SINGAPORE: Veteran Workers’ Party (WP) member Lim Ee Ping passed away on Wednesday (29 May) at the age of 86 following a cancer battle. The retired baker – who is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren – had joined the opposition party at the age of 20 in 1959 and remained an active member until his passing.

Paying tribute to the longtime member as “one of our giants,” the WP revealed on Facebook that the last time many members saw Mr Lim was on 5 May, during his final Hammer Outreach event. The stalwart was moved by the concern party members who visited him at his home expressed and decided to show up to the WP’s weekly outreach activity, despite having only a few weeks left to live.

Mr Lim was photographed in a wheelchair, dressed in blue—the WP’s official colour—and surrounded by other party members and volunteers. The party said, “Like all members, he sold some copies of our Party newsletter, the Hammer. It brought him great satisfaction to know that he continued to play his part in helping the Party’s cause, even in his final days.”

Mr Lim joined the Workers’ Party in 1959, inspired by then-Secretary-General David Marshall. He remained committed to the party through the challenging post-independence years, rallying members and supporters even when political progress seemed bleak.

In a feature on the WP website published some years back, Mr Lim recounted his early days with the party:

“I joined WP in 1959. Then I was only 20 years old. Because of [David] Marshall’s honesty, I made the decision to be a part of WP. The post-Marshall years were difficult. WP was essentially an ’empty city.’ I rode around on my bicycle to rally and organize the members.

“The WP of today has made some headway, in no small part due to the hard work of many involved. Just as it was the case in 1959, there is a need for checks and balances in our politics. WP continues to play such a role.”

In his later years, Mr Lim expressed pride in the party’s modest success. “Today, I am satisfied. With the respect I earned from fellow party members, I continue to serve Singapore. In no time, the baton will be passed to the younger generation,” he said.

The veteran member added, “The younger generation of members have to understand and protect the interests of the WP. They need to make sacrifices along the way. With sincerity, they will in no time find the opportunity to serve.”

The WP lauded Mr Lim’s enduring legacy of “keeping the flame of democracy alive when times were at their darkest.” Asserting that his life exemplified true commitment to democracy, the party said:

“While he will be sorely missed, he will be remembered by all of us in the Workers’ Party with great fondness. He personified the values of resilience and true commitment in the face of adversity. A fighter, right to the end.”

In a separate Facebook post, WP chief and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh remembered Mr Lim as a constant source of encouragement and support for himself and his colleagues in the WP.

Highlighting the dearly departed member’s consistent presence at the Sunday outreach events despite his age, Mr Singh noted that Mr Lim would often visit various Meet-the-People Sessions (MPS) simply to greet and chat with the volunteers.

Mr Singh described Mr Lim as humble, encouraging, and always approachable. He also praised Lim’s exceptional skill as a rally speaker – a skill he used to connect the WP to a generation of Singaporeans who only knew dialects.”

The secretary-general said, “Thank you for your commitment to the cause of a democratic Singapore Uncle Ee Ping, for blazing a trail for the WP, and leaving very big shoes to fill for the rest of us. Rest in Peace Sir.”

WP MP He Ting Ru also expressed sadness at the loss of Mr Lim, on her own Facebook page. She recalled: “Although his health was ailing in recent years, he kept up a keen interest in our work. Sometimes he would drop by to see us when we were in our constituencies, even at the height of the pandemic, to make sure that we were serving our residents respectfully.”

Revealing that Mr Lim was “in pain and tired, but his mind remained wonderfully sharp” as he questioned the WP parliamentarians on what was happening on the ground, Ms He said:

“As ever, he was very keen and happy to see and hear of younger Singaporeans stepping up to volunteer, and it brought him great joy and comfort to be visited by various party members and old friends.
His gentle, constant presence will be sorely missed.”

The late Mr Lim’s wake is being held at Block 60B Strathmore Avenue until June 2.