Prominent Terengganu architect killed in Pahang car crash


KUALA TERENGGANU: Prominent Terengganu-born architect Datuk Maurice Wee Beng Teck died in an accident at KM 11 Jalan Kuala Lipis-Merapoh in Pahang on Sunday.

Kuala Lipis police chief Supterintendent Azry Akmar Ayob said Wee, 72, was travelling with his driver as well as a female accounts executive for official duties in Kota Baru, Kelantan.

It is learnt that his Volvo XC60 sports utility vehicle (SUV) went out of control, ran over a drain and crashed on the left road shoulder in the accident at 7.15am.

Wee died at the scene, while the driver and woman escaped with minor injuries, said Azry.

A team of firemen were summoned to the scene to remove Wee’s remains and send the injured to hospital.

Wee’s body was sent to the Kuala Lipis Hospital for post-mortem before being claimed earlier tonight (Monday) by his family members who flew in from Sydney, Australia where they are living.

A wake service is being planned at the Nirvana Memorial Centre in Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur.

Wee is survived by wife Toh Puan Ooi Guat Im, son Alex, 44, and daughters Virginia, 41, and Grace, 32.

Wee’s son Alex, 44, said his father flew in from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney for the family reunion during Chinese New Year last month.

“He regularly kept in touch with us via telephone, despite his heavy work schedule. We will all miss him very dearly,” said Alex.

Alex added that Wee, an architect since the early 1970s, had established his firm Kumpulan Perunding (1988) Sdn Bhd with its head office at the Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park in Kuchai Lama, Kuala Lumpur and had branches in Kuala Terengganu and central Kuala Lumpur.

Wee is also a council member of the Malaysian Institute of Architects (Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia) and regularly conducts motivational presentations for representatives of architect firms, local authorities and agencies.

Just two months ago, Wee was instrumental in urging fellow architects in the east coast peninsula states to regroup themselves so as not to lose billions of ringgit in business opportunities without a united front to represent their interests.

Wee had called on architects in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang to form a charter, without which they would remain inconspicuous and unsuccessful when it came to securing mega contracts like the forthcoming East Coast Rail Link.

He cited how architects in Terengganu had lost out in securing deals to build the royal palace, Istana Syarqiyyah in Bukit Chendering, reportedly to Bill Bensley’s Thailand-based company for about RM1 billion.

More recently, Bina Puri Holdings Bhd reportedly won the bid to build the estimated RM400 million five-star Movenpick Spa Resort in Chendering beach by late next year. He said a Singapore architect was involved in the hotel project. Wee said most mega projects were grabbed either by firms in the Klang Valley or from abroad owing to their better track record.