S. Jayakumar

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Shunmugam Jayakumar
Jayakumar (1).jpg
Senior Minister
In office
1 April 2009 – 21 May 2011
Serving with Goh Chok Tong
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byGoh Chok Tong(2004-2011)
Succeeded byGoh Chok Tong(ESM)
Co-ordinating Minister for National Security
In office
1 September 2005 – 31 October 2010
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byTan Keng Yam Tony
Succeeded byWong Kan Seng
Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore
In office
12 August 2004 – 1 April 2009
Serving with Tony Tan, Wong Kan Seng
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byLee Hsien Loong
Succeeded byTeo Chee Hean
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
2 January 1994 – 12 August 2004
Prime MinisterGoh Chok Tong
Preceded byWong Kan Seng
Succeeded byGeorge Yeo
Minister for Law
In office
12 September 1988 – 30 April 2008
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Goh Chok Tong
Lee Hsien Loong
Preceded byEdmund William Barker
Succeeded byP Subramani
Minister for Home Affairs
In office
2 January 1985 – 1 January 1994
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Goh Chok Tong
Preceded byChua Sian Chin
Succeeded byWong Kan Seng
Member of Parliament
for East Coast GRC (Bedok)
Bedok SMC (1980–1988)
Bedok GRC (Bedok) (1988–1997)
In office
1997 – 7 May 2011
Preceded byhimself (Bedok GRC-Bedok)
Succeeded byLim Swee Say
Permanent Representative to the United Nations
In office
Personal details
Born (1939-08-12) 12 August 1939 (age 79)
Singapore, Straits Settlements
Political partyPeople's Action Party (1980-2011)
Spouse(s)Lalitha Rajahram
Alma materNational University of Singapore
ProfessionLawyer, diplomat

Shunmugam Jayakumar (born 12 August 1939),[1] often known as S. Jayakumar, is a former Singaporean politician, lawyer and diplomat. He is of Indian Tamil ancestry. A former member of the governing People's Action Party (PAP), he previously served as Singapore's Senior Minister in the Cabinet and the Co-ordinating Minister for National Security from 2009 to 2011, Deputy Prime Minister from 2004 to 2009, Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1994 to 2004, Minister for Home Affairs from 1988 to 1994, Minister for Law from 1988 to 2008, and Minister for Labour from 1984 to 1985. He was a member of parliament (MP) for the constituency of Bedok within the East Coast Group Representation Constituency. In May 2011 he retired from politics due to health reasons.[2]

Academic career[edit]

Jayakumar received his secondary education in Raffles Institution, before going on to the University of Singapore where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours). He was admitted to the Bar in 1964, and then furthered his education at Yale Law School where he received a Master of Laws degree in 1966. Upon his return to Singapore, Jayakumar took on a lecturing position in the Faculty of Law at the National University of Singapore from 1964 to 1981, assuming the position of Dean of the Faculty in 1974.

Political career[edit]

Jayakumar served as Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) and High Commissioner to Canada from 1971 to 1974, and was a member of Singapore's delegation to the UN Law of the Sea Conference from 1974 to 1979.

Jayakumar authored three books and 32 articles on the topics of constitutional law, international law and legal education. He was awarded the Public Service Star (BBM) in 1980.

In 1980, Jayakumar was elected a member of parliament (MP) for the constituency of Bedok. He was returned as the MP for the same constituency in 1984 as an incumbent, and as one of the three MPs in the newly created Group Representation Constituency (GRC) scheme in 1988. This was again the case, as one of the four MPs in the same GRC in the 1991 General Election. He was re-elected as one of six MPs for the East Coast GRC in the 1997 General Election. In 2006, he was re-elected in the new five-member East Coast GRC.

In 1981, Jayakumar was appointed as a Minister of State at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Law. He entered the Cabinet of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1984 as the Minister for Labour with the additional portfolios of Second Minister for Home Affairs and Second Minister for Law.

Jayakumar was appointed Minister for Home Affairs and Second Minister for Law on 2 January 1985.

In 1988, Jayakumar was appointed Minister for Law and Minister for Home Affairs. He retained these portfolios when Goh Chok Tong became Prime Minister in 1990.

In January 1994, Jayakumar was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law.

On 12 August 2004 when it was his 65th birthday, Jayakumar was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Law in the Cabinet of the new Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong. On 1 September 2005, Jayakumar took over the role as Co-ordinating Minister for National Security from former President Tony Tan to oversee counter-terrorism policies in Singapore.

Jayakumar stepped down as Minister for Law on 30 April 2008,[3][4] and as Deputy Prime Minister on 1 April 2009.


Jayakumar was appointed a Senior Minister on 1 April 2009 before retiring from politics in 2011.[5] He decided not to contest in the 2011 General Elections due to health reasons.

After retirement, he serves as Chair of the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law's Advisory Council[6] and Patron of the NUS Centre for International Law.[7] He is also presently a consultant with Drew & Napier.[8] In 2015 he published a memoir titled 'Be at the Table or Be on the Menu: A Singapore Memoir'.[9]


On April 2012, Jayakumar was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government.[10]


  1. ^ Profile of Shunmugam Jayakumar
  2. ^ "Senior Minister S. Jayakumar to retire". Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  3. ^ "PM Lee unveils cabinet changes". 29 March 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  4. ^ "Shanmugam gets Law in new Cabinet line-up". 30 March 2008. Archived from the original on 3 April 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2007.
  5. ^ Chang, Rachel. "Former Senior Minister S Jayakumar launches memoir". Straits Times. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  6. ^ NUS Law Advisors.
  7. ^ NUS Centre for International Law Patrons.
  8. ^ Jayakumar, S. "Professor". Drew & Napier LLC. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  9. ^ Abdul Khamid, Hetty Musfirah. "S Jayakumar's book a reminder of Singapore's position in the world: PM Lee". CNA. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Japan to confer award on former DPM Jayakumar". ChannelNewsAsia. Retrieved 29 April 2012.


  • Jayakumar, S. (2003), The water issue: statement by Singapore Foreign Minister Prof S Jayakumar in Parliament, 25 Jan 2003, Singapore: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(Contains official documents, press statements and speeches, correspondence between ministers of Singapore and Malaysia and text of the water agreements)
  • Jayakumar, S. (c. 1996), The Southeast Asian drama: evolution and future challenges : Georgetown University inaugural distinguished lecture on Southeast Asia, Washington DC, 22 April 1996, Singapore(?): Ministry of Foreign Affairs(?)
  • Jayakumar, S.; chairman ... [et al.], eds. (1984). People's Action Party 1954–1984 : Petir 30th anniversary issue. Singapore: Central Executive Committee, People's Action Party.
  • Jayakumar, S., ed. (1982), Our heritage and beyond : a collection of essays on Singapore, its past, present and future, Singapore: Singapore National Trades Union Congress
  • Jayakumar, S.; Chin, Tet Yung (1981), Report on the development of the Faculty of Law, Singapore: National University of Singapore
  • Jayakumar, S. (1976). Constitutional law cases from Malaysia and Singapore. Singapore: Malayan Law Journal.
  • Jayakumar, S. (1976). Constitutional law, with documentary materials. Singapore: Malaya Law Review, Faculty of Law, University of Singapore.
  • Jayakumar, S. (1974). Public international law cases from Malaysia and Singapore. Singapore: Singapore University Press.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
E W Barker
Minister for Labour
(Acting: 1983–1984)
Succeeded by
Lee Yock Suan
as Acting Minister for Labour
Preceded by
Chua Sian Chin
Minister for Home Affairs
Succeeded by
Wong Kan Seng
Preceded by
Edmund W. Barker
Minister for Law
Succeeded by
K Shanmugam
Preceded by
Wong Kan Seng
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
George Yeo
Preceded by
Lee Hsien Loong
Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore
Succeeded by
Teo Chee Hean
Preceded by
Tony Tan
Co-ordinating Minister for National Security
Succeeded by
Wong Kan Seng
New office Senior Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
Position abolished