Ahmad bin Ibrahim

by _People:Cornelius, Vernon

Ahmad bin Ibrahim (b. 1927, Penang–d. 21 August 1962, Singapore) was a unionist, Malay political leader, elected member of the 1955 Legislative Assembly and the minister for health in the first cabinet of the People’s Action Party (PAP) government in 1959. He died on 21 August 1962 while serving as the minister for labour, at the age of 35.1

Life and career
Born in Penang, Ahmad was educated at the Penang Free School. In 1955, he stood as an independent candidate in Singapore’s Legislative Assembly general election. He won the election and became the assemblyman for Sembawang.2

A former first branch secretary of the All-Singapore Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and vice-chairman of the Naval Base Labour Union, Ahmad was co-opted into the PAP Central Executive Committee in 1956. Under the PAP banner in the 1959 general election, he was re-elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly. When the PAP government formed its first cabinet that year, Ahmad served in the first cabinet as the minister for health, and was also appointed as the assistant secretary-general of the PAP’s Central Executive Committee. During a September 1961 cabinet reshuffle, Ahmad was appointed the minister for labour.3

On 21 August 1962, Ahmad died at the Singapore General Hospital after a prolonged illness while serving as the minister for labour. He was 35. He was accorded a state funeral, attended by Singapore’s Head of State Yusof IshakPrime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, other cabinet ministers, and thousands of people who paid respects at his home and the lying-in-state ceremony in the main hall of the Istana. As a mark of respect, all government offices closed at noon that day.4

In memory of Ahmad, a road in Jurong (Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim), two schools (Ahmad Ibrahim Primary and Secondary schools), as well as a mosque in Yishun (Masjid Ahmad Ibrahim), have been named after him.5

Vernon Cornelius

1. Jackie Sam, “Minister Ahmad Ibrahim Dies, 35,” Straits Times, 22 August 1962, 1 (From NewspaperSG); “Singapore Days of Old,” (Hong Kong: Illustrated Magazine, 1992), 183 (Call no. RSING 959.57 SIN-[HIS]); K. C. Vijayan, “Ahmad Ibrahim Was an Alumnus,” Straits Times, 16 October 2016, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
2. Sam, “Minister Ahmad Ibrahim Dies, 35”; Singapore Days of Old,” 183; Vijayan, “Ahmad Ibrahim Was an Alumnus.”
3. Sam, “Minister Ahmad Ibrahim Dies, 35”; Singapore Days of Old,” 183.
4. Sam, “Minister Ahmad Ibrahim Dies, 35.”
5. Vijayan, “Ahmad Ibrahim Was an Alumnus.”

The information in this article is valid as at April 2018 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the library for further reading materials on the topic.


Ahmad Ibrahim, 1927-1962