Goh Keng Swee
|2nd Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore|
1 March 1973 –3 December 1984
|Prime Minister||Lee Kuan Yew|
|Preceded by||Toh Chin Chye|
|Succeeded by||S. Rajaratnam|
|Minister for Education|
12 February 1979 – 31 May 1980,
1 June 1981 – 3 December 1984
|Preceded by||Chua Sian Chin|
|Succeeded by||Tony Tan Keng Yam|
|3rd Minister for Defence|
11 August 1970 –11 February 1979
|Preceded by||Lim Kim San|
|Succeeded by||Howe Yoon Chong|
|3rd Minister for Finance|
17 August 1967 –10 August 1970
|Preceded by||Lim Kim San|
|Succeeded by||Hon Sui Sen|
|1st Minister for the Interior and Defence|
9 August 1965 –16 August 1967
|Preceded by||None (Post newly created)|
|Succeeded by||Lim Kim San|
|1st Minister for Finance|
5 June 1959 –8 August 1965
|Preceded by||None (Post newly created)|
|Succeeded by||Lim Kim San|
Robert Goh Keng Swee
6 October 1918
Malacca, Straits Settlements (now Malaysia)
|Died||14 May 2010 91) (aged|
|Political party||People's Action Party (1959-1984)|
|Spouse(s)||Alice Woon (1942–86), Dr. Phua Swee Liang (1991-2010) (his death)|
|Children||Goh Kian Chee|
|Alma mater||Anglo-Chinese School (SC), Raffles College (Dip. A.), LSE (BSc (Econ.), 1951; PhD, 1954)|
|Years of service||1939–42|
|Unit||20th People's Defence Force (Arty)|
|Goh Keng Swee|
Goh Keng Swee Robert, DUT (First Class) , (6 October 1918 – 14 May 2010) was the second Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore between 1973 and 1984, and a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Kreta Ayer constituency for a quarter of a century.
The Darjah Utama Temasek is Singapore's second most important national honour and was instituted in 1962. Its Grand Master is the President of Singapore.
Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state in Southeast Asia. It lies one degree north of the equator, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia's Riau Islands to the south and Peninsular Malaysia to the north. Singapore's territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23%. The country is known for its transition from a developing to a developed one in a single generation under the leadership of its founder Lee Kuan Yew.
Constituencies in Singapore are electoral divisions which may be represented by single or multiple seats in the Parliament of Singapore. Constituencies are classified as either Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) or Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs). SMCs are single-seat constituencies but GRCs have between four and six seats in Parliament.
Born in Malacca in the Straits Settlements into a Peranakan family, he came to Singapore at the age of two years. He was a student at Raffles College and the London School of Economics and Political Science, and his interest in politics began during his time in London, where he met fellow students seeking independence for British Malaya (which covered modern Malaysia and Singapore).
Malacca dubbed "The Historic State", is a state in Malaysia located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, next to the Strait of Malacca.
The Straits Settlements were a group of British territories located in Southeast Asia. Originally established in 1826 as part of the territories controlled by the British East India Company, the Straits Settlements came under direct British control as a Crown colony on 1 April 1867. The colony was dissolved in 1946 as part of the British reorganisation of its Southeast Asian dependencies following the end of the Second World War.
Peranakans are an ethnic group descended from Chinese settlers from the southern provinces who came to the Malay archipelago including British Malaya and Dutch East Indies and southern Thailand, primarily in Phuket and Ranong between the 15th and 17th centuries.
From 1945 onwards he worked for the Department of Social Welfare, eventually rising to become its director. In 1958 he resigned from the Civil Service to work full-time for the People's Action Party (PAP), becoming a key member and later vice-chairman of its Central Executive Committee. The following year he successfully contested the Kreta Ayer seat in the 1959 general election for the Legislative Assembly, and joined the first government of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew as Minister for Finance. Upon Singapore's independence on 9 August 1965, Goh became the nation's first Minister for the Interior and Defence. He subsequently served as Finance Minister (1967–70), Minister for Defence (1970–79) and Minister for Education (1979–80, 1981–84).
The People's Action Party is a major centre-right political party in Singapore. It was founded in 1954 as a pro-independence political party descended from an earlier student organization. It has gone on to dominate the political system of the nation.
The Legislative Assembly of the State of Singapore was the legislature of the government of Singapore from 1955 to 1965 and the predecessor of the Parliament of Singapore. The Rendel Constitution, proposed in 1953, sought to give the local population more self-governance as the Merdeka independence movement grew. This Constitution took effect upon the conclusion of the general election of 1955, creating a new Legislative Assembly to replace the Legislative Council of Singapore. In contrast to the Legislative Council, the majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly in 1955 were allotted by election rather than appointment by the colonial administration. 25 seats were elected and 7 were appointed. The colonial administration still reserved significant power, such as that of veto and control of certain aspects of government.
The Government of Singapore is defined by the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore to mean the Executive branch of government, which is made up of the President and the Cabinet of Singapore. Although the President acts in his/her personal discretion in the exercise of certain functions as a check on the Cabinet and Parliament of Singapore, his/her role is largely ceremonial. It is the Cabinet, composed of the Prime Minister and other Ministers appointed on his/her advice by the President, that generally directs and controls the Government. The Cabinet is formed by the political party that gains a simple majority in each general election.
Following his retirement from politics, Goh continued to be active in public life, serving as deputy chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (1981–94); chairman of the board of Governors of the Institute of East Asian Philosophies (1983–92) and executive chairman and chairman of the board of governors of its successor, the Institute of East Asian Political Economy (1992–95); Economic Adviser to the State Council of the People's Republic of China on coastal development and Adviser on tourism (1985); deputy chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (1985–92); chairman of the Singapore Totalisator Board (1988–94); adviser to the United Overseas Bank group (from 1993); chairman of N.M. Rothschild & Sons (Singapore) Ltd. (from 1994); and vice-chairman of Hong Leong Asia Ltd. (from 1995).
The State Council, constitutionally synonymous with the Central People's Government since 1954, is the chief administrative authority of the People's Republic of China. It is chaired by the premier and includes the heads of each of the cabinet-level executive departments. Currently, the council has 35 members: the premier, one executive vice premier, three other vice premiers, five state councilors, and 25 additional ministers and chairs of major agencies. In the politics of the People's Republic of China, the Central People's Government forms one of three interlocking branches of power, the others being the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation Army. The State Council directly oversees the various subordinate People's Governments in the provinces, and in practice maintains membership with the top levels of the Communist Party of China.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore is Singapore's central bank and financial regulatory authority. It administers the various statutes pertaining to money, banking, insurance, securities and the financial sector in general, as well as currency issuance. The acronym is a play on words, as "mas" means "gold" in Malay.
United Overseas Bank Limited is a Singaporean multinational banking organisation headquartered in Singapore, with branches mostly found in most Southeast Asian countries. Founded in 1935 as United Chinese Bank (UCB) by Sarawak businessman Wee Kheng Chiang, the bank was set up together with a group of Chinese-born businessmen. The bank is the third largest bank in South East Asia by total assets.
In 1972, Goh was the recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Services, and was conferred the Order of Sikatuna by the Philippine Government. Following his retirement from politics, in 1985 Goh was awarded the Darjah Utama Temasek (Order of Temasek), First Class, Singapore's highest civilian honour. He was also made the first Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Development Board Society in 1991.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award is an annual award established to perpetuate former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay's example of integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society. The prize was established in April 1957 by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York City with the concurrence of the Philippine government. The award is internationally-recognized as Asia's Nobel Prize counterpart and is the highest award given to Asian individuals and organizations.
The Order of Sikatuna is the national order of diplomatic merit of the Republic of the Philippines. It is conferred upon individuals who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services to the Republic of the Philippines, upon diplomats, officials and nationals of foreign states who have rendered conspicuous services in fostering, developing and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines, or upon personnel of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), both in the Home Office and in the Foreign Service.
The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila. Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east, and Malaysia and Indonesia to the south.
Goh was diagnosed with bladder cancer in September 1983 and he retired from politics in December 1984. He kept a low profile but remained active with various organisations where he served on the board or as an adviser. After he married Phua Swee Liang in 1991, the couple travelled widely to places such as Australia and Hawaii. However, a series of strokes in the late 1990s and early 2000s took a heavy toll on him. He was bedridden in his final years and died on 14 May 2010.
Goh Keng Swee was born in Malacca in the Straits Settlements on 6 October 1918into a middle-income Peranakan family, the fifth of six children. His father Goh Leng Inn was a manager of a rubber plantation, while his mother Tan Swee Eng was from the family that produced the Malaysian politicians Tun Tan Cheng Lock and his son, Tun Tan Siew Sin, who would later become Goh's lifelong political opponent.
Tun Dato' Tan Cheng Lock was a Chinese Malaysian businessman and a key public figure who devoted his life to fighting for the rights and the social welfare of the Chinese community in Malaya. Tan was also the founder and the first president of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA), which advocated his cause for the Malaysian Chinese population.
Tun Tan Siew Sin was a Malayan politician who was the first Minister of Commerce and Industry, Finance Minister for 15 years, and third president of the Malayan Chinese Association, a major component party of Alliance and later National Front (BN) coalition.
Goh was given the Christian name Robert, which he disliked and refused to respond to. When he was two years old, his family moved from Malacca to Singapore where his maternal grandparents owned several properties. The Gohs later relocated to the Pasir Panjang rubber estate when his father found work there, and became manager in 1933. In common with many Peranakan families, the Gohs spoke both English and Malay at home; church services were held at home on Sundays in Malay.Goh's father Leng Inn and the latter's brothers-in-law Chew Cheng Yong and Goh Hood Keng taught in the Anglo-Chinese School for various periods, and were also involved in the Middle Road Baba Church while Hood Keng was pastor there. Goh himself attended this church as well.
After studying at the Anglo-Chinese Primary School and the Anglo-Chinese Secondary School :吳建志; pinyin :Wú Jiànzhì), two years later. In 1945 he relocated his young family to Malacca, but they returned to Singapore the following year after the Japanese occupation ended. That year, he joined the Department of Social Welfare, and was active in post-war administration. He became supervisor of the Department's Research Section six months later.between 1927 and 1936 where he was second in his class in the Senior Cambridge Examinations, Goh went on to graduate from Raffles College in 1939 with a Class II Diploma in Arts with a special distinction in economics. He then joined the colonial Civil Service as a tax collector with the War Tax Department but, according to his superiors, was not very good at his job and was almost fired. Shortly after the start of World War II, he joined the Singapore Volunteer Corps, a local militia, but returned to his previous work after the fall of Singapore. Goh married Alice Woon, a secretary who was a colleague, in 1942 and they had their only child, Goh Kian Chee (Chinese
Goh won a scholarship which enabled him to further his studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). During his time in London, Goh met fellow students seeking independence for British Malaya, including Abdul Razak (later Malaysia's second Prime Minister), Maurice Baker (subsequently Singapore's High Commissioner to Malaysia), Lee Kuan Yew and Toh Chin Chye. A student discussion group, the Malayan Forum, was organised in 1948 with Goh as the founding chairman.Goh graduated with first class honours in economics in 1951, and won the William Farr Prize for achieving the highest marks in statistics. Upon his return to the Department of Social Welfare, he was appointed assistant secretary of its Research Section. In 1952, together with fellow civil servant Kenneth Michael Byrne, he formed the Council of Joint Action to lobby against salary and promotion policies that favoured Europeans over Asians. Byrne later became self-governing Singapore's first Minister for Labour and Minister for Law.
In 1954, Goh was able to return to LSE for doctoral studies with the help of a University of London scholarship. He completed his PhD in Economics in 1956,and returned to the Department of Social Welfare, where he served as assistant director and then director. In 1958 he was made director of the Social and Economic Research Division in the Chief Minister's Office. He resigned from the civil service in August that year to work full-time for the People's Action Party (PAP).
Goh was a key member of the PAP's Central Executive Committee, and later became its vice-chairman. Goh successfully contested the Kreta Ayer seat in the 1959 general election, was elected to the Legislative Assembly on 30 May, ... will be the ultimate mistake."and joined the first government of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew as Minister for Finance. In this role, he assumed stewardship of Singapore's economy. As a budget deficit of S$14 million was forecast that year, he introduced stringent fiscal discipline which including cutting civil service salaries. As a result of these measures, he was able to announce at the end of the year when delivering the budget that the Government had achieved a surplus of $1 million. He initiated the setting up of the Economic Development Board which was established in August 1961 to attract foreign multinational corporations to invest in Singapore. The next year, he started the development of the Jurong industrial estate on the western end of the island which was then a swamp, offering incentives to local and foreign business to locate there. According to former Permanent Secretary Sim Kee Boon, Goh admitted that the Jurong project was "an act of faith and he himself jokingly said that this could prove to be Goh's folly". Nonetheless, Goh also felt strongly that "the only way to avoid making mistakes is not to do anything. And that
In the 1960s, there were great pressures from communist agitators working through Chinese-medium schools and trade unions. Divisions existed within the PAP as well, with a pro-Communist faction working to wrest control of the party from the moderate wing, of which Goh and Lee Kuan Yew were key members. A key source of division was the issue of merger with Malaya to form a new state of Malaysia. Goh and his fellow moderates believed this was a necessary condition for Singapore's economic development because Malaya was a key economic hinterland; merger would also provide an alternate vision against Communism for Singapore's Chinese majority. In July 1961, 16 members of the pro-Communist faction broke away from the PAP to form the Barisan Sosialis, and captured control of the main trade unions.
The Singaporean government won approval from Tunku Abdul Rahman for a merger in 1961, with the Tunku being motivated by a desire to stabilise the security situation in Singapore, and notably to neutralise the perceived communist threat. Singapore merged with Malaya and the British Borneo states in 1963 to form the Federation of Malaysia. Merger, however, proved to be problematic for the Singaporean leaders. There was a clash of fundamental principles, both political and economic, notably on the issue of Malay dominance. Communitarian violence in 1964 was inflamed in Singapore by Malay and Chinese activists. According to Lee Kuan Yew, Goh fought to protect Singapore's interests against the Federal Minister of Finance, his cousin Tan Siew Sin, "who was out to spite Singapore". Goh played a crucial role in orchestrating the subsequent secession of Singapore from the Federation on 9 August 1965. After two difficult years, Lee asked him to negotiate with the Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak and Minister for External Affairs Tun Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman in July 1965 for Singapore to have a looser arrangement with Malaysia within the Federation. However, following the discussions, Goh decided on his own that it would be better for Malaysia and Singapore to have a clean break.
Upon independence in 1965, Goh relinquished his finance portfolio and became Minister for the Interior and Defence until 16 August 1967, assuming responsibilities for strengthening Singapore's military and domestic security capabilities. A key policy was the creation of National Service, a mandatory conscription system for able-bodied young males. He was again Finance Minister between 17 August 1967 and 10 August 1970,during which time he declined to allow the central bank to issue currency, favouring instead a currency board system as this would signal to citizens, academics and the financial world that governments cannot "spend their way to prosperity".
Subsequently, in 1981, he expressed the view that the central bank need not hold large amounts of cash in reserve to defend the currency, proposing that the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) be established to invest excess reserves. At the time, it was unprecedented for a non-commodity-based economy to have such a sovereign wealth fund.The foreign merchant bank, Rothschild, advised on the GIC.
In 1968, Goh encouraged the establishment of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, and on 11 August 1970 he was reappointed Minister for Defence.In 1971, he put together the Electronic Warfare Study Group, a team of newly graduated engineers who had excelled in their university studies which was headed by Dr. Tay Eng Soon, then a university lecturer. The group worked on Project Magpie, a secret project to develop Singapore's defence technology capabilities.
In 1977, the group was renamed the Defence Science Organisation (DSO). Originally part of the Ministry of Defence, in 1997 the organisation became a non-profit corporation called DSO National Laboratories.
Goh was also responsible for projects that sought to improve Singaporeans' cultural and leisure life, such as the Jurong Bird Park, the Singapore Zoo and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.He backed the construction of the Kreta Ayer People's Theatre in his constituency as a venue for Chinese opera performances. He was also instrumental in introducing rugby in the Singapore Armed Forces and later in schools. In recognition of his role in promoting the sport, the Schools "C" Division Cup is named after him. Impressed by an oceanarium in the Bahamas, he contacted the Sentosa Development Corporation and persuaded them to build an oceanarium in Singapore. Underwater World Singapore opened in 1991.
On 1 March 1973,Goh was appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore concurrently with his other Cabinet portfolio. On 12 February 1979, Goh moved on from the Defence Ministry to the Ministry of Education, where his Goh Report greatly influenced the development of Singapore's education system. He himself was described as both a key political and strategic leader responsible for the transformation of the system over thirty years from "fair" to "great", according to a November 2010 McKinsey report. He set up the Curriculum Development Institute, and introduced key policies such as religious education (subsequently discontinued) and, in 1980, the channelling of students into different programmes of study according to their learning abilities, known as "streaming". Goh served two terms as Education Minister, his first ending on 31 May 1980, and his second following the 1980 general election from 1 June 1981 till his retirement. From 1 June 1980 he was redesignated First Deputy Prime Minister upon S. Rajaratnam being made Second Deputy Prime Minister, and served as chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) until he stepped down from Parliament on 3 December 1984 at the age of 66 years. In a tribute to mark the occasion, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew wrote: "A whole generation of Singaporeans take their present standard of living for granted because you had laid the foundations of the economy of modern Singapore."
After retirement from politics, Goh continued to be active in public life, serving as Deputy Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (1981–94), Economic Adviser to the State Council of the People's Republic of China on coastal development and Adviser on tourism (1985), Deputy Chairman of the MAS (1985 – 31 May 1992), Chairman of the Singapore Totalisator Board (1988–94), a Director of Gateway Technologies Services Pte. Ltd. (from 1991), adviser to the United Overseas Bank group (from 1 January 1993), Chairman of N.M. Rothschild & Sons (Singapore) Ltd. (from 1994), and Vice-Chairman of Hong Leong Asia Ltd. (from 1995).Between 1983 and 1992, he was chairman of the board of Governors of the Institute of East Asian Philosophies, which was founded to study Confucianism. The Institute later turned its focus on China's political and economic development, renaming itself the Institute of East Asian Political Economy, and Goh continued as its Executive chairman and the chairman of its Board of Governors until 1995. In April 1997, the Institute was reconstituted as the East Asian Institute, an autonomous research organisation under the auspices of the National University of Singapore.
In 1986, Goh separated from his first wife Alice. In 1991, he married his former Ministry of Education colleague Dr. Phua Swee Liang (Chinese :潘瑞良; pinyin :Pān Ruìliáng). He suffered his first stroke in 1999 and another one in 2000 which affected the vision in his right eye.
According to Goh's daughter-in-law, Tan Siok Sun, this caused him to withdraw and become extremely quiet. In July 2007, Tan published a biography titled Goh Keng Swee: A Portrait. Goh's second wife issued a statement claiming that Goh had not been consulted on the book and had indicated to her that he did not want any book to be written about him. "Therefore, the publication of this book is contrary to his wishes, and is a show of disregard and utmost disrespect to him." In an interview with The Straits Times , Tan said she did not start the dispute between Mrs. Goh and herself, nor did she wish to prolong it.
On 14 May 2010, Goh died in the early morning, at the age of 91, leaving behind his wife, his son, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.His body lay in state at Parliament House from 20 to 22 May, and there was a state funeral on 23 May 2010 at the Singapore Conference Hall followed by a private ceremony for family members at the Mandai Crematorium. The latter was conducted by the pastor-in-charge of Barker Road Methodist Church, with a message delivered by the Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore, Dr. Robert M. Solomon. As a mark of respect, the State flag was flown at half-staff from all Government buildings between 20 and 23 May.
In 1966, Goh was made an Honorary Fellow of the LSE. In 1972 he was the recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Services, which is often regarded as Asia's Nobel Prize.It is awarded to people who have demonstrated integrity in government, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society. The same year, the Philippine Government conferred upon him the Order of Sikatuna, which is given to diplomats, officials and nationals of foreign states who have rendered conspicuous services in fostering, developing and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines.
Following his retirement from politics, in 1985 Goh was awarded the Darjah Utama Temasek (Order of Temasek), First Class, Singapore's highest civilian honour. He was also presented with the LSE's Distinguished Alumnus Award on 21 January 1989,and made the first Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Development Board Society in 1991.
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| Library resources about |
Goh Keng Swee
|By Goh Keng Swee|
| Minister for Finance |
Lim Kim San
| Minister for Defence |
Lim Kim San
Lim Kim San
| Minister for Finance |
Hon Sui Sen
Lim Kim San
| Minister for Finance |
Howe Yoon Chong
Chua Sian Chin
| Minister for Education |
Tony Tan Keng Yam
Tony Tan Keng Yam
| Minister for Education |
Tony Tan Keng Yam
Toh Chin Chye
| Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore |
Goh Chok Tong
|Parliament of Singapore|
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Kreta Ayer |
Richard Hu Tsu Tau