Lim Hng Kiang

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Lim Hng Kiang
Minister Lim Hng Kiang.jpg
Minister for Trade and Industry
Incumbent
Assumed office
12 August 2004
Preceded by George Yeo
Constituency West Coast Group Representation Constituency
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
In office
1 August 2003 – 12 August 2004
Succeeded by Lim Swee Say
Minister for Health
In office
3 June 1999 – 1 August 2003
Preceded by Yeo Cheow Tong
Succeeded by Khaw Boon Wan
Minister for National Development
In office
17 April 1995 – 3 June 1999
Succeeded by Mah Bow Tan
Personal details
Born (1954-04-09) 9 April 1954 (age 60)
Singapore
Political party People's Action Party
Spouse(s) Lee Ai Boon
Alma mater University of Cambridge,
Harvard University

Lim Hng Kiang (simplified Chinese: 林勋强; traditional Chinese: 林勛強; pinyin: Lín Xūnqiáng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Lîm Hun-kiông, born 9 April 1954) is a Singaporean politician. A member of the governing People's Action Party (PAP), he is the country's Minister for Trade and Industry. He previously served as the Minister for National Development (1995–99), Minister for Health (1999–2003), and as a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (2003–04). He has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 1991.

Career[edit]

Lim began his career in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). He later served as a Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of National Development, and as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Housing and Development Board (HDB).

Political career[edit]

Lim was first elected to Parliament in 1991 as an MP for the Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency. Since 1997, he has represented the West Coast Group Representation Constituency (West Coast GRC).

Lim was appointed a Minister of State at the Ministry of National Development in 1991. In 1994, he became the Acting Minister for National Development and Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 1995, Lim became the Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs. In 1998, he relinquished the role of Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and became the Second Minister for Finance.

In 1999, Lim became the Minister for Health. He also retained the portfolio of Second Minister for Finance.

In 2003, Lim was made a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office. He retained the role of Second Minister for Finance.

Lim was made the Minister for Trade and Industry in 2004.

Lim is also the Deputy Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and a Board Director of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC).

Notable events during tenure[edit]

2003 SARS epidemic[edit]

Lim was the Minister of Health during the SARS epidemic that swept through the region. Many Singaporeans felt his initial handling of the crisis, citing his lack of leadership and indecisiveness, helped prolong the epidemic that eventually drove the economy into a recession. While then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said "SARS has significantly disrupted our economy. It has affected not only tourist spending but also domestic consumption... certainly our first half growth will be affected, and we will have to revise down our growth forecasts for the year." Others cited his calls to quarantine patients and to close and extend local school holidays were late in coming.

Many local residents also pointed to the administrators at Tan Tock Seng Hospital for mishandling and underestimating the severity of SARS. When "At least 85 percent of people infected by SARS in Singapore caught it while visiting or working at hospitals", said Osman David Mansoor at the WHO. "The remainder mostly came down with it at home through close contact with sick family members", he said.[1]

2010 True Spa Subtle Senses incident[edit]

Lim was the Minister for Trade and Industry during the period when numerous spa, beauty and wellness operators ceased their operations in Singapore.

There were hundreds of complaints and legal cases submitted to the Small Claims Tribunal and CASE on the poor service and unethical practices of spa operators during his tenure as Minister for Trade and Industry. In the recent case of the True Spa Subtle Senses incident, over 400 people submitted a petition to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to step in to protect consumers from being cheated of millions of dollars.

The government was criticized by many as being slow to act and letters were sent to the newspaper to urge the government to do something.[2]

During a Parliamentary session in 2010, Lim commented: "Imposing prescriptive regulations can restrict business flexibility, reduce consumer choice, and potentially lead to higher costs for consumers. A better approach to protect consumers is to help raise their vigilance through consumer education and industry accreditation of spas. CASE has, with MTI's support, launched the CaseTrust for Spa and Wellness Accreditation Scheme in April this year to raise consumers' awareness of spa standards and to put in place good business practices. These include giving customers a cooling-off period of at least five working days to seek full refund of payments made for packages, and not allowing sales pitch to customers during treatment. These measures will help obviate cases where consumers are pressured into buying packages. CASE is also currently looking into requiring financial soundness to be taken into account in the accreditation scheme. We will monitor the situation and refine our approach further, if necessary."[3]

Education[edit]

Lim was educated in Raffles Institution, before being awarded a President's Scholarship and Singapore Armed Forces Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge, where he completed a degree in engineering in 1976. In 1985, Lim was awarded a scholarship to study for a Master of Public Administration degree at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Personal life[edit]

Lim has two sons,[4] Christopher Lim and Andrew Lim. His wife, Lee Ai Boon, died of cancer in April 2014.[5]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Hu Tsu Tau
Minister for National Development
1994 - 1995 (Acting) 1995 - 1999
Succeeded by
Mah Bow Tan
Preceded by
Yeo Cheow Tong
Minister for Health
1999–2003
Succeeded by
Khaw Boon Wan
Preceded by
?
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
2003–2004
Succeeded by
Lim Swee Say
Preceded by
George Yeo
Minister for Trade and Industry
2004 - present
Incumbent
Parliament of Singapore
Preceded by
?
Member of Parliament for West Coast GRC (Telok Blangah)
1991- present
Incumbent