Emeritus Senior Minister

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The title "Senior Minister" was also a title used in Canada, before "Deputy Prime Minister" was introduced in 1977.
Senior Minister of Singapore
Residence Sri Temasek
Appointer Prime Minister of Singapore
Formation 1985
First holder S. Rajaratnam
Final holder Goh Chok Tong
S. Jayakumar
Abolished 21 May 2011 (post renamed as "Emeritus Senior Minister")

Senior Minister (abbreviation: SM) is a political office in the Cabinet of Singapore. It is taken by a retired Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister. This, however, implies a reliance on a dominant-party system, and several opposition critics find this as evidence for contempt for the political opposition in Singapore.[citation needed] Currently, this political post has been renamed as Emeritus Senior Minister (since May 2011). This is an unofficial new political post taken by Singapore's second Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong after his retirement from the cabinet.

The position of Senior Minister has only been held by four persons – Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, who were the first and second Prime Ministers of Singapore respectively; and S. Rajaratnam and S. Jayakumar, who served as Deputy Prime Ministers. Lee Kuan Yew was Senior Minister from 1990 to 2004, after which he became Minister Mentor in the Cabinet of Singapore's third Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Goh Chok Tong replaced Lee Kuan Yew as Senior Minister in Lee Hsien Loong's Cabinet. On 26 March 2009, Lee Hsien Loong announced that S. Jayakumar would relinquish his post as Deputy Prime Minister and be appointed Senior Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.

S. Rajaratnam retired from political office in 1988 and died in 2006. S. Jayakumar retired from politics prior to the 2011 General Elections. Seven days after the elections, on 14 May 2011, Goh Chok Tong and Lee Kuan Yew announced their retirement from the Cabinet.[1]

In Singapore, the terms for Senior Minister in the country's three other official languages are as follows:

  • Chinese (Mandarin):
  • Malay: Menteri Kanan
  • Tamil: Cirēṣṭa amaiccar (Tamil: சிரேஷ்ட அமைச்சர்)

List of Senior Ministers of Singapore[edit]

Senior Minister Start of term End of term
S. Rajaratnam 1985 1988
Lee Kuan Yew 28 November 1990 12 August 2004
Goh Chok Tong 12 August 2004 21 May 2011
S Jayakumar 1 April 2009 21 May 2011

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SM Goh, MM Lee to leave Cabinet". Channel NewsAsia (Singapore). 14 May 2011.