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
Appointer Prime Minister of Singapore
Formation 1985
First holder S. Rajaratnam
Final holder Goh Chok Tong
S. Jayakumar

Senior Minister (abbreviation: SM) is a political office in the Cabinet of Singapore. The holder of this office is typically a former Prime Minister or former Deputy Minister.

S Rajaratnam was one of the co-founders of the People’s Action Party. Upon Independence in 1965, he served as the country’s first Minister for Foreign Affairs before being appointed Deputy Prime Minister in 1980. He then took on the newly created role of Senior Minister in 1985, before his retirement in 1988. [1]

Lee Kuan Yew was the country’s first Prime Minister. Upon his handover to Goh Chok Tong in 1990, he was appointed Senior Minister by his successor. He was ranked second in the order of precedence, superseding the country’s sitting Deputy PMs.[2]

Goh Chok Tong was appointed Senior Minister in 2004, upon his handover to the country’s third Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. As SM, he was ranked second in the order of precedence, while Lee Kuan Yew, appointed Minister Mentor, was third in the order of precedence. [3]

Both Goh and Lee resigned from cabinet after the 2011 General Elections. They remained in Parliament as backbench MPs. [4]

S Jayakumar relinquished his Deputy Prime Minister role in 2009 and was appointed Senior Minister. He retired in politics before the 2011 General Elections.[5]

List of Senior Ministers of Singapore[edit]

Name Start of term End of term
S. Rajaratnam 1985 1988
Lee Kuan Yew 28 Nov 1990 12 Aug 2004
Goh Chok Tong 12 August 2004 21 May 2011
S Jayakumar 1 Apr 2009 21 May 2011

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Library Board, Singapore. "S. Rajaratnam". 
  2. ^ RACHEL CHANG. "New man at the helm: The first leadership handover, from Lee Kuan Yew". The Straits Times. 
  3. ^ National Library Board, Singapore. "Goh Chok Tong". 
  4. ^ "SM Goh, MM Lee to leave Cabinet". Channel NewsAsia (Singapore). 14 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Valedictory Letter from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Prof S Jayakumar".