KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has praised former health minister Chua Jui Meng for his strength and character when joining PKR, describing him as a “man of steel”.
Describing him as an “extremely effective” health minister, Anwar, who is also the PKR president, said Chua was a “champion for reform and democracy” in Malaysia.
Chua, who died on Sunday at the age of 80, was a former Johor PKR chief and PKR Supreme Council member.
He helmed the health ministry from 1995 to 2004, making him Malaysia’s longest-serving health minister.
Chua had been in MCA for 35 years before he joined PKR in 2009, citing, among others, a loss of confidence in the MCA leadership led by former president Ong Tee Keat and the sudden “mysterious” death of DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) watch.
“Chua is a dear friend, and I have known him for four decades since we were in Barisan Nasional (BN),” said Anwar when met at Chua’s wake here.
“When he joined us (PKR), it was a very difficult, turbulent period, and he showed his dedication as a man of steel.
“(He) fought for the reform cause very hard, and we became very close colleagues and friends throughout the years until his retirement from politics.”
Chua last contested in the 2013 general election (GE13), losing the battle for the Segamat parliamentary seat to then MIC president and the seat’s incumbent, Dr S Subramaniam, by 1,217 votes.
His wake is being held for two days at the Full Gospel Assembly here, and members of the public can pay their final respects from 3pm to 7pm.
Chua will be laid to rest at the Nirvana Memorial Park in Shah Alam at about 10am on Thursday.
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