Hundreds bid final farewell to Singapore Old Guard leader Othman Wok

The casket of Othman Wok arrives at Sultan Mosque. Photo: Safhras Khan

Dark skies and a heavy downpour marked the final journey of first-generation Singapore leader Othman Wok, who was accorded a state-assisted funeral on Tuesday (18 April).

The main prayer hall of the Sultan Mosque was packed during the final prayer session for Othman, led by Mufti of Singapore Dr Fatris Bakaram. Those present included Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, ministers Yaacob Ibrahim and Masagos Zulkifli, former Members of Parliament, community leaders and members of the public.

Hundreds of attendees started pouring into the mosque from as early as 10a.m., some three hours before the prayer session started. Among those  present was driver Saharuden Mohamad, 58, who came to the mosque on his day off.

Saharduen said, “I will remember him for all that he’s done for not only the Malay community but also for Singaporeans. As one of the pioneers of Singapore cabinet he played an important role in nation building.”

 

Othman, the only Malay minister in independent Singapore’s first cabinet, died on Monday at the age of 92. He was also one of the 10 men who signed the Independence of Singapore Agreement.

Various leaders in Singapore have paid fulsome tribute to Othman, with PM Lee praising him as “one of the multi-racial team of founding leaders who built Singapore”.

The heavens opened up as Othman’s casket was brought out from the main prayer hall to the main compound of the mosque, where the state flag was placed over it.

Friends and family members accompanied the casket to a waiting gun carriage, which wound its way through various locations in Singapore, before heading to the burial site at Choa Chu Kang Muslim Cemetery.