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Tuesday February 5, 2008
By ROYCE CHEAH
PETALING JAYA: Datuk Richard Ho Ung Hun, former minister and MCA deputy president, died early yesterday morning after a short illness.
Ho, 81, leaves behind his wife Datin Mary Ho and children Ignatius and Cecelia.
A statement released by Maybank, where Ho served as vice-chairman for 25 years, said Ho had an illustrious career and served as an MP from 1969 to 1982.
“He was a very competent and hardworking minister who was good at what he did,” Tan Sri Michael Chen, 75, said.
Ho was appointed Deputy Road Transport Minister and subsequently Deputy Finance Minister in 1976.
In 1978, he was made Minister without Portfolio in the Prime Minister’s Department and subsequently named Labour and Manpower Minister in the same year.
Chen, who was the Housing and Local Government Minister in 1974, said Ho was held in high regard by his Cabinet colleagues.
“Apart from this, he was also a caring and patient person with a good sense of humour,” he said, adding that the last time he had met Ho was over a year ago.
In 1982, Chen and Ho also mounted a challenge for the top two posts in the MCA.
Chen took on the then MCA president Tan Sri Lee San Choon. Ho was returned unopposed as deputy president.
“He won and I lost,” Chen, who was also a former MCA deputy president, said of the partnership they had formed.
Chen said he also played a part in pulling Ho from DAP over to MCA in 1972 and said Ho never faltered in his duties to his new party after leaving DAP.
Former MCA secretary-general Tan Sri Chong Hon Nyan said he remembered Ho as no-nonsense, honest, firm in his beliefs and strict in implementation.
“He was also a very devoted family man who never really wanted to be a limelight. It was his nature to be reserved.”
Chong added that Ho was also not the type to show off his position of power and was valued as a colleague in both the MCA and the Cabinet.
Maybank chairman Tan Sri Mohamed Basir Ahmad said everyone was greatly saddened by the loss.
“Personally, I have lost a dear friend and colleague, one who never failed to provide guidance, support and counsel whenever approached.”
Before entering politics, Ho worked as a teacher, High Court interpreter and officer in the Malacca Straits Settlement.
He then went into law, graduating in 1961, and had a private practice until he was elected MP for Sitiawan in 1969 as a DAP candidate.
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