Zainul Abidin (politician)

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Zainul Abidin
زاينول عابدين
Singapore Ambassador to the
State of Kuwait (non-resident)
Assumed office
27 October 2011
Preceded by Wong Kwok Pun[1]
Mayor of North East District
In office
24 November 2001 – 30 May 2009
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Teo Ser Luck
Senior Minister of State,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
In office
30 May 2006 – 7 May 2011
Member of Parliament
for Aljunied GRC
In office
25 October 2001 – 18 April 2011
Member of Parliament
for Cheng San GRC
(Punggol East)
In office
2 January 1997 – 18 October 2001
Personal details
Born (1948-03-17) 17 March 1948 (age 70)
Nationality Singaporean
Political party People's Action Party
Alma mater National University of Singapore
Occupation Diplomat

Zainul Abidin bin Mohamed Rasheed (Jawi: زاينول عابدين بن محمد رشيايد; born 17 March 1948)[2] is a Singaporean diplomat, business executive and retired politician.[3] He is currently Singapore's ambassador to the State of Kuwait (non-resident) and the Special Envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Middle East. Zainul Abidin Rasheed is also the current chairman of SPH UnionWorks, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).

Prior to his retirement from politics, he served as a Member of Parliament (MP) in Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (Aljunied GRC) from 2001 to 2011.


Zainul Abidin Rasheed attended Jalan Daud Primary School, followed by Raffles Institution and then the National University of Singapore, where he read economics. He was awarded the Gold Outstanding Young Singaporean Award in 1974.


Journalistic career[edit]

Zainul Abidin was a journalist with Singapore Press Holdings between 1976 and 1996, working as an editor for the Asia News Bulletin, Berita Harian and The Sunday Times, and then Associate Editor of The Straits Times, before being seconded to the government sector. He served in Mendaki (1990 - 1993) and Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) (1991-1996).

Political career[edit]

He first stood for the 1997 Singapore general elections under the People's Action Party (PAP) under Cheng San Group Representation Constituency (Cheng San GRC), against the Workers' Party (WP), whose notable candidates were J. B. Jeyaratnam and Tang Liang Hong. The PAP won that constituency.

Zainul Abidin later moved to Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (Aljunied GRC) for the 2001 general elections. In the 2006 general elections, the PAP contested Aljunied GRC against the WP. The PAP garnered 56.09% of the votes in this GRC.

He was appointed Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1998 - 2001. He also held the post of Mayor of the Northeast Community Development Council from 2001 to 2008. He was then appointed Minister of State for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2004 and given a Senior Minister of State role in 2006.

In the 2011 general elections, Zainul Abidin was part of the PAP team which lost Aljunied GRC to the WP, thereby losing his parliament seat. In a post-election interview, he suggested that Lee Kuan Yew's remarks on Malays, Muslims and integration in his book, Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going, may have had some influence over the Malay votes, and "many were hurt by those remarks and remain so.”[4]

Corporate and public service appointments[edit]

He has held various appointments, among them being:

  • Member of the National University of Singapore Council,
  • Member of the board of trustees, NTUC Healthcare Co-operative Ltd
  • Member of the Board of directors of Mendaki Holdings
  • Member of the RI Board of Governors
  • Advisor of the Singapore Port Workers Union
  • Ex-deputy Chairman of the Malay Heritage Foundation
  • Member of the National Medical Ethics Committee

In September 2011, after the general elections, Zainul Abidin Rasheed was appointed as the chairman SPH UnionWorks, owned by the Singapore Press Holdings,[5] which operates two Singapore radio stations 91.3FM and 100.3FM.[6] He was also named as the consultant of the book publishing arm SPH's book publishing arm, Straits Times Press (STP).[7] He is also the non-resident Ambassador to Kuwait[8] and a special envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Middle East.[9][10]

Zainul Abidin Rasheed also serves on the boards of various local and international companies including Chairman of Diamond Energy Corporation, deputy chairman, lead independent director of Australian-listed OM Holdings and acts as corporate adviser to Temasek International.[11] He was on the board of LCD Global Investments from 2014 to 2015.[12] He is a director on the board of Temasek Cares.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Zainul Abidin Rasheed is married with four children.


  1. ^ "MFA Press Statement : Appointment of Singapore's Ambassador to The State of Israel, Singapore's Ambassador to The State of Kuwait and Singapore's Ambassador to The State of Qatar" (Press release). Singapore: Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 28 December 2005. Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  2. ^ Curriculum Vitae., 1 June 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
  3. ^ Teo, Wan Gek (10 September 2011). "Possible second advisers for Aljunied grassroots". The Straits Times. Singapore Press Holdings. 
  4. ^ "Many remain hurt by MM Lee's remarks". 13 May 2011. Retrieved 2017-09-18. 
  5. ^ "SPH acquires NTUC's remaining 7.1% stake in SPH UnionWorks". AsiaOne. Retrieved 2017-09-18. 
  6. ^ "Zainul Abidin Bin Mohamed Rasheed: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". Retrieved 2017-09-18. 
  7. ^ "News - Singapore Press Holdings". Retrieved 2017-09-18. 
  8. ^ "MFA Press Statement: Appointment of Singapore's Non-Resident Ambassador to the State of Kuwait" (Press release). Singapore: Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  9. ^ "MFA Press Statement: Singapore's Representation at the Inauguration Ceremony Marking the Opening of the New Expanded Suez Canal, Egypt, 6 August 2015" (Press release). Singapore: Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "'New' Suez Canal opens for business". The Straits Times. 2015-08-07. Retrieved 2017-09-18. 
  11. ^ "LCD Global Investments appoints Zainul Abidin Bin Mohamed Rasheed as director". Singapore Business Review. Retrieved 2017-09-18. 
  12. ^ "LCD GLOBAL INVESTMENTS LTD. : 02-Apr-2015". Retrieved 2017-09-18. 
  13. ^ "Temasek Foundation Cares - Board of Directors & Management Team". Retrieved 2017-09-18. 
Diplomatic posts
Last known title holder:
Wong Kwok Pun
Singapore Ambassador to the State of Kuwait
27 October – present
Government offices
New office Mayor of North East District
24 November 2001 – 30 May 2009
Succeeded by
Teo Ser Luck