Former deputy prime minister Toh Chin Chye, who was a founding member of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP), died on Friday morning at age 90 at his home.
Toh was instrumental in creating the party’s foundation in 1954 together with other stalwarts, the late Dr Goh Keng Swee and S Rajaratnam, as well as former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.
The first chairman of PAP, Toh became the deputy prime minister after the country's independence in 1965, and held the government post till 1968. He also took on the roles of Science and Technology Minister as well as Health Minister.
He was also in charge of the committee created to design the state crest, state anthem and state flag which were unveiled on 3 December 1959 at City Hall and became the National Flag and National Anthem when Singapore gained independence in 1965.
Stepping down from the Cabinet in 1981, Toh retired from politics at the age of 67 in 1988.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Cabinet colleagues have expressed their sadness over the passing of Toh and conveyed their condolences to his family.
In a press statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said that Toh had left instructions for a private funeral which will be held at Mandai Crematorium on Tuesday, and the government will assist the family in making funeral arrangements.
“As a mark of respect to one of Singapore’s founding fathers, the Government has decided to accord Dr Toh the honour of being borne on the ceremonial gun carriage for his final journey to the Mandai Crematorium. In addition, the State flag on all Government buildings will be flown at half-mast on the day of the funeral,” the statement said.
Tributes by current and former Members of Parliament (MPs) have since poured in following news of his death.
Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts Grace Fu, who last met Toh around two years ago said in her Facebook post on Friday that Toh impressed her with “his deep sense of passion and loyalty towards Singapore and her people”.
Former PAP MP for Ayer Rajah Dr Tan Cheng Bock said that he found Toh to be a tough negotiator with very strong views, stubborn and straight-talking.
Saying that Toh played a huge role in creating the state flag and national anthem, MP for Tampines GRC Baey Yam Keng said in his Facebook post, “Without him and other pioneer leaders of Singapore, we will not be what we are, or enjoy what we have today. With the passing of another old guard, I am reminded of how far we have come. All the more we must do our part for the future of Singapore.”