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
5th Senior Minister of Singapore
Assumed office
1 May 2019
Serving with Teo Chee Hean
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded by
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 byPosition established
Succeeded byHeng Swee Keat
(Co-ordinating Minister for Economic Policies)
Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore
In office
21 May 2011 – 1 May 2019
Serving with Teo Chee Hean
President
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byWong Kan Seng
Succeeded byHeng Swee Keat
ConstituencyJurong GRC
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
Minister for FinanceHimself
(2007–2015)
Heng Swee Keat
(2015–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
Born
Tharman Shanmugaratnam

(1957-02-25) 25 February 1957 (age 63)
Singapore
Political partyPeople's Action Party
Spouse(s)Jane Yumiko Ittogi
Children4
EducationLondon School of Economics (BSc)
University of Cambridge (MPhil)
Harvard University
(MPA)
Signature

Tharman Shanmugaratnam (Tamil: தர்மன் சண்முகரத்தினம்; born 25 February 1957) is a Singaporean politician. He was appointed as the Senior Minister of Singapore & Coordinating Minister for Social Policies by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. He is a Member of Parliament representing Jurong GRC for Taman Jurong.

He stepped down as Deputy Prime Minister after serving for 8 years. He is also and advises the Prime Minister on economic policies. In addition, 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 chairs the Group of Thirty, a global council of economic and financial leaders from the public and private sectors and academia. He also 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 key policy forum of the IMF, for four years; he was its first Asian chair.

Tharman has spent 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),[1] and Minister for Education for five years (from 2003).[2] 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.

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.[3] He subsequently obtained an MPhil in economics from the University of Cambridge,[4] 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.[5] He originally held socialist beliefs, but his views on economics changed over the course of his working career.[5]

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,[6] before returning to the MAS where he eventually became its Managing Director.[7] He resigned from this position to contest in the 2001 general election as a candidate for the People's Action Party.

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[8] before becoming Minister for Finance on 1 December 2007.[9]

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.[1]

Tharman was first elected Member of Parliament in Nov 2001 in Jurong GRC,[10] and has been re-elected three 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".[11]

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 would be 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.[12]

Other national and international appointments[edit]

Tharman and Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India officially launched APIX (Application Programming Interface Exchange) a global Fintech Platform at the Singapore FinTech Festival in 2018.

In April 2017, Tharman was appointed to chair a G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance, which was set up to review the system of international financial institutions. In Oct 2018, the Group proposed reforms[13] 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.[14]

Tharman had previously been appointed by his international peers as Chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC),[15] 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".[15][16]

He co-chaired the Advisory Board for UN's Human Development Report 2019, which focused on inequality, together with Thomas Piketty; and is chairing this year's report with Michael Spence, on the social vulnerabilities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and biodiversity loss.

In May 2019, Tharman was admitted to the World Economic Forum Board of Trustees.[17]

Tharman has been the chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) since May 2011.[18][19] 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.[20]

He currently also chairs the Economic Development Board's International Advisory Council,[21] and the International Academic Advisory Panel that advises the Government on strategies for the university sector.[22]

Among his other roles, he chairs the Board of Trustees of the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA), which seeks to uplift educational performance and aspirations in the Indian Singapore community.[23] He also chairs the Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute.

Legal charge and conviction[edit]

While serving as Director of the Economics Department of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in 1993, 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 projections in the Business Times newspaper. The others were a research director, Raymond Foo, and economist Manu Bhaskaran, of Crosby Securities, journalist Kenneth James and editor Patrick Daniel of the Business Times.[24]

The OSA case, which stretched over more than a year, was reported extensively in the Singapore press.[25] Tharman contested and was eventually acquitted of the charge of communicating the GDP growth flash projections.[26] Senior District Judge Richard Magnus then introduced a lesser charge of negligence, because the prosecution's case was that the figures were seen on a document that he had with him in a meeting room during his meeting with the private sector economists together with one of his colleagues.[27] Tharman also contested this lesser charge of negligence, and defended himself on the witness stand for a few days.[28]

The Court nevertheless convicted him together with all the others in the case, including the editor of Business Times newspaper which published the figures.[29] Tharman was fined S$1,500, and the others S$2,000.[29] 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, or to his subsequent larger national responsibilities.

Personal life[edit]

Tharman is an Indian Singaporean of Ceylonese Tamil ancestry.[30][31] One of three children, he is the son of Emeritus Professor K. Shanmugaratnam,[31] 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.[32][33][34]

Tharman is married to Jane Yumiko Ittogi, a lawyer of Chinese-Japanese heritage.[35] She is actively engaged in social enterprise and the non-profit arts sector. The couple have a daughter and three sons.

Tharman was an active sportsman in his youth, and has highlighted the way sports instills lessons for life. He spoke about sports as a form of education in Game for Life: 25 Journeys[36], 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 and to 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.[35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Singapore, CNA. "PM Lee and Singapore's new Cabinet sworn in". CNA. Archived from the original on 5 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  2. ^ Wong, May (29 March 2008). "PM Lee unveils cabinet changes". Channel News Asia. Singapore. Archived from the original on 31 March 2008.
  3. ^ "LSE announces its new Honorary Fellows". lse.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  4. ^ "New MAS chief is top-notch economist". Straits Times. Factiva. 21 February 2001.
  5. ^ a b Ching, Leong (29 October 2001). "Politics not new to former student activist". Straits Times. Factiva.
  6. ^ "Financial review panel formed". Straits Times. Factiva. 23 August 1997.
  7. ^ "Singapore Monetary Authority gets new managing director". Agence France-Presse. Factiva. 20 February 2001.
  8. ^ The Government of Singapore (21 June 2006). "The Cabinet – Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam". Archived from the original on 18 March 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2007.
  9. ^ Popatlal, Asha (29 November 2007). "PM Lee to relinquish Finance Minister post, Tharman takes over". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 30 November 2007. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  10. ^ gsi (11 September 2014). "Mr Tharman SHANMUGARATNAM". Prime Minister‘s Office Singapore. Archived from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  11. ^ "NTUC news". Archived from the original on 25 August 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Heng Swee Keat to be promoted to DPM in Cabinet reshuffle". Channel NewsAsia. 23 April 2019. Archived from the original on 23 April 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  13. ^ "Making the Global Financial System Work For All | G20 Eminent Persons Group(EPG) on Global Financial Governance". www.globalfinancialgovernance.org. Archived from the original on 26 September 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  14. ^ Yong, Charissa (1 December 2016). "Tharman to chair global financial experts' group". Straits Times. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "World Economic Forum appoints new member to Board of Trustees". World Economic Forum. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Our History". www.mas.gov.sg. Archived from the original on 14 September 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  19. ^ "Executive Profile: Tharman Shanmugaratnam". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 20 September 2020. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  20. ^ 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. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  21. ^ Kang Shiong, Goh (25 April 2014). "Tharman to chair EDB's International Advisory Council". Business Times.
  22. ^ Ng, Jing Yng (27 June 2015). "Tertiary programme outcomes should be assessed, says panel". Today (newspaper). Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  23. ^ "Ten prominent Indians get two-year terms on Sinda board". Straits Times. Factiva. 14 August 1991.
  24. ^ Richardson, Michael (22 October 1993). "Singapore Puts Top Prosecutor on News Leak". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  25. ^ e.g., Fernandez, Warren (29 April 1993). "Four to be tried jointly; 'no' to more information". Straits Times. Factiva., "Secret memo shows ISD didn't probe 'leak' of sectoral figures". Straits Times. Factiva. 29 October 1993.
  26. ^ Fernandez, Warren (5 December 1993). "No proof Shanmugaratnam passed secret info: Judge". Straits Times. Factiva.
  27. ^ "Singapore 'Secrets' Trial Downgraded". South China Morning Post. Factiva. 6 December 1993.
  28. ^ Sen, Ajoy (3 March 1994). "Singapore secrets trial hears testimony on security". Reuters. Factiva.
  29. ^ a b "Journalists, economists guilty after marathon trial". Agence France-Presse. Factiva. 31 March 1994.
  30. ^ "Mutton munchy". The Straits Times. 12 July 2015. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  31. ^ a b "Tamils in Federated Malaya and Singapore". Daily News. 19 February 2016. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  32. ^ "Aiyoh! After 16 years, he still can't say 'lah'". The New Paper. Courtesy of nuh.com.sg. 4 September 2010. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  33. ^ "Interview with Emeritus Professor K Shanmugaratnam" (PDF). SMA News. 38 (5). May 2006. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  34. ^ "Working Overtime". The Straits Times. Courtesy of nuh.com.sg. 1 May 2010. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  35. ^ a b "Try discipline with love – Acting Education Minister Tharman: My kids, their Mandarin and their future in China". The New Paper. Singapore. 9 June 2004. Archived from the original on 22 January 2008. (The canes) are for his three sons, aged 10, 12 and 13 and an 8-year-old daughter; His lawyer-wife, Madam Jane Yumiko Ittogi, is of Japanese-Chinese parentage and can speak Teochew; Mr Tharman revealed that the Chinese translation of his name, Shang Da Man, was given by a language specialist in 1995.
  36. ^ "Game for Life: 25 Journeys" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 October 2019. Retrieved 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
Teo Chee Hean
Minister for Education
2003–2008
Succeeded by
Ng Eng Hen
Preceded by
Lee Hsien Loong
Minister for Finance
2007–2015
Succeeded by
Heng Swee Keat
Preceded by
Wong Kan Seng
Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore
2011–2019
Served alongside: Teo Chee Hean
Preceded by
Gan Kim Yong
Minister for Manpower
2011–2012
Succeeded by
Tan Chuan-Jin
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
Goh Chok Tong
Chair of the Monetary Authority of Singapore
2011–present
Incumbent