Khoo Keat Siew will be missed for his charitable ways, preserving Peranakan heritage, says ex-Penang CM

GEORGE TOWN: Lawyer and philanthropist Datuk Seri Khoo Keat Siew (pic) will be remembered and missed for his enormous heart and will to make the community a better place for everyone.

Fondly known as Baba Khoo for his proud heritage of Peranakan roots, former chief minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon remembers him as a wonderful and giving person.

"I have great respect for Baba Khoo, he contributed in various capacities to Penang.

"His work in sustaining the Nyonya Baba culture and his charitable work has helped many.

"He has helped to sustain the culture, keeping alive the ‘dondang sayang' over the years.

"He set up Befrienders here in Penang which was not easy and commendable of him to think of others," he said when met at Khoo's funeral held at his house in Codrington Avenue here in George Town.

Khoo passed away due to natural causes at his house in Pulau Tikus on Thursday (June 10) morning at the age of 91.

During the small funeral service, immediate family members were seen paying their last respects to a man remembered for his warmth and charitable endeavours.

His second son, lawyer Alex Khoo, 48, said his father was one of a kind.

"The things he did cannot be replicated, he ran his legal firm and made time for temples and charities.

"He travelled all over to meet people and led a fulfilling life through his contributions to society.

"That was what gave him his energy and made up most of his life," he said.

Alex said at home he was a caring father who always inquired about his three sons.

"He was a caring husband and enjoyed a few hobbies like gardening. He loved dogs as well and cared for them dearly.

"His footsteps are hard to follow as he made time for so many different things.

"My father was a passionate man and cared deeply for society," he said.

Alex said they were grateful for the outpouring of love and kind words extended by all those who knew him.

"The many societies, temples and associations he was a part of, have reached out.

"He was not unwell and just had a common cold, we did not expect to lose him and will miss him dearly," he said.

Baba Khoo studied law at the University of Bristol in Britain before being called to the Bar in 1957.

He married Daisy Yeow, 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 started the Cheshire Home to help rehabilitate the disabled, together with Toh Puan Saadiah Sardon who was the consort of former Penang Governor Tun Sardon Jubir.

Khoo led the Straits Chinese Association and was responsible for 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 was presented with the Tokoh Kebajikan Kebangsaan award in 1988 and the state-level Tokoh Warga Tua in 1996 for his contributions to society.

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