Khaw Boon Wan

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The Honourable
Khaw Boon Wan
Minister Khaw Boon Wan.JPG
Khaw Boon Wan
Minister for National Development
Assumed office
21 May 2011
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Preceded by Mah Bow Tan
Constituency Sembawang Group Representation Constituency
Chairman of the People's Action Party
Assumed office
1 June 2011
Deputy Yaacob Ibrahim
Preceded by Lim Boon Heng
Minister for Health
In office
12 August 2004 – 20 May 2011
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Preceded by Lim Hng Kiang
Succeeded by Gan Kim Yong
Member of the Singapore Parliament
for Sembawang GRC (Sembawang ward)
Assumed office
7 May 2006
Preceded by Tony Tan
Member of the Singapore Parliament
for Tanjong Pagar GRC (Moulmein ward)
In office
4 November 2001 – 6 May 2006
Preceded by Lew Syn Pau (Kreta Ayer-Tanglin GRC: Moulmein ward)
Succeeded by Lui Tuck Yew
Personal details
Born (1952-12-08) 8 December 1952 (age 62)
Penang, Federation of Malaya
Nationality Singaporean
Political party People's Action Party
Alma mater University of Newcastle
Religion Buddhism[1]
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Khaw.

Khaw Boon Wan (simplified Chinese: 许文远; traditional Chinese: 許文遠; pinyin: Xǔ Wényuǎn; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Khóo Bûn-uán; born 8 December 1952) is a Malaysian-born Singaporean politician. Since 2011, he has been Minister for National Development and the Chairman of the governing People's Action Party (PAP).[2][3] He was previously the Minister for Health from August 2004 to May 2011. He has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 2001.


In 1977, upon graduation, Khaw began his career in the Singapore Civil Service. His first choice was with Singapore Airlines but was dispatched to the Ministry of Health. In the first 7 years, he worked in the Ministry of Health drafting healthcare policies.

From 1985 to 1987, Khaw served as the first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National University Hospital.[4] He also worked in the Kandang Kerbau Women's and Children's Hospital, and the Singapore General Hospital.

From 1992 to 1995, Khaw served as the Principal Private Secretary to Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.

From 1995 to 2001, he served as the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry[citation needed].

Political career[edit]

Khaw has been a Member of Parliament since 2001. He represented Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency (Tanjong Pagar GRC) from 2001 to 2006, and Sembawang GRC since 2006.

Khaw was appointed as Minister for Health in August 2004.

As Minister for Health, Khaw played a key role in combating the SARS epidemic which tested the Singapore's public health resources. He was also noted for his role in handling the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) scandal, and made Gerard Ee the new Chairman of the NKF following the resignation of T. T. Durai. In a parliamentary speech on 9 February 2009, in the context of tackling the rising healthcare costs, he suggested that Singaporeans can consider sending their elderly parents to nursing homes in Johor Bahru in Malaysia, which are more affordable to lower-income Singaporeans.[5][6][7] This was quoted by news reports and a public outcry ensued. Khaw subsequently clarified that his statement was quoted out of context by the media and his suggestion was only one of the many choices available to Singaporeans.[8]

Following the 2011 general election, Khaw was appointed the Minister for National Development. In his new appointment, he gave assurance that he will make housing affordable and accessible to all Singaporeans.[9] In his 2013 budget debate, he said:[10]

“We can now pause and see what else we can do to bring BTO prices in non-mature estates to, say, around four years of salary as it was before the current property cycle started”

Though the relative prices of BTO flats have fallen since Khaw's speech, most of the flats still cost more than four years of an applicant's salary.[11] The prices of new flats remain high despite six rounds of cooling measures.[12] In January 2013, a seventh round of property cooling measures was introduced to moderate the increase in residential and industrial prices.


Khaw received his secondary education in Chung Ling High School and Anglo Chinese School in Penang, Malaysia.

In 1973, he was awarded the Colombo Plan Scholarship from Singapore to study a combine degree program in Engineering and Commerce at the University of Newcastle in Australia and graduated in 1977 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours Class I) and Bachelor of Commerce.[13]

In 1982, he was awarded a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the National University of Singapore.[14]

He has been awarded the Shell Prize in Economics and Commerce, the Australian Institute of Management John Storey Memorial Prize in Organisational Behaviour, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited Prize in Accounting I, the W E Clegg Memorial Prize in Engineering, the Australian Institute of Management John Storey Memorial Prize in Industry Economics and the Institution of Engineer, Australia Prize for the Newcastle Division.[15]

In 2002, Khaw was awarded a Doctor of Engineering honoris causa by the University of Newcastle, Australia.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Khaw is married to a retired pharmacist with three daughters[citation needed]. He professes to be a religious man[17] in parliament. In 2010, Khaw underwent a heart bypass operation[18] and after his recovery, it was reported that he has switched to a completely plant-based diet, avoiding all meat, fish and diary product.[19]


  1. ^ "Minister for National Development: Mr KHAW Boon Wan". Government of Singapore. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Li Xueying (1 June 2011). "PAP appoints Khaw Boon Wan as Party Chairman". The Straits Times (Singapore). 
  3. ^ PAP appoints Khaw Boon Wan as chairman,, 1 June 2011
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Live in nursing homes in JB?". 
  6. ^ "Nursing homes in Johor Bahru – revisited". 
  7. ^ "Putting our old folks in Johor". 
  8. ^ "JB nursing homes – MOH clarifies". 
  9. ^ "University degree 'not vital for success'". 
  10. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Singapore Housing Board flats more affordable now". 
  12. ^ "Cooling measures ineffective as prices continue to rise". 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "The Sham Going On In Parliament". 
  18. ^ "Minister’s bill for bypass surgery: $8". 
  19. ^ "Did the health minister just go veg?". 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Lim Hng Kiang
Minister for Health
12 August 2004 - 20 May 2011
Succeeded by
Gan Kim Yong
Preceded by
Mah Bow Tan
Minister for National Development
21 May 2011
Party political offices
Preceded by
Lim Boon Heng
Chairman of the People's Action Party
1 June 2011