MICHAEL Fam was a "rare and selfless individual, who contributed much to Singapore", Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his Facebook on Monday.
Mr Lee said that Dr Fam, who died on Saturday at 87, was a successful businessman who held leadership positions in companies such as the F&N Group, Asia-Pacific Breweries, SIA, Temasek Holdings, OCBC Bank and SPH.
"But he also had the energy and commitment to do an enormous amount of public service," Mr Lee wrote.
"I was saddened to hear of Dr Fam's passing over the weekend. He embodied what it means to give back to society, to make lives better for all. I extend my deepest condolences to his wife Dulcie and his family."
Dr Fam chaired the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation when it was formed in 1983 to build Singapore's first MRT lines. The team completed the North-South and East-West Lines well within budget, two years ahead of schedule. Dr Fam was also chairman of the HDB from 1975 to 1983.
"Amidst a construction boom, contractors were reluctant to bid for HDB projects. But thanks to Dr Fam's guidance, the HDB introduced pre-fabrication and mass production techniques, and got the housing programme back on track," Mr Lee said.
Dr Fam also sat on the Council of Presidential Advisers for many years and was also the founding chairman of the Nanyang Technological Institute, now NTU.
In his latest blog entry titled "More than a builder of flats, he raised building productivity", Minister for National Development, Khaw Boon Wan, also paid tribute to Dr Fam's contributions to public housing.
"Under Dr Fam's leadership, public housing doubled its stock from 200,000 units of flats (in 1975) to 400,000 units (in early 1980s). Many of the flats in Bt Batok, Clementi, Hougang, Jurong, Tampines and Yishun were built during his term of leadership."
"For new precincts, Dr Fam steered HDB to improve its planning and design concepts, achieving high design standards comparable to private homes. For old estates, Dr Fam helped HDB to upgrade their general living environment," Mr Khaw said.