Foo Mee Har

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Foo Mee Har
Member of the Singapore Parliament
for West Coast Group Constituency
Assumed office
7 May 2011
Preceded by seat created
Majority 36,070 (33.1%)
Personal details
Born (1966-01-10) 10 January 1966 (age 52)
Nationality Singaporean
Political party People's Action Party
Alma mater University of New South Wales
Occupation Politician
Profession Chief Executive Officer, Wealth Management Institute

Foo Mee Har (Chinese: 胡美霞; pinyin: Hú Měi Xiá, born 10 January 1966) is a Malaysian-born Singaporean politician. She is a Member of Parliament (MP) for West Coast GRC.[1] She is the Chairman of the Estimates Committee of Singapore Parliament.[2] She is also a member of the Government Parliamentary Committees of both: 1) Finance and Trade & Industry; and 2) Education.[3]

Foo was first elected MP in May 2011, standing as one of the five People's Action Party (PAP) candidates for the West Coast GRC, which garnered 66.6 per cent of votes.[4][5] In the 2015 General Election, Foo was once again fielded as a member of the PAP team contesting in the West Coast GRC. The team defeated Reform Party with 78.6% of the votes.

Foo has twenty over years of experience with leading international firms, held senior leadership roles across businesses and geographies. She led an international career, lived and worked in 5 countries: Australia, China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. She stepped down as the Global Head of Priority & International Banking for Standard Chartered Bank on 1 January 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 was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Wealth Management Institute at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore as of July 19, 2017.[6]


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'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.

Foo has been an active champion of employee volunteerism, spearheading participation in a wide range of 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.[8]

From 2003–2005, Foo was appointed the Country Head of Consumer Banking in China, spearheading the growth of the Consumer Banking franchise in China.[9]

From 2006–2008, she was President & CEO of Standard Chartered Bank (Thai) pcl with overall responsibility for the Bank in Thailand.[10] In the bank’s Annual Report for 2006, Foo mentioned that Standard Chartered Bank (Thail) had delivered a set of robust results, with a net profit of Baht 3,008 million, a 63 per cent increase from Baht 1,848 million. She built a strong balance sheet and capital base, achieved rating upgrade by Fitch, and rated second strongest bank in Thailand by Asian Bankers in 2007. Foo also oversaw the successful integration of Standard Chartered Bangkok Branch and Standard Charted Nakornthon Bank to better serve its customers.[11]

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. Standard Chartered's Priority Banking provides a total banking relationship programme to cater to the financial needs of affluent individuals.[12] Foo noted that "by taking a customer-focused approach", Standard Chartered is "seeing customers voting with their accounts".[13] Under Foo's leadership, Priority Banking relaunched in 22 markets with enhanced proposition, Wealth Management income grew 20% annually, and loans grew at 31%.[14]

In March 2011, Foo was featured in Sunday Times' Women at the Top series, an eight-part weekly series on successful women in Singapore.[15]

In the same interview, Foo spoke about her idea of leadership, which is 'having a vision, making people believe in that vision, and directing their energy into making that vision happen'. Foo added that "good leaders help people achieve what they want, great leaders bring people to achieve what they thought was not possible" and said she preferred the adjective 'achievement-oriented' over 'ambitious' to describe herself.[16]

In July 2015, Foo was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Wealth Management Institute in Singapore. WMI was established with the support of Temasek and GIC in 2003, to expand and deepen the talent pool of professionals in Singapore and Asia, through wealth management training.[17]


Foo joined the PAP in 2010, and was unveiled as PAP's first new female candidate for the Singapore general election, 2011.[18] 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 [19]

As a profession in the financial sector and a working mother, Foo has special interests in the following:

Singapore's Economy

In July 2015, Foo supported the proposed amendment to include Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited in the Net Investment Returns (NIR) framework. Foo mention that the amendment will widen the sources of revenue to help fund the expected increase in Singapore’s future spending needs. However, She cautioned the government that while Singapore increases her spending needs, the government should continue on the path of prudence and sustainability, for the sake of future generations. The focus must be on building a strong and globally competitive economy that will continue to generate strong operating revenues to meet increasing demands for expenditure.[20]

Foo urged the Government to continue strengthening Singapore’s social safety nets so as to provide for those less fortunate and leave no one behind as Singapore continues to grow.[21]

During the 2012 Budget Debate, Foo Mee Har said that the Budget achieved a “good balance between fulfilling the social needs of the country and addressing the longer-term economic competitiveness of Singapore” and was particularly “heartened by the range of schemes intended to help 3 important groups of Singaporeans: the elderly, the lower-income and the disabled.”[22]

Strengthening Singapore's SMEs

To maintain a strong and vibrant SME sector, Foo appealed to the government to maintain flexibility in applying policies.[23] She added that SMEs were the backbone of Singapore's economy and Singapore's future depended heavily on the establishment of a strong and vibrant SME sector. Foo said that SMEs "provide 60% of the jobs, they create value, and they fulfill the dreams of many Singaporean entrepreneurs."[24]

She also suggested streamlining the various government schemes that support productivity, making it easier for SMEs to tap into them. As such, she called on the government to reach out to SMEs with tailored sector-level interventions and support and be able to replicate best practices quickly within each sector. She said: "I would like to suggest to the government to align all the productivity schemes to be company-centric, organised along the lines of the 16 priority sectors identified by the National Productivity and Continuing Education Council (NPCEC), such as Electronics, Retail, Hotels, Construction and Manufacturing."[25]

During the 2013 Budget Debate, Foo spoke about economic restructuring journey that Singapore companies, especially the SMEs, need to undergo to emerge stronger and leaner, and in the process create better lives for Singaporeans. She praised the Wage Credit Scheme as innovative and 'provides the twin benefits of helping businesses cope with higher wages in a tight labour market as they upgrade, as well as encouraging firms to prefer Singaporeans and pay them better'.

PMEs - Building a Strong Singaporean Core

In the Debate on President’s Address 2014, Foo hoped that the government will continue to do more for the Singaporeans’ PMEs to help them fulfill their aspiration to upgrade their quality of life, which Foo noted that many feel further out of reach with the imposition of recent housing and car policies.

Foo urged the government to strengthen the Employment Pass system for foreign professionals, managers and executives to ensure employers show clear evidence of efforts to employ Singaporeans first before hiring foreigners, and are obliged to put in place a plan to invest in the training and development of Singaporeans to fill jobs that they are not qualified yet.

During the Population White Paper debate in Parliament, Foo called on the Singapore government to do more to build a stronger Singaporean core: (1) take bolder steps to improve Total Fertility Rate and (2) tap on economically inactive women and older workers.[26]

Empowering Women

Foo urged the Government to provide women in Singapore with the necessary support systems to manage work and family; so that they can be fully empowered to purse career and family goals of their choice.

Foo also urged the Government to increase the effort to encourage more women’s participation in the workforce and leadership roles in both public and private sectors so that Singapore can leverage on their unique talents and experience.[27]


People's Action Party (PAP)[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.[29]

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."[30]

On the WW’s website, Foo said that "women bring a unique set of capabilities that complement those of men. Fully accessing women's unique talents, experience, ideas & perspectives will help achieve exceptional outcomes for our society & nation”[31]


In a commentary from PAP’s Petir magazine, Foo reflected on her first 100 days as an MP and provided her analysis on the “new normal” in Singapore politics.[32] She said that the new normal in Singapore politics was to “understand the social evolution in Singapore”, where Singaporeans were now more engaged in national issues. She added that it was about “renewing the PAP’s relationship with fellow Singaporeans, to forge a new social compact that considered shared values and Singaporeans’ aspirations” and said that there was no better time to serve Singapore.[33]

Personal life[edit]

After university graduation in 1989, Foo moved to Singapore as a permanent resident and married a Singaporean. She has 2 sons, aged 20 and 18 years.[34] She became a Singapore citizen in January 2008 after her stint of overseas postings (2003–2008), when she was eligible to apply for citizenship.[35] Foo spoke about 'Singapore being home for the last 21 years' and that she 'want to make a difference to the lives of Singaporeans'.[36]

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.[37]

Being a firm believer that the family should be together for overseas postings, Foo made it a point to help her subordinates when they relocate. Foo added that "given the growth of the business in China, there were many occasions while I was in China where I successfully placed spouses within the bank's China operations."[38] When Foo was offered the CEO post in Thailand, her family rallied behind her again.[39]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Mee Har
  2. ^ “Estimates Committee”, Parliament of Singapore Website, <>
  3. ^
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  9. ^ Grace Ng (10 September 2008). "Moving is a family decision". The Straits Times. Singapore. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Standard Chartered Thai (2006). "Chief Executive Officer's Review". Annual Report 2006. Thailand. 
  12. ^ Standard Chartered Annual Report (2009). "Understanding the needs of our Priority customers". Standard Chartered Annual Review 2009. 
  13. ^ Standard Chartered Annual Report (2009). "Understanding the needs of our Priority customers". Standard Chartered Annual Review 2009. 
  14. ^ "Consumer and Wholesale Banking Presentations" (PDF). Standard Chartered Investor Trip 2010. November 2010. 
  15. ^ Wong Kim Hoh (6 March 2011). "Calm and composed, come what may". The Straits Times. Singapore. 
  16. ^ Wong Kim Hoh (6 March 2011). "Calm and composed, come what may". The Straits Times. Singapore. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ [<> "Speech On Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Bill"] Check |url= value (help). 
  21. ^ [<> "Women Members of Parliament"] Check |url= value (help). 
  22. ^ [<> "Parliamentary Speech on Budget 2012: Restructuring to Sustain Growth (1 March)"] Check |url= value (help). 
  23. ^ "Foo Mee Har on maintaining a vibrant SME sector". 1 March 2012. 
  24. ^ Foo Mee Har (1 March 2012). "Parliamentary Speech on Budget 2012: Restructuring to Sustain Growth (1 March)". Facebook. Singapore. 
  25. ^ > "GE 2011; Foo Mee Har on maintaining a vibrant SME sector". Channel NewsAsia. Singapore. 1 March 2012. 
  26. ^ [<> "Debate on President's Addeess - Nation of Opportunity"] Check |url= value (help). 26 May 2014. 
  27. ^ [<> "Women Members of Parliament"] Check |url= value (help). 
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  35. ^ RazorTV. Singapore. 23 March 2011;jsessionid=AA52239DEC06FD67BD8F39F5B94EEECD.01?channel=contentbean%3a59830&view=asLargeVideoListBoxPage&page=1&autoLoad=true&video=contentbean%3a61150@59830_largeListPage@1309093551621.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  36. ^ Robin Chan (24 March 2011). "PAP introduces another three candidates; Banking on people skills". The Straits Times. Singapore. 
  37. ^ Grace Ng (10 September 2008). "Moving is a family decision". The Straits Times. Singapore. 
  38. ^ Grace Ng (10 September 2008). "Moving is a family decision". The Straits Times. Singapore. 
  39. ^ Grace Ng (10 September 2008). "Moving is a family decision". The Straits Times. Singapore.