S. Dhanabalan

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In this Indian name, the name Suppiah is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by the given name, Dhanabalan.
Suppiah Dhanabalan
Born (1937-08-08) August 8, 1937 (age 77)
Residence Singapore
Nationality Singaporean
Education B.A. (Economics)
Alma mater University of Malaya
Occupation Politician and Businessperson
Employer Temasek Holdings
Title Chairman

Suppiah Dhanabalan (born August 8, 1937), also known as S. Dhanabalan, DUT(Second Class), is a former Singaporean politician. He was a high-profile political leader in Singapore in the 1980 and held several cabinet positions in the 1980s and early 1990s under prime ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong.

Early life and education[edit]

Dhanabalan was born in 1937 to a Singaporean of Tamil descent. He was raised as a Hindu by his father, A. Suppiah. But later in his life he became a devout Christian (Brethren). He went to Victoria School; and later to University of Malaya where he earned his B.A. degree in Economics, earning a Second Class Honours (Upper Division).

Early career[edit]

He joined (Ministry of Finance) as an Administrative Officer from 1960-68. During his tenure, he helped to form the Economic Development Board and DBS Bank.

He subsequently left the Civil Service and joined DBS as a Vice President from 1968-1970. He was promoted to the position of Executive Vice President and continue to serve from 1970-1978.[1]

Political career[edit]

In the 1976 Singapore general election, Dhanabalan was elected as Member of Parliament for Kallang, as a People's Action Party (PAP) candidate. He was promoted to a Cabinet Minister and served in various portfolios, including Foreign Affairs, Culture, Community Development, National Development and Trade and Industry.[1]

When Lee Kuan Yew was preparing for his successor, he identified a handful of ministers he considered suitable for the job, including Tony Tan, Ong Teng Cheong, Goh Chok Tong and Dhanabalan.

In his public account of why he chose them and what he felt were their strengths and weaknesses, Lee said his preferred successor was Tony Tan who is currently the 7th President of the Republic of Singapore. He felt that while the other three were all of prime ministerial calibre, each had a particular weakness: Goh was too stiff, lacking eloquence in public speaking, and Ong was too closely aligned with the Chinese-speaking masses, lacking appeal to other communities. In the case of Dhanabalan, Lee felt the 76% ethnic Chinese electorate was not yet ready for a prime minister of Indian ethnicity. Lee left the ultimate decision to the second generation ministers themselves, who went on to choose Goh.

Career after politics[edit]

Other contributions[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Dhanabalan is a devout Christian (Brethren) and attends a small church in Bukit Panjang - Bukit Panjang Gospel Chapel.[2] He is married to Christine Tan Khoon Hiap and they have one son and one daughter.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Teo XuanWei (23 July 2013). TODAY (Singapore). p. 2. 
  2. ^ "Graduates' Christian Fellowship via WaybackMachine". Retrieved 24 July 2013. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
S. Rajaratnam
Minister for Foreign Affairs
1 June 1980-12 September 1988
Succeeded by
Wong Kan Seng
Preceded by
Ong Teng Cheong
Minister for Culture
1981-1984
Succeeded by
Yeo Ning Hong
Preceded by
?
Minister for Community Development
1984-1986
Succeeded by
?
Preceded by
Teh Cheang Wan
Minister for National Development
1987-1992
Succeeded by
Richard Hu Tsu Tau
Preceded by
Lee Hsien Loong
Minister for Trade and Industry
1992-1993
Succeeded by
?