The Late Honourable Chief Justice (Rtd.) Yong Pung How
The Late Honourable Chief Justice (Rtd.) Yong Pung How will always be remembered as the formidable chief justice who always looked out for those with less power and money, and made sure lawyers were on their toes and thinking on their feet. He shook the Singapore Bar out of its lethargy and left behind a legacy that of a modernised judicial system.
He was not only an illustrious and outstanding public servant, but an ardent champion of education and a generous benefactor to the National University of Singapore. A humble man, Chief Justice Yong once said in an interview that his ‘finest hour’ was the day he married his wife, and that even after 5 decades, he still considers her his best friend.
“To stay happily married with a good reputation and a close-knit family must be one of anybody’s happiest achievements in life, whatever the work you do.”- Chief Justice (Rtd.) Yong Pung How, 2004.
Chief Justice Yong read law at Downing College in Cambridge University. In 1949, after the war, he continued his studies and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cambridge University and qualified as a Barrister-At-Law of London’s Inner Temple.
He then practiced criminal law as a partner at the law firm Shook Lin & Bok, of which his father was a founding partner. He left in 1955 to serve as the Chairman of the Malayan Public Services Arbitration Tribunal, and moved to the Malaysian Industrial Court. In 1964, Chief Justice Yong established the Singapore branch of Messrs Shook Lin & Bok. That year, he also became the Chairman of Malayan Airways. He then assumed the role of the Vice- Chairman of Malayan Banking Berhad.
Following riots in Malaysia in 1969, Chief Justice Yong migrated to Singapore with his family. In 1971, he left the legal world to join OCBC as a director and eventually became the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the organisation.
After nearly two decades away from the law, Chief Justice Yong returned to law and was appointed Supreme Court judge in 1989. Just over a year later, he was appointed as the Chief Justice. His innovating ideas and forward-thinking measures, transformed the Singapore legal system into one of the best in the world.
Chief Justice Yong was also actively involved with the Malaysian Institute of Management since its early years. The National Institute of Management was officially formed on the 29th of January 1966, in response to the growing need for more managers to underwrite the nation’s development. In October of 1966, the Institute organised a one-day seminar on the Companies Act at which Chief Justice Yong was a speaker.
Dr. Tarcicius Chin, Former MIM Chairman (1989-1991) and Court of Emeritus Fellows has fond memories of Chief Justice Yong and said, “During the early days of MIM, many members of MIM contributed directly to the functioning of the Institute, and Yong Pung How contributed by giving talks at tea meetings.” “He and his fellow representative from the private sector contributed much time and professional expertise to support the fledging national management organisation,” he added.
In 1968, Chief Justice Yong became the Vice President of MIM alongside YABhg Mulia Raja Tun Mohar Raja Badiozaman. He continued for another term with Y.M. Raja Tan Sri Ir. Zainal bin Raja Sulaiman and was elected into the Court of Emeritus Fellows on the 28th of March 1975.
Former Chief Justice Yong Pung How passed away on the 9th of January 2020. He was 93. His passion and contributions towards the Institute will never be forgotten and will continue to be part of our history.
Allahyarham Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman
Allahyarham Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman left behind a legacy, one that will forever be etched in the history of our national carrier. As CEO and the first managing director of Malaysian Airlines, his approach was to serve, making him an integral icon of the corporate world. Described as mild-mannered and polite, he was well liked as he treated others around him with the utmost respect and consideration.
He was an active member of civil society groups and amongst others worked towards the sustainable town planning of Kuala Lumpur as the chairman of the Save Kuala Lumpur Coalition. In an interview in 2014, Tan Sri Aziz stated that the proudest achievement of his life was helping turn MAS from something very small, into a global, award-winning, international airline.
“Civil aviation is close to my heart till this day. I reckon it is a God-given talent. I don’t think there is anyone alive today who specialises in this. You may say that I know it like the palm of my hand,” said Tan Sri Abdul Aziz about his love for MAS.
Tan Sri Abdul Aziz grew up during the Japanese occupation, and attributes his success to the discipline and diligence emphasised by the Japanese.
Qualified with a Barrister-at-Law from Lincoln’s Inn, London, he joined the civil service as an administrative officer and later became a magistrate and sessions court president. The racial riots in 1969, saw Tan Sri Abdul Aziz appointed as the Legal Counsel and Legal Officer of the National Operations Council, where he played a vital role in drafting laws to protect the nation against incidences such as May 13th. He left the service after 15 years and moved to a role to help in creating Malaysia’s own airlines as Malaysia and Singapore split.
Tan Sri Abdul Aziz became the company secretary for Malaysia Airlines in 1971, having been appointed by the then Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein himself. His hard work and dedication, made him the legal affairs director and eventually the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the airlines.
He took the national airlines to great heights, helping it soar not only in profits, but international accolades for its achievements in its inflight service. During his tenure, the company saw the immense growth of passenger traffic, aircraft number and routes. It wasn’t as easy feat, as the airline had suffered a RM39 million deficit and was in dire need of a RM70 million rolling fund. Tan Sri retired in 1991, leaving Malaysia Airlines with a surplus of RM5 billion in cash.
A lawyer by qualification, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz donned on his robes and continued his passion in law after retirement.
A highly respected corporate figure, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz became the Court of Emeritus Fellow of the Malaysian Institute of Management on the 10th of July 1987. Former MIM Chairman (1989-1991) and Court of Emeritus Fellow, Dr. Tarcisius Chin, recalls how Tan Sri Abdul Aziz took his role as Fellow seriously and despite his busy schedule, constantly made the effort to attend the quarterly Court of Fellows meetings held at the Management House in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
In the 1990s, MIM became the apex centre for the training and development of managers and executives, offering international academic degrees in collaboration with the University of Bath, England; Maastricht University, Netherlands and RMIT University in Australia. According to Dr. Tarcisius Chin, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz took keen interest in the progress of these programmes and assisted in the continuing development of the Institute.
Tan Sri Dr. Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman passed away on the 22nd of January 2020 from cancer complications. The Malaysian Institute of Management mourns the loss of a distinguished figure. His contributions towards the institution will always be remembered.