Former singapore MP Phey Yew Kok sentenced to 5 years in jail
Inmates are seen behind the bars on a gate to a workshop at Sinapore's Tanah Merah Prison June 23, 2009. Reuters

Phey Yew Kok, 81-year-old former member of parliament and chairman of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), has been sentenced to five years in jail on charges including graft.

Phey, who was on the run for 35 years, was convicted of 12 charges, including criminal breach of trust, abetment of providing false evidence to a public servant, and failing to attend court when ordered to, according to Today Online.

Phey had been detained and arraigned in 1979, when he was a second-term member of the parliament and the chairman of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

Phey, a People's Action Party MP for Boon Teck, was also the general secretary of three trade unions — SILO, PIEU and the Singapore Air Transport-workers' Union.

He stood accused of embezzling more than S$455,000 from various trade unions and companies.

He was charged with four counts of criminal breach of trust involving more than S$80,000, but was released on a bail of S$100,000. However, he fled the country and never showed up for trial, spending several decades as a fugitive in Thailand.

Miserable life

On Firday, his lawyer told the court Phey "led a miserable life alone in a foreign land" and that there nothing romantic or happy about his life during that period".

"He surrendered because Singapore is his home and he wishes to spend his last days with his family instead of dying alone in a foreign land," senior counsel Chelva Rajah told Channel News Asia.

The 81-year-old is now completely blind in his right eye and suffers from severe hearing impairment, CNA reported.

Phey surrendered himself at the Singapore embassy in Bangkok in June last year and was brought back to Singapore.