Foo Mee Har

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Foo Mee Har
胡美霞
Foo Mee Har.jpg
Foo in 2021
Member of Parliament
for West Coast GRC
(Ayer Rajah–Gek Poh)
Assumed office
7 May 2011
Preceded byConstituency established
Majority4,662 (3.36%)
Personal details
Born1966[1]
Singapore
Political partyPeople's Action Party
Alma materUniversity of New South Wales
Occupation
  • Politician
  • businesswoman

Foo Mee Har (Chinese: 胡美霞; pinyin: Hú Měixiá; born 1966)[1] is a Singaporean politician and businesswoman. A member of the governing People's Action Party (PAP), she has been the Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Ayer Rajah–Gek Poh division of West Coast GRC since 2011.[2]

Foo made her political debut in the 2011 general election as part of a five-member PAP team contesting in West Coast GRC and won 66.6% of the vote.[3][4] During the 2015 general election, Foo retained her parliamentary seat in the West Coast GRC after defeating the opposition Reform Party with 78.6% of the vote. During the 2020 general election, Foo retained her parliamentary seat in West Coast GRC again after garnering 51.68% of vote.

Prior to entering politics, Foo had 30 years of corporate experience with leading international firms and has held senior leadership roles across businesses and geographies. She stepped down as Global Head of Priority & International Banking for Standard Chartered Bank in 2013 to focus on constituency work and to pursue other interests. She had a long-standing career at Standard Chartered Bank spanning 19 years covering Asia, Africa and Middle East markets.

Foo has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Wealth Management Institute, Asia's Centre of Excellence for wealth and asset management education and research in 2015.[5] She has also been appointed as Council Member of the Singapore Business Federation in 2018.[6]

Career[edit]

Foo started her career in 1990 as a Management Consultant with Coopers and Lybrand Management Consultants (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) and PA Consulting Group. She later joined Jardine Matheson's shipping group as the Head of HR.[7]

Foo was with Standard Chartered Bank from 1994 to 2012, during which she held a number of senior positions across the Group. From 2003–2005, Foo was appointed the Country Head of Consumer Banking in China, spearheading the growth of the Consumer Banking franchise in China.[8] From 2006–2008, she was President & CEO of Standard Chartered Bank (Thai) pcl with overall responsibility for the Bank in Thailand.[7][9] In 2008, Foo was appointed Global Head for Priority & International Banking business with overall responsibility for banking, financing and wealth management of affluent and international banking client segments, a business that spanned over 30 countries in Asia, Africa and Middle East.[10][11] Foo was involved with a range of corporate community programs, including advocacy, outreach and fund-raising for causes such as avoidable blindness, HIV/AIDs and healthy living. She started the inaugural Standard Chartered Bangkok Marathon, which has become one of the largest sporting events.[7]

In March 2011, Foo was featured in Sunday Times' Women at the Top series, an eight-part weekly series on successful women in Singapore.[12]

In July 2015, Foo was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Wealth Management Institute in Singapore.[13]

Political career[edit]

Foo joined the PAP in 2010, and was unveiled as PAP's first new female candidate for the 2011 Singapore general election. She was then appointed Deputy Chairperson of the Finance, Trade and Industry Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) in the 14th Parliament of Singapore.[14] During her introduction, Foo said that living abroad gave her the opportunity "to really reflect on Singapore, its government, systems and its processes" and appreciate its unique strengths.[15]

Leveraging her portfolio in Parliament, her depth of experience in the financial sector as well as her experience as a working mother, Foo has championed the following causes:

Fiscal Sustainability

As Chairman of the Estimates Committee of Singapore Parliament, Foo has called on government to ensure spending remains sustainable and prudent, without imposing undue tax burdens on future generation of Singaporeans.[16] She also raised the need for robust KPIs, monitoring mechanisms, transparency and accountability of government initiatives.[17] Foo cautioned the government not to depend on outsourced vendors and consultants to supply technology knowledge, but to build a strong Singaporean core of highly competent public sector officers with cutting-edge expertise in technology, including data science and cyber security.[18]

Business Transformation

Foo has been a strong advocate of government support to help small and medium-sized enterprises transform. She called on the government to shift to a higher gear where help provided becomes more targeted and solutions are tailored to address companies' specific operational issues.[19] Concurrently, the private sector needs to step up and pull their own weight for transformation to succeed.[20] Foo called for the development of strong local capabilities and ecosystems where companies can innovate, and embrace technology and R&D for successful business transformation.[21] It is critical that the government institute a framework for the transfer of capabilities and expertise from MNCs[clarification needed] to the local ecosystem, while creating good jobs in the local economy.[22]

Jobs and training

Foo has consistently championed the need for improved skills development amongst Singaporeans, calling for national policy to prepare Singaporeans for the best jobs and top jobs[23] She also pushed for stronger connections between training programmes and employability, stating in Parliament that "There must be clear linkages from training courses, to skills, to jobs".[24] She has also spoken out for improved industry competency standards, improved work-study programmes and greater involvement of employers and trade organisations in the effort.[25] In particular, Foo has called for the development of a strong "Singaporean Core" in all major sectors[23] and more job opportunities for ‘Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians’ through place-and-train programmes,[26] as well as the re-employment of older workers who wish to work.[27][28][29] When Singapore’s economy faced challenging economic times, she has consistently appealed for help for Singaporeans displaced by restructuring.[30]

Foo has called on government to develop effective strategies to help workers transition to new kinds of work, as machine learning and robotics replace specific tasks performed by humans.[31]

Retirement Adequacy

Foo has asked the government to help Singaporeans better understand their assets in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) and the "risk-return" comparisons with other financial products, as well as access to their funds.[32][33] She has also pushed for improved retirement adequacy particularly for women[34] and financial security for seniors.[35] Since 2013, she had championed options that allowed Singaporeans to monetise their HDB[clarification needed] flats in order to supplement their retirements needs, if they wished to.[36][37][38] She also called for a review of CPF payout durations,[39] a revamp of the CPF Investment Scheme and the launch of the Lifetime Retirement Investment Scheme (LRIS), all towards benefiting CPF members.[40]

Education

Foo pushed actively for breakthroughs in the education system in order to strongly position future generations of Singaporeans for ‘Industry 4.0’. In 2018, she pointed out to Parliament that "The successful reinvention of our educational system depends on transforming pedagogy and redesigning learning tasks."[41] She called on the government to blend work and study into degree programmes for more job ready graduates.[42] With the shift in economic centre of gravity towards Asia, Foo called on the government to review school curriculum to enable students to develop a deeper understanding of ASEAN, China and India, and expand their regional language capabilities.[43] She has been a strong advocate of lifelong learning, to ride the waves of change brought about by rapid technological disruptions and economic restructuring.[44][42][45]

Work-life balance

Since the start of her parliamentary career, Foo has championed the cause for more flexible work arrangements (flexi-work and work-from-home), especially for women and older workers, as well as other pro-family employment practices.[46][47][48][49] She has also pushed for the Employment Act to extend better protection to ‘Professional, Managerial and Executive’ (PME) employees, as well as contract workers.[50][51] She said, "Flexi-work should be our response to the modern economy, where workforce agility can generate significant economic benefits and a means to attract and retain talent, and get the workforce engaged to boost the competitiveness of companies."[52]

Education[edit]

People's Action Party[edit]

PAP Women's Wing

Foo is the Treasurer to the PAP Women's Wing Executive Committee. She is also a member of the Advocacy Subcommittee. She led a position paper urging the government to put in an enhanced level of resources to effect the necessary change in the workplace to make it pro-family and called by flexi-work legislation.[54]

In an interview with Channel NewsAsia, she said, "As a professional woman, I'm hoping that I can contribute to the women's agenda in Singapore. I'm a banker by profession, so hopefully this network can help me reach out to women, especially the professional women, and understand their issues."[55]

Personal life[edit]

After university graduation in 1989, Foo moved to Singapore as a permanent resident and married a Singaporean. She has two sons, aged 27 and 25 years.[56]

She became a Singapore citizen in January 2008 after her stint of overseas postings (2003–2008), when she was eligible to apply for citizenship.[57] Foo spoke about 'Singapore being home for the last 30 years' and that she 'want to make a difference to the lives of Singaporeans'.[58]

In an interview with The Straits Times on 8 September 2008, Foo mentioned that taking up overseas postings in her job was "always a family decision". When Foo was offered the China position in 2003, her husband, then a general manager of a multinational company, quit his job to take up a China post with another company so that the family could relocate together.[8] When Foo was offered the CEO post in Thailand, her family rallied behind her again.[8]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "MP | Parliament of Singapore".
  2. ^ "Member's CV". Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  3. ^ "General Elections 2011". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  4. ^ "West Coast GRC won by PAP". Archived from the original on 24 July 2011.
  5. ^ "Wealth Management Institute". www.wmi.edu.sg. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  6. ^ "SBF Council Members".
  7. ^ a b c "Foo Mee Har". Archived from the original on 5 May 2011.
  8. ^ a b c "Moving is a family decision". Singapore. 10 September 2008. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Chief Executive Officer's Review". Thailand. 2006.
  10. ^ "Standard Chartered expands Priority Banking in Singapore". 2009.
  11. ^ "Consumer and Wholesale Banking Presentations" (PDF). Standard Chartered Investor Trip 2010. November 2010.
  12. ^ Wang Kim Hoh (6 March 2011). "Calm and composed, come what may". Singapore.
  13. ^ "CEO Appointment - Wealth Management Institute". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  14. ^ "PAP unveils first new woman candidate for GE - Yahoo!". Archived from the original on 26 March 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  15. ^ "PAP introduces another three new candidates". Archived from the original on 26 March 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  16. ^ "Estimates Committee Report, 2016/2017".
  17. ^ "Estimates Committee Report, 2017/2018".
  18. ^ "Estimate Committee Report, 2018/2019".
  19. ^ "COS, Help SMEs Transform (9 Mar 2015)".
  20. ^ "Debate on Annual Budget Statement". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 27 February 2018.
  21. ^ "Debate on Annual Budget Statement". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 2 March 2020.
  22. ^ "COS, Translation of R&D Efforts". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 2 March 2018.
  23. ^ a b "Building Capabilities for Future". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 7 March 2014.
  24. ^ "SkillsFuture and Lifelong Learning". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 8 April 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  25. ^ "Trade Associations and Chambers (7 Apr 2016)".
  26. ^ "SkillsFuture, Work-study Degree Programmes". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 7 March 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  27. ^ "Implementation of Retirement and Re-employment Act (9 Apr 2012)".
  28. ^ "Re-Employment of Those Above 62 Years". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  29. ^ "Insurance Companies' Treatment of Re-employed Elderly Workers". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  30. ^ "Participation Rate in Flexi-Work Arrangements and Impact on Staff Morale, Productivity and Turnover". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 8 July 2019.
  31. ^ "Motion of thanks, President's Address, 2018".
  32. ^ "Debate on Annual Budget Statement (3 Mar 2015)".
  33. ^ "Clarification of Withdrawal of CPF Savings at Payout Eligibility Age (18 Feb 2019)".
  34. ^ "Retirement adequacy of women (9 Mar 2015)".
  35. ^ "COS, Financial security of Seniors (5 Mar 2019)".
  36. ^ "Lease Buyback Scheme and Silver Housing Bonus (25 Feb 2013)".
  37. ^ "Help Seniors Unlock Value of their Flats (8 Mar 2013)".
  38. ^ "Strategies to Ensure Retirement Adequacy as More HDB Flats Approach End of 99-year Leases (6 Nov 2017)".
  39. ^ "Review of Payout Duration for CPF Retirement Sum Scheme (7 Oct 2019)".
  40. ^ "COS – Ministry of Manpower, Retirement Adequacy (6 Mar 2017)".
  41. ^ "COS – Ministry of Education, Education Model for a New Era (5 Mar 2018)".
  42. ^ a b "COS MOE 2017". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 3 July 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  43. ^ "COS MOE 2020".
  44. ^ "Budget 2015". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  45. ^ "COS MOE 2019". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 3 April 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  46. ^ "Promoting Flexi-work Arrangements to Alleviate Manpower Shortage (10 July 2012)".
  47. ^ "Percentage of Public Service Employees on Flexible Work Arrangements (14 Nov 2012)".
  48. ^ "Debate on Annual Budget Statement (5 Mar 2013)".
  49. ^ "Promote Pro-family Employment Practices (14 Mar 2013)".
  50. ^ "Employment, Parental Leave and Other Measures Bill". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  51. ^ "Effectiveness of WorkPro Scheme". sprs.parl.gov.sg. 17 February 2014.
  52. ^ "Accelerate Flexible Work Arrangements (7 Mar 2014)".
  53. ^ "PAP Press Conference: 3PM 23 March 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 April 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  54. ^ "Party's GE line-up nearly done: SM Goh". Archived from the original on 20 March 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  55. ^ "PAP at tail end of interviewing potential GE candidates - Channel NewsAsia". Archived from the original on 25 February 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  56. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 April 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  57. ^ "Interview with new candidate Foo Mee Har". RazorTV. Singapore. 23 March 2011. Archived from the original on 15 August 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  58. ^ "PAP introduces new candidates". SPH Razor. Singapore. 24 March 2011.
Parliament of Singapore
New constituency Member of Parliament for
West Coast GRC (Ayer Rajah - Gek Poh Division)

2011 – present
Incumbent