Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chan Sze Jin, death 26 September 1948, Singapore

Mr Chan Sze Jin, a distinguised Straits-born Chinese lawyer and former member of the Executive and Legislative Councils, died at his home in Emerald Hill Road, last night, aged 62. Generally known as Mr S. J. Chan he held the rank of C.M.G. He had been in failing health for about two months.  Up to that time he had been actively engaged in his professional duties. Born in Singapore in 1886, he received his early education at Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur and the Free School, Penang. He was the eldest of three sons of Mr Chan Fook Nyan who after leaving China iin his boyhood, went to Sarawak and then to Kuala Lumpur where he entered Government service. His two brothers were Dr. Chan Sze Pong and the late Mr Chan Sze Onn founder of the firm of Chan Sze Onn and Company, company secretaries. Mr Chan won the F.M.S. Queen's scholarship in 1904 and left for England to join Downing College, Cambridge. In 1907 he took the B.A. and LL.B. in the Law Tripos. He went to London in the following year and, after joining Gray's Inn, was called to the Bar in 1910. Mr Chan was a partner in the firm of Chan, Laycock and Ong. He was appointed a member of the Executive Council in September 1935 and was reappointed for a further term but owing to failing health was forced to resign his appointment in July 1940. He had also served before that as a member of the Legislative Council --- from 1927 to 1930. Of Mr Chan, the former Governor and High Commissioner, Sir Shenton Thomas had this to say of him: "Mr Chan has shown himself to be one of the ablest and most distinguished of the Straits Chinese, whose counsels at all times, have been invaluable to the Colonial Government. He has done great service to his community quietly and unobtrusively especially in matters relating to education and social welfare work." Sir Shenton paid these tributes to Mr Chan in 1941 when he presented him with the insignia on his appontment as a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George. Sir Shenton also paid special tribute to the large part which Mr Chan took in getting the Chinese to agree with the Minority Report of the Mui Tsai Commission. Mr Chan was the only unofficial on the committee who drafted the necessary legislation to implement it. The funeral will take place today at the Bidadari Cemetery. The cortege will leave 119 Emerald Hill Road at 4.30. [The Straits Times, 27 September 1948, Page 5]

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