Obituary: Kok Kwong Kwek, chair of the Singapore National Cooperative Federation

'We remember him as someone who commanded respect and friendships, across countries and through different age groups'

Leading Singaporean co-operator Kok Kwong Kwek passed away unexpectedly on 14 November at the age of 53.

Mr Kwek, who is survived by his wife and two children, was chair of the Singapore National Cooperative Federation (SNCF) and chief executive of NTUC Learning Hub Co-operative. He served on the ICA Asia-Pacific Regional Board and Global Board.

He had been leading NTUC Learning Hub Co-operative, Singapore’s largest education and training co-operative, since February 2013, where he made Learning Hub into a leading training organisation and co-operative in Singapore, training more than 10,000 workers per month in areas including trade skills, soft skills, IT, safety and health, so that they remain relevant to market needs.

He joined NTUC after having served with distinction in the Singapore armed forces. He also had a degree in mathematics and public administration and was a certified neuro-linguistic programming practitioner.

Numerous colleagues have paid tribute, including ICA president Ariel Guarco and director general Bruno Roelants. They said: “The sudden passing away of Kok Kwong Kwek plunged us into a state of stunned astonishment and deep sadness. We saw him last during the online meeting of the ICA board on 10 November, where he was his usual bright and humorous self. Kok Kwong Kwek was a thoughtful person and spoke with caution. He always made sensible and vital observations, with a sense of utmost responsibility towards the global co-operative movement.

“A man of humility and deeply attentive to others, we remember him as someone who commanded respect and friendships, across countries and through different age-groups in the ICA family and beyond. He was quite simply an intelligent, pleasant and honourable person with a focus on technology and developing young leaders and managers. 

“We at the ICA are all touched by his sudden passing. He will long be remembered with respect and gratitude.”

Li Chunsheng, president of ICA Asia and Pacific, said: “We at ICA-AP and ACFSMC are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of a dedicated co-operative warrior and a dear friend. I last heard Mr Kwek congratulating through a video message on the 60th anniversary of ICA-AP just a few days back, bright and confident as he has always been. 

“He was a constant presence at the forefront of the co-operative movement in the region, with a passionate devotion to technology and the empowerment of young co-operators. Beyond his professionalism and strong commitment, Mr Kwek was a humble and kind person, always attentive, supportive and pleasant. His passing will be a great loss not only for the co-operative movement in Singapore, but also for ICA-AP as a whole.”

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