Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dato’ Siew Nim Chee(1923-2008)

Dato’ Siew Nim Chee(1923-2008)

To thousands of Victorians, Dato’ Siew occupies a special place in their memory. The ever generous benefactor, he has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars towards different school projects such as helping the Band fund its overseas trips, contributing towards developing the school library and also underwriting the magnum opus of V.I. history, "Victoria Institution, The First Century: 1893-1993" written by Mr John Doraisamy. Dato’ Siew was a student of the V.I. before the Second World War, but his tenure was interrupted by the Japanese Occupation and he only finished his studies after the war and left the school in 1947. He was a member of the Second Selangor Group (the Victorian 1940 notes he was a member of Lion patrol). Dato’ Siew graduated from the University of Malaya with a Bachelor of Arts (1950) and Bachelor of Economics (1951) and then joined Cornell University in the USA where he graduated with a Masters in Industrial Relations. He became a lecturer and Head of Department of Economics at the University of Malaya in 1957 and later joined Bank Negara. At Bank Negara, he was eventually promoted to the post of Head of the Economic Research Department. Now retired from Bank Negara, he still manages his own company. As well, he has served as president of the V.I.O.B.A. from 1989 to 1993, and was a member of the V.I. Centenary Celebrations Executive Committee. Presently, he is the patron of the V.I.O.B.A.

Datuk Siew Nim Chee

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Siew Nim Chee, a prominent academic, civil servant and corporate figure, who held positions in Esso Malaysia Bhd, Magnum Corp Bhd and Genting Bhd, passed away on Sunday at the age of 86 after a short illness.

He leaves behind wife Lim Cheng Yoke, three children – Datuk Siew Ka Wei, Siew Foong Khwan and Siew Ka Keong – and two grandchildren.

In his time, Siew, who was born in a village on the outskirts of Guangzhou, China, was the first Malayan to enrol in Cornell University, where he obtained a postgraduate degree in industrial relations in 1953, after obtaining degrees in arts and economics from University of Malaya at Singapore.

Siew was an assistant lecturer at the Department of Economics, Universiti Malaya, in the 1950s and rose to head the department until 1959.

He returned to the fledgling nation of Malaya then and became an economist and later headed Bank Negara's Department of Economic Research.

Siew was a founder of the Persatuan Ekonomi Malaysia and held various positions in it between 1962 and 1987.

His involvement with the corporate sector began in 1965 when he was appointed treasurer of Esso Malaysia.

From 1969 to the late 1970s, Siew held various positions in Magnum and was an advisor/consultant to Genting until 1985.

He was named Victorian of the Year by his alma mater, Victoria Institution, in 2002.


Dato' Siew Nim Chee, the first Malaysian to get into Cornell, passed away peacefully on 3rd February 2008

Dato' Siew has also endowed The Milton L. Barnett Scholarship Endowment to promote Malaysian studies at Cornell, the endowment provides support for Cornell students, either Malaysians enrolled in Southeast Asian Studies or other students whose focus is on Malaysia. A portion of this fund is also used to purchase books related to Malaysia.

Related websites/articles

The Milton L. Barnett Scholarship Endowment
2. Siew Nim Chee dies at 86, The Star,
3. The Reminiscences of Dato' Siew Nim Chee; Victoria Institution;

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