Published on 09 Jul 2023

Tribute to Emeritus Professor Lim Chong Yah

NTU Singapore pays tribute to Emeritus Professor Lim Chong Yah, a renowned economist and educator, who has left an indelible mark on Singapore and its economic landscape.

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) pays tribute to Emeritus Professor Lim Chong Yah who passed away on 8 July 2023 at age 91.

Prof Lim holds the rare distinction of being professor emeritus at both NTU and the National University of Singapore. At NTU, Prof Lim made several important contributions. He chaired a university-wide committee on “Remaking of the University”, the Nanyang Business School’s 21st Century Vision Committee, as well as the committee that introduced economics as an honours degree major.

He was the inaugural Albert Winsemius Chair Professor at the School of Social Sciences, laying the foundations for scholarly excellence and intellectual rigour at the economics department. He was also a prolific scholar with 160 refereed journal articles, monographs and books. Two of his books have been used in Singapore as A-Level economics textbooks, benefitting generations of students.

An eminent economist, Prof Lim played a pivotal role as founding chairman of the National Wages Council (1972-2001) and founding chairman of the Skills Development Fund Advisory Council (1979-1982). He led the National Wages Council with remarkable foresight and innovative thinking during Singapore's foundational years, helping to transform the nation’s economy from a labour-intensive one into a knowledge-based one.

For his outstanding contributions to Singapore's economic and national development, the government conferred on him three awards: the Public Service Star in 1976, the Meritorious Service Medal in 1983, and the Distinguished Service Order in 2000. He also received three awards from Singapore’s National Trade Unions Congress, in 1985, 1999, and 2011.

Prof Lim’s national and academic accomplishments are prodigious. But his commitment to helping others stands out as one of his most enduring legacies. The Professor Lim Chong Yah Bursary Fund was established in 2007 for needy students at NTU, and in 2009, Prof Lim personally contributed S$100,000 and it attracted public donations as well. To date, the Bursary Fund has supported over 200 student recipients.

In May this year, the university launched the Professor Lim Chong Yah Reading Room in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, honouring him for his academic contributions and significant achievements. The reading room is home to the Lim Chong Yah collection, a specially curated selection of books and personal memorabilia generously donated by Prof Lim. Through his works and contributions, his legacy will continue to inspire future generations.

The OneNTU family expresses its sincere condolences to the family of Emeritus Professor Lim Chong Yah.