister first. He never divulged what happened during his work even to his family members. He was so tight-lipped about his office duties that his wife told me she never knew about major news events until she read about it in the newspapers.
He was so focused on his job of serving the Chief Ministers that he would stay on in office until the Chief Minister left. When I had to finish my work until 4am he was still there making sure that I had left before him. If I was in office during the weekends or holidays, he would also be there. He never used up his annual leaves preferring to sacrifice them to ensure that he could serve faithfully the Chief Minister – giving true meaning to the word public servant.
Mr Ong‘s regular meals reflects the simplicity of his lifestyle, economy rice of two vegetables dishes and one fish. Mr Ong has also been an active exponent member of Penang Taekwan-Do Association and was elected as the president from 1978 to 1985.
Our deepest condolences to his bereaved family. Mr Ong is survived by his wife Madam Lim Chooi Bee, Son Alvin Ong Tuck Meng & family. The Penang state government thanks his family for his services and will sorely miss him. Indeed, Ong See Fook was not only the longest serving civil servant in Malaysia (a total of 61 Years) but he performed his duties with distinction through loyalty, humility and professional conduct towards all who come to the Penang Chief Minister’s Office, whether they were ordinary folks or famous leaders.
Without him, the Penang CM’s office will not be the same but we will cherish the memories. Rest in Peace, Ong See Fook.
Lim Guan Eng
Chief Minister of Penang