Tharman Shanmugaratnam

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The Honourable
Tharman Shanmugaratnam
தர்மன் சண்முகரத்தினம்
Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the official opening of Yuan Ching Secondary School's new building, Singapore - 20100716 (cropped).jpg
Tharman at the official opening of Yuan Ching Secondary School's new building.
Constituency Jurong GRC
Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore
Assumed office
21 May 2011
Serving with Teo Chee Hean
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Preceded by Wong Kan Seng
Minister for Finance
Assumed office
1 December 2007
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Preceded by Lee Hsien Loong
Minister for Manpower
In office
21 May 2011 – 31 July 2012
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Preceded by Gan Kim Yong
Succeeded by Tan Chuan-Jin
Second Minister for Finance
In office
2005 – 1 December 2007
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Minister for Education
In office
1 August 2003 – 1 April 2008
Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong
Lee Hsien Loong
Preceded by Teo Chee Hean
Succeeded by Ng Eng Hen
Personal details
Born (1957-01-22) 22 January 1957 (age 57)
Political party People's Action Party
Spouse(s) Jane Yumiko Ittogi
Alma mater Anglo-Chinese School,
London School of Economics,
University of Cambridge,
Harvard University
Religion Hinduism

Tharman Shanmugaratnam (born 22 January 1957) is a Singaporean politician. A member of the governing People's Action Party (PAP), he has served as Minister for Finance since 2007 and as Deputy Prime Minister since 2011. He is also Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He previously served as the Minister for Education from 2003 to 2008.[1] He has been a Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC) since 2001.

In March 2011, Tharman was appointed the Chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, the policy steering committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He was also admitted to the Group of Thirty (an international consultative group made up of 30 leading financiers and academics) in June 2008.


Tharman served as the Chief Executive of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in 1998, before he entered politics in 2001.

Political career[edit]

Tharman was elected to Parliament at the 2001 general election. Following the election, he was a Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Education. He then served as the Minister for Education from 2003 to 2008. In May 2006, he was also appointed to the post of Second Minister for Finance.[2]

In December 2007, Tharman was appointed as Minister for Finance. He continued to concurrently hold the post of Minister for Education until March 2008.[3]

In June 2008, Tharman was admitted to the Group of Thirty (also known as the 'Consultative Group on International Economic and Monetary Affairs'). This international body is made up of 30 leading financiers and academics, with Paul Volcker as the Chairman of its Board of Trustees.

In March 2011, Tharman was selected as the Chairman of the policy steering committee of the IMF, the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC).[4][5] He was the first Asian to head the IMFC, coming after Youssef Boutros Ghali, Egypt's former Minister of Finance, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, who had been Italy's Economy and Finance Minister, and Gordon Brown, the United Kingdom's Chancellor of the Exchequer, who chaired the committee for eight years until he became Prime Minister.[6][7] In announcing Tharman's selection, the IMF said in a statement that his "broad experience, deep knowledge of economic and financial issues, and active engagement with global policy makers will be highly valuable to the IMFC".[4][5]

At the 2011 general election, Tharman's team in Jurong Group Representation Constituency (Jurong GRC) won 66.96% of votes against the team from the National Solidarity Party.[8]

Following the 2011 election, Tharman was appointed as one of two Deputy Prime Ministers of Singapore. He was also appointed as the Minister for Manpower from May 2011 to July 2012, in addition to his role as the Minister for Finance. He remains Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Other roles[edit]

Tharman also serves as the Chairman of the Ong Teng Cheong Institute of Labour Studies and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA).

Legal charge and conviction[edit]

While serving as Economic Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in 1993, Tharman was charged under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) in a case involving the release of Singapore's 1992 second-quarter flash projections to a research director, Raymond Foo, and economist Manu Bhaskaran, of Crosby Securities, and to journalists Kenneth James and Patrick Daniel of the Business Times.[9]

The OSA case, which stretched over more than a year, was reported extensively in the Singapore press. Tharman contested and was eventually acquitted of the charge of communicating the GDP growth flash projections. Senior District Judge Richard Magnus then introduced a lesser charge of negligence, because the prosecution's case was that the figures were seen on a document that he had with him at a meeting with the private economists which he had attended with one of his colleagues. Tharman contested this lesser charge too, and took to the witness stand for a few days.

The court nevertheless convicted him together with all the others in the case, including the editor of Business Times newspaper which published the figures. Tharman was fined S$1,500, and the others S$2,000. As there was no finding that he knowingly communicated any classified information, the case did not pose any hurdle to his subsequent appointment as the Chief Executive of the MAS.


Tharman studied at Anglo-Chinese School, before going on to the London School of Economics, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in economics. He subsequently obtained a Master's degree in economics from the University of Cambridge, and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University, where he also received a Lucius N. Littauer Fellow award for outstanding performance.

Personal life[edit]

Tharman is a Singaporean of Sri Lankan Tamil ancestry. He is married to Jane Yumiko Ittogi, a lawyer of Chinese-Japanese parentage.[10] The couple have three sons and one daughter.


  1. ^ May Wong (29 March 2008). "PM Lee unveils cabinet changes". Channel News Asia (Singapore). 
  2. ^ The Government of Singapore (21 June 2006). "The Cabinet - Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam". 
  3. ^ Asha Popatlal (29 November 2007). "PM Lee to relinquish Finance Minister post, Tharman takes over". Channel News Asia (Singapore). 
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Michael Richardson (22 October 1993). "Singapore Puts Top Prosecutor On News Leak". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ "Try discipline with love - Acting Education Minister Tharman: My kids, their Mandarin and their future in China". The New Paper (Singapore). 9 June 2004. Archived from the original on 22 January 2008. "(The canes) are for his three sons, aged 10, 12 and 13 and an 8-year-old daughter; His lawyer-wife, Madam Jane Yumiko Ittogi, is of Japanese-Chinese parentage and can speak Teochew; Mr Tharman revealed that the Chinese translation of his name, Shang Da Man, was given by a language specialist in 1995." 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Wong Kan Seng
Deputy Prime Minister
Preceded by
Teo Chee Hean
Minister for Education
Succeeded by
Ng Eng Hen
Preceded by
Lee Hsien Loong
Minister for Finance
Preceded by
Second Minister for Finance
Succeeded by
Parliament of Singapore
Preceded by
(new constituency)
Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC (Taman Jurong)