Tributes pour in for late UOB chairman emeritus Wee Cho Yaw

Among them was President Tharman's, in which he lauded Wee for his "heart for community and culture".

Ruth Chai | February 04, 2024, 05:01 PM



Tributes have poured in for the late chairman emeritus of United Overseas Bank (UOB) Wee Cho Yaw.

He passed away at the age of 95 on Feb. 3.

President Tharman

President Tharman Shanmugaratnam described Wee as "simply unique".

He paid tribute to Wee's financial and community contributions.

"He had an insatiable appetite for work and a shrewd eye for opportunities - unmatched in local banking. He was also committed to his staff. It made UOB a leading bank in the region, and helped build up our financial centre," President Tharman wrote.

President Tharman added that Wee "had a heart for community and culture".

"His almost three-decades long leadership of the Hokkien Huay Kuan, and many years as founding president of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, leave a permanent legacy. Together with his significant contributions to several of our schools," he wrote.

President Tharman expressed that he "enjoyed" his meetings with Wee during his years at the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

"He had insights that I always found useful. And a tenacious, but very warm personality."

Lawrence Wong

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong credited UOB's success as a "regional banking powerhouse" to Wee's "transformational leadership".

"His vision and ethical standards set a lasting industry benchmark, and his contributions to our financial centre and much more, will be remembered," Wong wrote.

Chan Chun Sing

Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing highlighted the Wee's contributions to the education sector.

Wee was the chairman of the joint School Management Committee for both Chung Cheng High Schools and Nanyang Junior College.

He also served on the council of National University of Singapore (NUS). Later, he became the pro-chancellor of Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Chan pointed out Wee's contributions to Singapore's school and various education initiatives.

Wee and UOB also made donations to the Lee Kuan Yew Centennial Fund, which aims to develop young leaders and support underprivileged students.

"He uplifted many students from all walks of life," Chan wrote.

Heng Swee Keat

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat described Wee as "one of Singapore's most successful businessmen" for growing UOB from a local bank into a regional finance powerhouse.

He admired Wee's passion for uplighting businesses and local small-medium enterprises.

"Wee led by example as a committed philanthropist who contributed to numerous charitable causes," Heng wrote.

Heng also shared that he learnt from Wee's drive and business acumen, and his commitment to serving the community.

Nanyang Technological University

Wee was appointed NTU's pro-chancellor in 2004, and was the former chair of the council of Nanyang University from 1970 to 1980.

He was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Letters by the university in 2014.

"The eminent banker, together with Wee Foundation and UOB, has gifted $16 million to NTU over the years, in support of education and research advancement, financial assistance to students from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as grooming future leaders," the university wrote.

NTU president Ho Teck Hua wrote a message to the NTU community in memoriam.

"We join the Wee family in mourning the loss of Dr Wee Cho Yaw. Those who have had the opportunity to interact with him remember him as a generous man who was always willing to hear out young people and give them his advice.

Dr Wee’s legacy will live on through the innumerable lives he has touched at NTU and beyond."

Top photo via NTU's Facebook