Lim Hng Kiang

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Lim Hng Kiang
Minister Lim Hng Kiang.jpg
Minister for Trade
(Ministry of Trade & Industry)
In office
1 October 2015 – 30 April 2018
Serving with S. Iswaran (Industry)
Preceded byHimself
(As Minister for Trade and Industry)
Succeeded byChan Chun Sing (Trade and Industry)
ConstituencyWest Coast Group Representation Constituency
Minister for Trade & Industry
In office
12 August 2004 – 30 September 2015
Preceded byGeorge Yeo
Succeeded byHimself (Trade Minister)
S. Iswaran (Industry Minister)
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
In office
1 August 2003 – 12 August 2004
Succeeded byLim Swee Say
Minister for Health
In office
3 June 1999 – 1 August 2003
Preceded byYeo Cheow Tong
Succeeded byKhaw Boon Wan
Minister for National Development
In office
17 April 1995 – 3 June 1999
Succeeded byMah Bow Tan
Personal details
Born (1954-04-09) 9 April 1954 (age 64)
Political partyPeople's Action Party (1991)
Spouse(s)Lee Ai Boon(deceased)
Alma materChrist's College, Cambridge
Harvard University

Lim Hng Kiang (simplified Chinese: 林勋强; traditional Chinese: 林勛強; pinyin: Lín Xūn Qiáng; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Lîm Hun-kiông, born 9 April 1954) is a former Singaporean politician. He was the country's Minister of Trade. He previously served as the Minister for National Development (1995–99), Minister for Health (1999–2003), and as a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (2003–04). He has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 1991.


Lim was educated in Raffles Institution, before being awarded a President's Scholarship and Singapore Armed Forces Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge, where he completed a degree in engineering in 1976. In 1985, Lim was awarded a scholarship to study for a Master of Public Administration degree at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[1]


Lim began his career in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). He later served as a Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of National Development, and as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Housing and Development Board (HDB).

Lim was first elected to Parliament in 1991 as an MP for the Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency. Since 1997, he has represented the West Coast Group Representation Constituency (West Coast GRC).

Lim was appointed a Minister of State at the Ministry of National Development in 1991. In 1994, he became the Acting Minister for National Development and Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 1995, Lim became the Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs. In 1998, he relinquished the role of Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and became the Second Minister for Finance.

In 1999, Lim became the Minister for Health. He also retained the portfolio of Second Minister for Finance.

During the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic that swept through the region. Many Singaporeans felt his initial handling of the crisis, citing his lack of leadership and indecisiveness, helped prolong the epidemic that eventually drove the economy into a recession.[citation needed] While then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said "SARS has significantly disrupted our economy. It has affected not only tourist spending but also domestic consumption... certainly our first half growth will be affected, and we will have to revise down our growth forecasts for the year." Others cited his calls to quarantine patients and to close and extend local school holidays were late in coming.

Many local residents also pointed to the administrators at Tan Tock Seng Hospital for mishandling and underestimating the severity of SARS. When "At least 85 percent of people infected by SARS in Singapore caught it while visiting or working at hospitals", said Osman David Mansoor at the WHO. "The remainder mostly came down with it at home through close contact with sick family members", he said.[2]

In 2003, Lim was made a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office. He retained the role of Second Minister for Finance.

Lim was made the Minister for Trade and Industry in 2004. He was subsequently put in charge of trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The ministry was split into two, with Lim taking the trade portfolio and the industry portfolio taken by S. Iswaran.[1]

In his tenure as the Minister of Trade, numerous spa, beauty and wellness operators ceased their operations in Singapore. There were hundreds of complaints and legal cases submitted to the Small Claims Tribunal and CASE on the poor service and unethical practices of spa operators. As a consequence of the closure of a major spa operator, True Spa Subtle Senses, leading to a huge amount of money being lost by members, over 400 people submitted a petition to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to step in to protect consumers from being cheated of millions of dollars.

During a Parliamentary session in 2010, Lim commented: "Imposing prescriptive regulations can restrict business flexibility, reduce consumer choice, and potentially lead to higher costs for consumers. A better approach to protect consumers is to help raise their vigilance through consumer education and industry accreditation of spas. CASE has, with MTI's support, launched the CaseTrust for Spa and Wellness Accreditation Scheme in April this year to raise consumers' awareness of spa standards and to put in place good business practices. These include giving customers a cooling-off period of at least five working days to seek full refund of payments made for packages, and not allowing sales pitch to customers during treatment. These measures will help obviate cases where consumers are pressured into buying packages. CASE is also currently looking into requiring financial soundness to be taken into account in the accreditation scheme. We will monitor the situation and refine our approach further, if necessary."[3]

Lim is also the Deputy Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and a Board Director of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC).

Lim stepped down from the cabinet on 30 April 2018[1] and appointed as Special Advisor to MTI.

Personal life[edit]

Lim has two sons,[4] Christopher Lim and Andrew Lim. His wife, Lee Ai Boon, died of cancer in April 2014.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "In retrospect: 3 veteran ministers stepping down to make way for younger leaders". Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  2. ^ Reuters Sat April 5, 2003 07:32 AM ET By Jason Szep
  3. ^
  4. ^ gsi (12 September 2014). "The Cabinet". Prime Minister‘s Office Singapore.
  5. ^ Wife of trade & industry minister dies at 60 Archived 15 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine,, 13 April 2014.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Hu Tsu Tau
Minister for National Development
1994–1995 (Acting), 1995–1999
Succeeded by
Mah Bow Tan
Preceded by
Yeo Cheow Tong
Minister for Health
Succeeded by
Khaw Boon Wan
Preceded by
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
Succeeded by
Lim Swee Say
Preceded by
George Yeo
Minister for Trade and Industry
Succeeded by
as Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade)
Succeeded by
S. Iswaran
as Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry)
Preceded by
as Minister for Trade and Industry
Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade)
Served alongside: S. Iswaran (Industry)
Succeeded by
Chan Chun Sing
as Minister for Trade and Industry
Parliament of Singapore
Preceded by
Koh Lam Son
as MP for Telok Blangah SMC
Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC (Telok Blangah)
Constituency redrawn
New constituency Member of Parliament for West Coast GRC (Telok Blangah)