Opposition parties and politicians have paid tribute to late veteran politician Wong Wee Nam. Dr Wong passed away on Saturday (7 Sept) at the age of 72, after battling Parkinson’s disease over the past several years.
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), which shared a close relationship with Dr Wong, credited the late politician for influencing many of its policies. Revealing that Dr Wong nearly contested the 2011 General Election under its banner, the party said:
“Dr Wong Wee Nam has always been and will always be a voice that stirred the conscience of our people. Even as fear blanketed this island, his bold and clear moral principles shone brightly for many of us.
“Through the years as he grew closer to the SDP, he was a mentor to many of our younger members. Unbeknownst to many, he nearly stood as an SDP candidate in the 2011 General Elections but had to withdraw at the last minute because of familial reasons. But even though he was not a candidate, he was in the thick of our campaign, always a source of strength for his party colleagues.
“Dr Wong was a leader of the Old Rafflesians Association, an active stalwart of the Singapore Medical Association and a highly respected general practitioner. His compassionate views influenced many of our ideas in our policy papers especially that of healthcare, a policy in which he helped to shape and author.
“He was a thinker and an avid writer often delving into the Chinese classics to draw lessons for modern Singapore. His book “Thoughts From A Gilded Cage” was published in 2018. His demise saddens all of us at the SDP. We hold his loved ones in our thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time.”
On his personal Facebook page, SDP chairman Paul Tambyah added that Dr Wong was a “kind doctor, deep thinker, Singaporean patriot and good friend” and that he will be missed.
The Singapore People’s Party (SPP) also extended its deepest condolences to Dr Wong’s family. Calling Dr Wong “a highly respected doctor and leader,” the SPP said: “Dr Wong was a friend of our Secretary-General, Mr Chiam See Tong. He had also guided and stood alongside our Organising Secretary, Mr Steve Chia, in Hong Kah GRC in 1997 too.”
Mr Chiam said: “Thank you for your contributions to opposition politics and speaking out for Singaporeans.”
Another close friend, Singaporeans First Party chief and ex-Presidential Election candidate Tan Jee Say wrote: “So sad that Dr Wong Wee Nam has just passed away. He was a great friend and a strong supporter. A mutual friend Dr Chew Beng Keng introduced him to me. Wee Nam persuaded and encouraged me to join SDP and introduced me to Dr Chee Soon Juan. That was the start of my political career.
“He provided good advice and guidance along the way, always putting the interests of Singaporeans at the heart of his advice. Thank you, Wee Nam. May you rest in peace. Our condolences go to his family.”
Dr Wong is resting at Singapore Casket Level 3, Pearl Hall (131 Lavender Street). His wake visiting hours are 2pm to 10pm on Monday and Tuesday (9-10 Sept).