PENANG’S social and charity scene has lost an illustrious figure with the passing of lawyer and philanthropist Datuk Seri Khoo Keat Siew, says Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
He said Khoo was a prominent community leader in Penang, who originated from the famous Khoo clan.
“He was active in welfare and charity works and had a heart for the needy people.
“Through the Penang State Chinese Association, he was also actively promoting Peranakan culture and a prominent member of the multi-ethnic Majlis Perundingan Muhibbah.
“Penang has lost an illustrious son. I have sent my heartfelt condolences to the family,” he said.
Khoo, 91, died of natural causes at his house in Pulau Tikus on June 10.
Fondly known as Baba Khoo for his proud heritage of Peranakan roots, Khoo studied law at University of Bristol in the UK before being called to the Bar in 1957.
He married Daisy Yeow, now 81, and they have three sons.
He was also responsible for setting up Befrienders in Penang in 1978 when the state was in the midst of becoming the nation’s industrial powerhouse.
In the same year, he and Toh Puan Saadiah Sardon, the consort of former Penang governor Tun Sardon Jubir, started Cheshire Home together, to help rehabilitate the disabled.
Khoo led the Straits Chinese Association and was responsible in keeping alive the “dondang sayang” and the Baba and Nyonya culture in Penang.
He was also former president of Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi and former chairman of the Kong Hock Keong board of trustees.
He received the Tokoh Kebajikan Kebangsaan award in 1988 and the state-level Tokoh Warga Tua in 1996 for his contributions to society. — By IMRAN HILMY