Heng Swee Keat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Heng Swee Keat
ஹெங் சுவீ கியட்
Heng Swee Keat.jpg
Heng Swee Keat in Washington, D.C. in February 2012
Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore
Assumed office
1 May 2019
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byTeo Chee Hean
Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Minister for Finance
Assumed office
1 October 2015
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Second MinisterLawrence Wong
Indranee Rajah
Preceded byTharman Shanmugaratnam
Chairman of the Committee on the Future Economy
Assumed office
1 October 2015
Preceded byPosition established
Minister for Education
In office
21 May 2011 – 30 September 2015
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byNg Eng Hen
Succeeded byNg Chee Meng (Acting Schools Minister)
Ong Ye Kung (Acting Higher Education and Skills Minister)
Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore
In office
1 June 2005 – 2 April 2011
Preceded byKoh Yong Guan
Succeeded byRavi Menon
First Assistant Secretary-General of the People's Action Party
Assumed office
23 November 2018
Serving with Chan Chun Sing (Second Assistant Secretary-General)
Preceded byTeo Chee Hean
Member of the Singapore Parliament
for Tampines GRC
Adviser to Tampines Grassroots Organisations
Assumed office
9 May 2011
Preceded bySin Boon Ann
Majority18,347 (14.4%)
Personal details
Born (1961-11-01) 1 November 1961 (age 58)
Colony of Singapore
Political partyPeople's Action Party
Alma materRaffles Institution
Christ's College, Cambridge
Harvard University

Heng Swee Keat (Chinese: 王瑞杰; pinyin: Wáng Ruìjié; born 1 November 1961) is a Singaporean politician. A member of the country's governing People's Action Party (PAP), he is currently the Deputy Prime Minister (since 2019), Minister for Finance (since 2015) and First Assistant Secretary-General of the country's governing People’s Action Party (PAP) (since 2018) under the current Prime Minister and the Secretary-General of the People's Action Party, Lee Hsien Loong. He was previously the Minister for Education from May 2011 to September 2015. He has been a member of parliament (MP) representing the Tampines Group Representation Constituency (Tampines GRC) since the 2011 general election.[1] He is currently the first assistant secretary-general of the People's Action Party and is poised to be the next Prime Minister of Singapore, succeeding Lee Hsien Loong.[2] On 1 May 2019, Heng became the 12th Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore.[3] He is also the first solo Deputy PM in 34 years. From 1985 to 2019, Singapore had two sitting deputy prime ministers working at the same time.

Prior to his election to Parliament, Heng served as the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) from 2005 to 2011.


Early career[edit]

In 1983, Heng began his career in the Singapore Police Force where he was awarded the SPF Overseas Scholarship from then President Devan Nair.[4] In 1997, he then joined the Singapore Civil Service's Administrative Service. He served a period at the Ministry of Education, before being appointed the Principal Private Secretary to former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (who was then Senior Minister) in 1997. In 2001, Heng became the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.[5] He then served as managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore from 2005 to 2011.[6]

In February 2011, Heng was named the Asia-Pacific Central Bank Governor of the Year by the British magazine The Banker.[7]

Political career[edit]

At the 2011 general election, Heng was a People's Action Party (PAP) candidate in the Tampines Group Representation Constituency (Tampines GRC). When he was introduced as a candidate, former Prime Minister (and Emeritus Senior Minister) Goh Chok Tong tipped Heng to be a potential minister and core member of Singapore's fourth generation leadership team.[8] Heng was one of five PAP candidates in his constituency in a team led by then-Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan, which also included Minister of State Masagos Zulkifli, Irene Ng, and Baey Yam Keng. They faced a team from the National Solidarity Party (NSP), led by the party's then-Secretary-General Goh Meng Seng (now the leader of People's Power Party), along with Reno Fong, Syafarin Sarif, Raymond Lim and Gilbert Goh. On polling day on 7 May, the PAP team won the contest with 57.22% of the votes.[9] (This represented a drop of 11.29% from the PAP's percentage of the votes in the constituency at the 2006 general election.)[10]

On 22 November 2018, Heng succeeded Teo Chee Hean as the Party's first Assistant Secretary-General.[11] The following day, on the CEC election, Heng was appointed as the first Assistant Secretary-General.[12][13]

Minister for Education (2011-2015)[edit]

On 18 May 2011, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong appointed Heng to the Cabinet as the Minister for Education. Heng was the second first-term MP-elect to be directly promoted to a member of Cabinet, after Richard Hu back in 1984.

In August 2012, Heng was tasked to lead a new ministerial committee to conduct a broad-based review of the Government's policies and direction.[14]

Minister for Finance (2015-present)[edit]

On 28 September 2015, it was announced that Heng will be the Minister of Finance from 1 October.[15]

On 24 April 2018, it was announced that Heng will take over responsibility for assisting the Prime Minister on National Research Foundation matters from Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean effectively from 1 May.[16]

On 19 February 2018, Heng announced on his annual budget statement in parliament that he plans to raise GST from 7% to 9% some time between 2021 and 2025. He said, "the GST increase is necessary because even after exploring various options to manage our future expenditures through prudent spending, saving and borrowing for infrastructure, there is still a gap".[17]

Deputy Prime Minister (2019-present)[edit]

On 23 April 2019, Prime Minister Office announced that Heng would assume the role as the 12th Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore effective from 1 May 2019.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Heng is married to Chang Hwee Nee, CEO of the National Heritage Board. Heng has 2 children.[18][19][20]


On 12 May 2016, Heng Swee Keat collapsed from a stroke during a Cabinet meeting. He was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he underwent neurosurgery to relieve pressure in his brain. He was transferred to the ICU after the surgery.[21] Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, was immediately appointed to cover Mr Heng's duties.[22]

On 25 June 2016, Heng Swee Keat was discharged from hospital after 6 weeks. The Prime Minister's Office said on a statement that Mr Heng "has made an excellent recovery", but is still on medical leave as he continues his rehabilitation. He resumed his duties as MP and Finance Minister on 22 August 2016.

Despite his stroke, Heng is seen as a leading contender to be the next Prime Minister of Singapore.[23]


He completed his pre-university education at Raffles Institution.

In 1983, Heng graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Economics from Christ's College, Cambridge. As is Oxbridge tradition, the BA is automatically converted to an MA six years after matriculation. Thus, Heng holds a Master of Arts in economics from the University of Cambridge.[24]

In 1993, Heng obtained a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[24]

Notable awards[edit]


  1. ^ Parliamentary Elections Act (Chapter 218) [candidates declared to have been elected Members of Parliament at the 2011 general election] (G.N. No. 1229/2011)[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ hermes (24 November 2018). "Heng Swee Keat picked as 4G leader, with Chan Chun Sing as deputy". The Straits Times. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Heng Swee Keat to be promoted to DPM in Cabinet reshuffle". Channel NewsAsia. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  4. ^ http://www.mha.gov.sg/news_details.aspx?nid=Nzk3-uw4ySnZavTA%3D[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Minister for Education Mr HENG Swee Keat, Cabinet of Singapore, 12 June 2012, archived from the original on 7 December 2013
  6. ^ "MAS chief Heng Swee Keat steps down", The Straits Times, 31 March 2011
  7. ^ "MAS chief named top central bank governor for Asia-Pacific", The Straits Times, 12 February 2011
  8. ^ "Heng Swee Keat has 'potential to be Minister'", The Straits Times, 2 April 2011
  9. ^ 2011 Parliamentary Election Results, Elections Department, 8 October 2013, archived from the original on 6 March 2014
  10. ^ 2006 Parliamentary Election Results, Elections Department, 8 October 2013, archived from the original on 17 January 2018, retrieved 6 March 2014
  11. ^ "Heng Swee Keat to be PAP 1st assistant secretary-general, and next PM: Party sources". TODAYOnline. 22 November 2018.
  12. ^ "PAP's new CEC". PAP.org.sg. 23 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Heng Swee Keat picked as PAP's first assistant secretary-general, indicating he will be next PM". StraitsTimes. 23 November 2018.
  14. ^ "National conversation on common future welcomed: Goh Chok Tong", The Straits Times, 12 August 2012
  15. ^ Nurhidayah (28 September 2015). "Transcript of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's Statement at the Press Conference on the new Cabinet Line-Up on 28 September 2015". Prime Minister‘s Office Singapore.
  16. ^ Anthony_chia (24 April 2018). "Changes to Cabinet and Other Appointments (Apr 2018)". Prime Minister‘s Office Singapore.
  17. ^ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-19/singapore-plans-to-boost-gst-to-9-as-spending-pressures-mount
  18. ^ AW, CHENG WEI (2 March 2015). "Two former First Ladies attend Girl Guides event". The Straits Times. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  19. ^ "Chang Hwee Nee appointed National Heritage Board CEO". 20 March 2017. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Heng Swee Keat: I protested when I was moved". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  21. ^ "Heng Swee Keat out of surgery; in ICU after stroke". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  22. ^ "Heng Swee Keat in stable condition: PM Lee". Channel NewsAsia. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  23. ^ hermesauto (26 January 2018). "Singapore's 4G leaders need more time to gain exposure and experience: Analysts". The Straits Times. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  24. ^ a b http://app.psd.gov.sg/data/Press%20Release%20-%20Snr%20Appt%20Changes%20(21%20Feb).doc Archived 23 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Koh Yong Guan
Managing Director
of the Monetary Authority of Singapore

2005 – 2011
Succeeded by
Ravi Menon
Political offices
Preceded by
Ng Eng Hen
Minister for Education
2011 – 2015
Succeeded by
Ng Chee Meng
as Minister for Education (Schools)
Succeeded by
Ong Ye Kung
as Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills)
Preceded by
Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Minister for Finance
2015 – present
Preceded by
Teo Chee Hean
Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Deputy Prime Minister
2019 – present
Parliament of Singapore
Preceded by
Sin Boon Ann
Member of Parliament
for Tampines GRC (Tampines Central)

2011 – present