Lim Kim San DUT (First Class) (Chinese: 林金山; pinyin: Lín Jīnshān; 30 November 1916 – 20 July 2006) was a Singaporean politician. He was credited for leading the successful public housing program in the Southeast Asian city-state during the early 1960s, which eased the acute housing shortage problem at that time.[4]

Lim Kim San
林金山
Lim Kim San.jpg
Minister for the Environment
In office
1 February 1979 – 6 January 1981
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Preceded byEdmund W. Barker
Succeeded byOng Pang Boon
Constituency Cairnhill SMC
In office
16 September 1972 – 1 June 1975
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byEdmund W. Barker
Constituency Cairnhill SMC
Minister for Communications
In office
31 December 1976 – 30 June 1978
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Preceded byYong Nyuk Lin
Succeeded byOng Teng Cheong
Constituency Cairnhill SMC
Minister for National Development
In office
31 December 1976 – 31 January 1979
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Preceded byEdmund W. Barker
Succeeded byTeh Cheang Wan
Constituency Cairnhill SMC
In office
19 October 1963 – 8 August 1965
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Preceded byTan Kia Gan
Succeeded byEdmund W. Barker
Constituency Cairnhill SMC
Minister for Education
In office
11 August 1970 – 15 September 1972
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Preceded byOng Pang Boon
Succeeded byLee Chiaw Meng
Constituency Cairnhill SMC
Minister for the Interior and Defence
In office
17 August 1967 – 10 August 1970
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Preceded byGoh Keng Swee
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Constituency Cairnhill SMC
Minister for Finance
In office
9 August 1965 – 16 August 1967
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Preceded byGoh Keng Swee
Succeeded byGoh Keng Swee
Constituency Cairnhill SMC
Member of the Malaysian Parliament
for Singapore
In office
2 November 1963[1] – 9 August 1965
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Member of the Singapore Parliament
for Cairnhill SMC
In office
21 September 1963 – 5 December 1980
Preceded byLim Yew Hock
Succeeded byWong Kwei Cheong
Personal details
Born(1916-11-30)30 November 1916
Singapore
Died20 July 2006(2006-07-20) (aged 89)[2]
Singapore
Spouse(s)Pang Gek Kim (m. 1939)
Children6
Parent(s)Lim Choon Huat (father)
Wee Geok Khuan (mother)[3]
Alma materAnglo-Chinese School
Raffles College
Known forLeading a successful public housing program, the Housing Development Board.

CareerEdit

In 1958, Lim was appointed to the Public Service Commission and the Housing Board.

Housing Development BoardEdit

In 1960, Lim was appointed the first Chairman of the Housing Development Board. Due to a rapidly increasing population, more than 400,000 people were living in over-crowded conditions in ramshackle “shophouse” buildings or in squatter settlements with substandard living conditions. At this time, Lim was appointed to the Housing Development Board.

He had volunteered for the job and had not been paid for three years. It was in this position that Lim oversaw the massive construction of high-rise, low-cost apartments that would eventually become the main source of housing for Singaporeans.[5]

Housing PlanEdit

Lim was known for his organizing and planning abilities. He forwent a detailed planning stage and instead chose a "rough and ready" approach to work fast using rough estimates of the housing requirement. In the first two year of this crash program, over 2000 units were built, more than what was built in the previous decade.

Lim defied all detractors, in particular those in the Singapore Improvement Trust, who said he could not build 10,000 units a year. A committee was eventually set up under Lim Tay Boh (Chinese: 林溪茂; pinyin: Lín Xīmào) to find out whether the HDB had the capability and the materials to reach the construction goal. By the time the committee published its report, the HDB had already completed 10,000 units of housing.[6]

In the first Five Year Housing Program, HDB achieved its goal of completing 5,000 units of housing by 1965. The largest project at that time was Queenstown, a satellite town of more than 17,500 apartments capable of housing close to 22,000 people. The new neighborhood was built as a self-contained entity, with all amenities and shops built along with the houses, so people would not need to travel to other areas for basic necessities, thereby lowering traffic congestion. This philosophy (which was ultimately extended with the concept of regional centre), is generally accredited by many to have significantly contributed to the lower rate of congestion and burden on the central business district than before.

In May 1961, the Bukit Ho Swee Fire broke out and some 16,000 people became homeless. Under Lim's guidance, the relocation and reconstruction of the lost housing was completed in just over four years, and 1200 housing flats were made available to those who lost their homes in the fire.

The success of the housing project was considered by some to stem mainly from the standardized architectural designs that were used. Another important factor was Lim's decision to use private contractors rather than employing construction workers directly. This allowed the HDB to supervise the contractors to ensure standards, rather than dealing with minute problems. Also, overall cost was kept low by using a large pool of contractors and different sources of building materials.

There are some who said that by solving Singapore's housing problem, Lim saved the PAP in the process. However, Lim himself was more modest, saying the success of the housing programme was also due to government funding, as housing was, and still is, a top priority.

Part of Lim's success at the HDB was that he had the trust of the Prime Minister at the time, Lee Kuan Yew. He also worked closely with the Minister of Finance at the time, Goh Keng Swee. These connections allowed Lim keep the housing program well-funded. Another political factor that allowed the success of the Housing Project was that Lim managed to cut through bureaucratic red tape and rigid regulations that would have otherwise hindered the housing program.

Port of Singapore AuthorityEdit

After retiring from politics, Lim was appointed Chairman of the Port of Singapore Authority from 1979 to 1994. Under his leadership, Singapore became the busiest port in the world.[7]

Singapore Press HoldingsEdit

In 1988, he was appointed as Executive Chairman of the board of Singapore Press Holdings,[4] but he accepted only on the condition that he was given executive powers. He restructured the company and upgraded the printing presses with full color capabilities and a new press centre.

Political careerEdit

In September 1963, Lim stood for election in the Singapore Legislative Assembly election as a PAP candidate from the Cairnhill constituency.[8] Lim won by a landslide, winning 7,749 votes out of the 11,659 cast. In October, Lim was appointed as Minister for National Development. Also, in recognition of Lim's adept ability of judging a person's merits, he was also brought on board as the PAP's "talent scout."[citation needed]

After Singapore's independence in 1965, Lim served as Minister of Finance for 2 years, before becoming the Minister of Interior and Defence. He held this position for three years until 1970, when Lim was appointed as Chairman of the Public Utilities Board to oversee the development of new water reservoirs. He would hold the chairmanship from 1971 to 1978. He therefore returned to the other posts, such as Minister for Environment (1972 - 1975/1979 - 1981), Minister for Communications (1975 - 1978) and Minister for National Development (1978 - 1979).[citation needed]

He was Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers from 1992 to 2003.[9][10]

RetirementEdit

Lim quit politics in 1980 but remained active in public life well into the twilight years of his life.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

Born in 1916 in Singapore, Lim was the eldest of six children. He was educated at Oldham Hall School, Anglo-Chinese School, and then Raffles College (now known as the National University of Singapore), where he obtained a Diploma in Arts (Economics) in 1939.[12][6]

When World War II erupted and the Japanese occupied Singapore, Lim was one of many tortured on suspicion of being pro-communist and pro-British. A long time after the war, Lim said that those who survived the horror and the brutality of the Japanese occupation "will never forget them." Lim also said that the experience, while traumatic and humiliating, politicized his generation and made them vow to "never let our fate be decided by others."[citation needed]

Lim made his first million at age 36 when he came up with a machine to produce sago pearls cheaply.[12]

Lim had five children, 12 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.[13]

DeathEdit

After a long illness, Lim died at approximately 5.30PM SST on 20 July 2006 at his home. He was cremated at Mandai. In recognition of Lim's work for the government, the Singaporean state flags on all government buildings were flown at half-mast on the day of his funeral.[14]

HonoursEdit

In June 1962, Lim was awarded Singapore's highest honor, the Darjah Utama Temasek (Order of Temasek).[15]

In August 1965, he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for his community leadership.[16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES DEWAN RA'AYAT (HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES) OFFICIAL REPORT" (PDF). Dewan Rakyat. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  2. ^ "Lim Kim San (Lin Jin Shan)". History of Singapore Pioneers. 30 September 2006. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Lim Kim San". National Library Board. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Lim Kim San to take over as SPH executive chairman". eresources.nlb.gov.sg. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Lim Kim San: A Builder Of Singapore (Select Books: The Asian Book Specialist - Bookseller, Publisher and Distributor)". Select Books. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Former Cabinet Minister Lim Kim San dies at age 89". Channel NewsAsia. 3 February 2016. Archived from the original on 10 January 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  7. ^ Lim Kim San: a builder of Singapore. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. 2009. ISBN 978-9812309280.
  8. ^ "THE MAN WHO MOVES MOUNTAINS". eresources.nlb.gov.sg. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  9. ^ "Plaque presented to Mr Lim Kim San in appreciation of his services as Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers". Singapore Government. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  10. ^ Asad Latif (2009), Lim Kim San: A Builder of Singapore, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, ISBN 978-981-230-928-0
  11. ^ "Lim Kim San – Singapore's Home-Builder (1916 – 2006)". National Archives of Singapore. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Lim Kim San | Infopedia". Eresources.nlb.gov.sg. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Mr Lim Kim San laid to rest". Singapore-window.org. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  14. ^ "State flags to be flown at half-mast for Lim Kim San's funeral". Channel NewsAsia. 3 February 2016. Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  15. ^ "Lim Kim San to take over as SPH executive chairman". eresources.nlb.gov.sg. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  16. ^ "HDB's mastermind now takes it easy". eresources.nlb.gov.sg. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
Government offices
Preceded by
Tan Kia Gan
Minister for National Development
1963 - 1965
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Finance
1965 - 1967
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Interior and Defence
1967 - 1970
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Education
1970 - 1972
Succeeded by
New ministerial post Minister for the Environment
1972 - 1975
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for National Development
1975 - 1979
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for the Environment
1979 - 1981
Succeeded by