Over 500 people attended a special memorial tribute for the late Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik, jointly organised by Wawasan Open University (WOU) and Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia at Menara PGRM, Kuala Lumpur today.
The event titled ‘The Legacy of a True Malaysian - A Tribute to Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik’ was held to commemorate and celebrate the life and legacy of Tun Dr Lim, the second Chancellor of WOU and a former President of Parti Gerakan.
As a mark of respect, the emcee led everyone to stand and observe a minute of silence in remembrance of the great leader who passed away on 22nd December 2012.
The first speaker for the morning was WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye. He said Tun Dr Lim will always be remembered as the founder of WOU for having the vision to set up a virtual open university, and subsequently bringing in key people and the funds needed to translate that vision into reality.
“He was determined to make higher education more readily accessible and affordable to more Malaysians. He wanted to add value to the lives of working Malaysians by offering them an opportunity to obtain a higher degree or qualification, irrespective of gender, race, religion and socio-economic background. His approach was to make the ‘pie’ bigger rather than forcing the population to fight for a smaller piece of the pie,” added Prof Ho.
He said that Tun Dr Lim wanted WOU to become self-supporting within 10 years and that the University is trying its best to meet this target. Prof Ho continued that the late Chancellor “made it very clear from the beginning that although the Wawasan Education Foundation (WEF) and Parti Gerakan own the University, neither the Party nor the Foundation will interfere with the day to day operations of the University especially with regard to academic affairs”.
Prof Ho concluded his speech by expressing the University’s and his personal gratitude to Tun Dr Lim for his life and deeds.
Former Secretary-General of the Ministry of Primary Industries, Dato’ Haron Siraj, then took to the stage to share that Tun Dr Lim, with whom he worked for seven years, was a caring boss who fought for issues under his responsibility.
This was followed by a brief video-clip on Tun Dr Lim, which brought many in the audience to tears. The video captured him performing his many roles and carried notable sound bites from his speeches, and ended with his duet of the song ‘Only You’ with his wife.
Meanwhile Parti Gerakan President and WOU Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon recounted his first meeting with Tun Dr Lim while a university student in 1972. He went on to state what a selfless and no-nonsense leader Tun Dr Lim was. He said words were not enough to describe the sense of loss, sorrow, but at the same time, gratitude, felt by the Party, University and the country. “We were given a true Malaysian, a great leader with a big heart.” He called everyone to emulate Tun Dr Lim’s “spirit of sacrifice, spirit of commitment and his spirit of working with the people”.
Datuk Lim Si Pin said his late father wanted to be remembered as a true Malaysian, and was always concerned over party matters and WOU. Tun Dr Lim, he said, had the philosophy of “putting others first, putting himself last”. He shared that his father was motivated to set up WOU as he had faced financial difficulties towards the final years of his university education in Belfast. He declared, “My dad had high hopes for Dr Koh to carry on his work at WOU. He always wanted WEF and WOU to work together.”
The event concluded with the unveiling of the painting of the late Tun Dr Lim as Chancellor and the unveiling of the plaque to signify the renaming of Dewan Wawasan as Dewan Wawasan Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik.
A photo exhibition of Tun Dr Lim from his early days until his demise was held at the event hall to give a better glimpse into his life.
Besides Toh Puan Wong Yoon Chuan and the family of Tun Dr Lim, the other attendees were WEF Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap, members of WOU’s Board Governors, Mr Loo Choo Teng and Dato’ Dr Freezailah Che Yeom, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Operations) Dr Seah Soo Aun, and members of Parti Gerakan