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Yong Shook Lin



Born in 1898 in Kuala Lumpur, his father, Yong Ngee Chai, was one of the pioneer tin miners of Selangor later acquired interests in rubber and property. Their family home was one of the shophouses in Pudu. Shook Lin was educated at the Victoria Institution and after obtaining his Cambridge Senior in 1912, proceeded to England for further studies earning his law degree from Cambridge. He returned to Kuala Lumpur and was called to the Bar in 1918.

Apart from practising law, Shook Lin was very active in public affairs and was a member of the Federal Legislative Council, serving in its Executive Council both before and after the War. It was during the post-war period that he devoted his time unsparingly to the service of the law and the State. He entered the political scene and established himself as a prominent figure in the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) which at that time was a component party of the governing Alliance. He was also Chairman of the Malayan Estate Owners Association and the Rubber Producers Council. He was Chairman of the Bar Council of Malaya and was conferred the C.B.E. by Queen Elizabeth II.

In recognition of his contributions to the country, Yong Shook Lin Road in Petaling Jaya, was named in his honour. After a long and distinguished career, Shook Lin passed away on the 3rd of September, 1955 at the age of 57. Yong Shook Lin with his family In reference proceedings in the court when Shook Lin passed away, the Chief Justice paid tribute to Shook Lin and said, “He was a man who was incapable of relaxing and always gave one the impression that the day was not long enough for the fulfilment of his many duties. But I shall always remember him as a friend, a person anxious and willing to assist in any task on hand and who delighted in helping others. He was, and this stands out in my mind, a very great friend of the Red Cross, and without his help and encouragement they could never have accomplished what they have in this country. Not only was he very generous in his gifts to the Society, but he also took a personal interest in all their doings and went to great trouble to entertain the workers in the field, a group of persons often forgotten.”

The Attorney General echoed the feelings and said, “He was a man who if he had wished might have led a life of ease and leisure but instead of that he chose a life of hard work and unrelenting toil, a great deal of it in the service of the people of this country…. He was a man of firm principles, when he decided that a particular course was right and proper, he followed that course with unrelenting determination and he met criticism fairly and boldly.”

[From Malayan Law Journal Vol.21 1955]

Interview with Madam Phyllis Yong Hamid Azmi, Mr. Yong Shook Lin’s daughter