Tharman Shanmugaratnam

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Tharman Shanmugaratnam
தர்மன் சண்முகரத்தினம்
Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the official opening of Yuan Ching Secondary School's new building, Singapore - 20100716 (cropped).jpg
Tharman in 2010
Senior Minister of Singapore
Assumed office
1 May 2019
Serving with Teo Chee Hean
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byVacant
ConstituencyJurong GRC
Coordinating Minister for Social Policies
Assumed office
1 October 2015
Economic and Social Policies : 1 October 2015 – 30 April 2019
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byHeng Swee Keat
(Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies)
Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore
In office
21 May 2011 – 1 May 2019
Serving with Teo Chee Hean
President
See list
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byWong Kan Seng
Succeeded byHeng Swee Keat
Minister for Manpower
In office
21 May 2011 – 31 July 2012
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byGan Kim Yong
Succeeded byTan Chuan-Jin
Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore
Assumed office
1 May 2011
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
DeputyLim Hng Kiang
(2006–2021)
Lawrence Wong
(2021–present)
Minister for FinanceHimself
(2007–2015)
Heng Swee Keat
(2015–2021)
Lawrence Wong
(2021–present)
Preceded byGoh Chok Tong
Minister for Finance
In office
1 December 2007 – 30 September 2015
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byLee Hsien Loong
Succeeded byHeng Swee Keat
Minister for Education
In office
1 August 2003 – 31 March 2008
Prime Minister
Preceded byTeo Chee Hean
Succeeded byNg Eng Hen
Member of the Singaporean Parliament
for Jurong GRC
(Taman Jurong)
Assumed office
3 November 2001
Preceded byPosition established
Majority60,501 (49.24%)
Personal details
Born1957 (age 64–65)[1]
Singapore
Political partyPeople's Action Party
Spouse(s)Jane Yumiko Ittogi
Children4
EducationLondon School of Economics (BS)
University of Cambridge (MPhil)
Harvard University (MPA)
Occupation
  • Politician
  • economist

Tharman Shanmugaratnam (Tamil: தர்மன் சண்முகரத்தினம்; born 25 February 1957) is a Singaporean politician and economist serving as the Senior Minister of Singapore since 1 May 2019, after serving as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister for eight years respectively. He is also Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, and advises the Prime Minister on economic policies. He chairs the National Jobs Council aimed at rebuilding skills and jobs in the wake of COVID-19. He is concurrently the Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore's central bank and financial regulator.

Internationally, Tharman co-chairs the G20 High Level Independent Panel on Global Financing for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, established in January 2021, together with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Lawrence Summers. In March 2022, Tharman was appointed as a member of the United Nations’ High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism.[2] He also chairs the Group of Thirty, a global council of economic and financial leaders from the public and private sectors and academia. In addition, he co-chairs the Global Education Forum, and the Advisory Board for the UN's Human Development Report. He is a member of the World Economic Forum Board of Trustees.

Tharman led the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance which in October 2018 proposed reforms in development finance and the international monetary system to advance a new, cooperative international order. He earlier chaired the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the IMF’s key policy forum, for four years. He was its first Asian chair.

Tharman has spent most of his working life in public service, in roles principally related to economic and social policies. He served as Deputy Prime Minister for eight years (from 2011). He also served as Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies for four years (from 2015). He was Minister for Finance for eight years (from 2007), and Minister for Education for five years (from 2003).[3] He has been Chairman of MAS since 2011. In addition to his responsibilities in the Government, he is Deputy Chairman of GIC and chairs its Investment Strategies Committee.

Tharman is a Member of Parliament representing Jurong GRC (for Taman Jurong) and an advisor of Jurong GRC Grassroots Organisations. He was first elected as Member of Parliament on 3 November 2001, and has been re-elected four times since.

Early life and education[edit]

Tharman attended the Anglo-Chinese School in Singapore. He obtained a bachelor degree at the London School of Economics; LSE later honored him with an Honorary Fellowship in 2011.[4] He subsequently obtained an MPhil in economics from the University of Cambridge,[5] and a Master in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he received a Lucius N. Littauer Fellow award for outstanding performance and potential. Tharman was a student activist while studying in the United Kingdom during the 1970s.[6] He originally held socialist beliefs, but his views on economics changed over the course of his working career.

Political Career[edit]

Following the 2001 general election, Tharman was appointed Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Education. He then served as the Minister for Education from 2003 to 2008.

In May 2006, Tharman was also appointed Second Minister for Finance[7] before becoming Minister for Finance on 1 December 2007.[8]

Following the 2011 general election, Tharman was appointed Deputy Prime Minister, while remaining as Minister for Finance. He served concurrently as the Minister for Manpower between May 2011 to July 2012. He stepped down as Minister for Finance in September 2015 after 9 years. After the 2015 general election, Tharman remained Deputy Prime Minister and was also appointed as Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies in October 2015.[9]

Tharman was first elected Member of Parliament in Nov 2001 in Jurong GRC, and has been re-elected four times since. At the 2015 general elections, Jurong GRC, helmed by Tharman, garnered a vote share of 79.3 per cent against a Singaporeans First (SingFirst) team. Tharman has been elected to the Central Executive Committee of the People's Action Party since Dec 2002, and was appointed 2nd Assistant Secretary-General in May 2011.

In May 2017, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) conferred on Tharman the Medal of Honour, the highest of its May Day Awards. NTUC cited amongst other things "his deep commitment to building an inclusive society".[10]

On 23 April 2019, the Prime Minister Office's cabinet reshuffle announced that Tharman, alongside Teo Chee Hean, would be relinquishing their respective Deputy Prime Minister portfolios, and appointed Senior Ministers effective from 1 May onwards. Tharman would also be Coordinating Minister for Social Policies and advise the Prime Minister on economic policies.[11]

Career before politics[edit]

Tharman started his career at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), where he became its chief economist. He later joined the Singapore Administrative Service and served in the Ministry of Education as Senior Deputy Secretary for Policy,[12] before returning to the MAS where he eventually became its Managing Director.[13] He resigned from this position to contest in the 2001 general election as a candidate for the People's Action Party.

While serving as director of the Economics Department of the  MAS in 1992, Tharman was one of five persons charged under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) in a case involving the publication of Singapore's 1992 second-quarter flash GDP growth projections in the Business Times newspaper. The others included the editor, Patrick Daniel, of the Business Times.[14]

The OSA case, which stretched over more than a year, was reported extensively in the Singapore press.[15][16] Tharman contested and was eventually acquitted of the charge of communicating the GDP growth flash projections.[17] The District Court then introduced a lesser charge of negligence, as the prosecution's case had been that the figures were seen on a document that he had with him on a table during his meeting with private sector economists together with one of his colleagues.[18] Tharman also contested this lesser charge of negligence, and defended himself on the witness stand for a few days.[19]

The Court nevertheless convicted him together with all the others in the case.[20] Tharman was fined S$1,500, and the others S$2,000.[20] As there was no finding that he communicated any classified information, the case did not pose any hurdle to his subsequent appointment as the Managing Director of the MAS, nor to his subsequent larger national responsibilities.

Other national and international appointments[edit]

In January 2021, Tharman was appointed by the G20 to co-chair the G20 High Level Independent Panel (HLIP) on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, together with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Lawrence Summers. In March 2022, Tharman was appointed as a member of the United Nations’ High Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism.[2]

In April 2017, Tharman was appointed by the G20 to chair a G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance. In Oct 2018, the Group proposed reforms[21] for a more effective system of global development finance and for financial stability. Tharman also succeeded Jean-Claude Trichet as Chairman of the Group of Thirty, an independent global council of leading economic and financial policy-makers from January 1, 2017.[22]

Tharman had previously been appointed by his international peers as Chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the key policy forum of the IMF, for an extended period of four years from 2011; he was its first Asian chair. In announcing Tharman's selection, the IMF said that his "broad experience, deep knowledge of economic and financial issues, and active engagement with global policy makers will be highly valuable to the IMFC".[23]

Since 2019, Tharman has been the co-chair of the Advisory Board for UN's Human Development Report. He co-chaired with Thomas Piketty in 2019 and Michael Spence for the 2020 edition,[24] and is co-chairing the Advisory Board for the 2021/22 edition with Michele Lamont.[25]

In May 2019, Tharman was admitted to the World Economic Forum Board of Trustees.[26]

Tharman has been the chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) since May 2011.[27][28] He is appointed as the Deputy Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) as of May 2019, and chairs its Investment Strategy Committee.

Tharman led the SkillsFuture programme, launched in 2014 with the aim of developing skills of the future, and opportunities for life-long learning and job upskilling among Singaporeans. He subsequently chaired the tripartite Council for Skills, Innovation and Productivity (CSIP) until May 2017.[29]

He currently also chairs the Economic Development Board's International Advisory Council,[30] and the International Academic Advisory Panel that advises the Government on strategies for the university sector.[31]

Among his other roles, he chairs the Board of Trustees of the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA),[32] which seeks to uplift educational performance and aspirations in the Indian Singapore community. He also chairs the Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute.

Personal life[edit]

Tharman is a Singaporean of Ceylonese Tamil[33] [34]ancestry. One of three children, he is the son of Emeritus Professor K. Shanmugaratnam,[34] a medical scientist known as the "father of pathology in Singapore", who founded the Singapore Cancer Registry and led a number of international organisations related to cancer research and pathology.[35][36][37]

Tharman is married to Jane Yumiko Ittogi, a lawyer of Chinese-Japanese descent.[38] She is actively engaged in social enterprise and the non-profit arts sector. The couple have one daughter and three sons.

Tharman was an active sportsman in his youth, and has highlighted the way sports instils lessons for life. He spoke about sports as a form of education in Game for Life: 25 Journeys[39], published by the Singapore Sports Council in 2013, as "a huge deal for character... Children learn the value of teams. They learn the discipline of repeated practice, and how there is no other way to develop expertise. Plus, the ability to fall or lose in competition and pick oneself up… with humility."

In Chinese-language media, Tharman is usually referred to as Shàng Dámàn (尚达曼), an approximate transliteration of Tharman Shanmugaratnam. It was given to him by a leading language specialist in 1995.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MP | Parliament Of Singapore".
  2. ^ a b "Note to Correspondents: Secretary-General's High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism Comprises 12 Eminent Current or Former Global Leaders, Officials, Experts". United Nations. 18 March 2022.
  3. ^ "Singapore, CNA. "PM Lee and Singapore's new Cabinet sworn in"". Archived from the original on 5 October 2015.
  4. ^ "LSE announces its new Honorary Fellows". Archived from the original on 3 October 2015.
  5. ^ "New MAS chief is top-notch economist". Straits Times – via Factiva.
  6. ^ "Ching, Leong (29 October 2001). "Politics not new to former student activist"". Straits Times – via Factiva.
  7. ^ The Government of Singapore (21 June 2006). "The Cabinet – Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam". Archived from the original on 18 March 2007.
  8. ^ Popatlal, Asha (29 November 2007). "PM Lee to relinquish Finance Minister post, Tharman takes over". Archived from the original on 30 November 2007.
  9. ^ CNA, Singapore. "PM Lee and Singapore's new Cabinet sworn in". Archived from the original on 5 October 2015.
  10. ^ "NTUC news". Archived from the original on 25 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Heng Swee Keat to be promoted to DPM in Cabinet reshuffle". Archived from the original on 23 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Financial review panel formed". Straits Times. 23 August 1997 – via Factiva.
  13. ^ "Singapore Monetary Authority gets new managing director". Agence France-Presse. Factiva. 20 February 2001.
  14. ^ Richardson, Michael (22 October 1993). "Singapore Puts Top Prosecutor on News Leak". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016.
  15. ^ Fernandez, Warren (29 April 1993). "Four to be tried jointly; 'no' to more information". Straits Times. Factiva.
  16. ^ "Secret memo shows ISD didn't probe 'leak' of sectoral figures". Straits Times. Factiva. 29 October 1993.
  17. ^ Fernandez, Warren (5 December 1993). "No proof Shanmugaratnam passed secret info: Judge". Straits Times. Factiva.
  18. ^ "Singapore 'Secrets' Trial Downgraded". South China Morning Post. Factiva. 6 December 1993.
  19. ^ Sen, Ajoy (3 March 1994). "Singapore secrets trial hears testimony on security". Reuters. Factiva.
  20. ^ a b "Journalists, economists guilty after marathon trial". Agence France-Presse. Factiva. 31 March 1994.
  21. ^ "G20 Eminent Persons Group(EPG) on Global Financial Governance". Archived from the original on 26 September 2019.
  22. ^ Yong, Charissa (1 December 2016). "Tharman to chair global financial experts' group". Archived from the original on 1 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Press Release: IMFC Selects Tharman Shanmugaratnam as New Chairman". Archived from the original on 14 May 2011.
  24. ^ "2020 Human Development Report Advisory Board Members". Human Development Reports.
  25. ^ "2021/22 Human Development Report Advisory Board Members". Human Development Reports.
  26. ^ "World Economic Forum appoints new member to Board of Trustees". World Economic Forum. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019.
  27. ^ "Our History". www.mas.gov.sg. Archived from the original on 30 March 2020.
  28. ^ "Executive Profile: Tharman Shanmugaratnam". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 24 November 2017.
  29. ^ Lam, Lydia (1 May 2017). "Jobs, jobs, jobs: 8 highlights from PM Lee Hsien Loong's May Day Rally". Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2 December 2017.
  30. ^ Kang Shiong, Goh (25 April 2014). "Tharman to chair EDB's International Advisory Council". Business Times.
  31. ^ Ng, Jing Yng (27 June 2015). "Tertiary programme outcomes should be assessed, says panel". Today. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017.
  32. ^ "Ten prominent Indians get two-year terms on Sinda board". Straits Times. Factiva. 14 August 1991.
  33. ^ "Mutton munchy". 12 July 2015. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016.
  34. ^ a b "Tamils in Federated Malaya and Singapore". Daily News. 19 February 2016. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018.
  35. ^ "Aiyoh! After 16 years, he still can't say 'lah". Archived from the original on 5 October 2016.
  36. ^ "Interview with Emeritus Professor K Shanmugaratnam" (PDF). SMA News. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 December 2010.
  37. ^ "Working Overtime". Archived from the original on 5 October 2016.
  38. ^ "Try discipline with love – Acting Education Minister Tharman: My kids, their Mandarin and their future in China". The New Paper. 9 June 2004. Archived from the original on 22 January 2008.
  39. ^ "Game for Life: 25 Journeys" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 October 2019.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Singapore
New constituency Member of the Singaporean Parliament
for Taman Jurong's Jurong Group Representation Constituency

2001–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Education
2003–2008
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Finance
2007–2015
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore
2011–2019
Served alongside: Teo Chee Hean
Preceded by Minister for Manpower
2011–2012
Succeeded by
New office Coordinating Minister for Social Policies
Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies: 2015–2019

2015–present
Incumbent
Vacant
Title last held by
S. Jayakumar
Goh Chok Tong
2011
Senior Minister of Singapore
2019–present
Served alongside: Teo Chee Hean
Government offices
Preceded by Chair of the Monetary Authority of Singapore
2011–present
Incumbent