Tharman Shanmugaratnam

Tharman Shanmugaratnam (Tamil: தர்மன் சண்முகரத்தினம்; born 25 February 1957) is a Singaporean politician and economist who has been serving as Senior Minister of Singapore since 2019 alongside Teo Chee Hean, and has also been Coordinating Minister for Social Policies since 2015 and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore since 2011. A member of the governing People's Action Party, he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Taman Jurong division of Jurong GRC since 2001. He has also been serving as Deputy Chairman of GIC.[1]

Tharman Shanmugaratnam
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 byGoh Chok Tong (2011)
S. Jayakumar (2011)
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
(as Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies)
Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore
Assumed office
1 May 2011
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byGoh Chok Tong
Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore
In office
21 May 2011 – 1 May 2019
Serving with Teo Chee Hean
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byWong Kan Seng
Succeeded byHeng Swee Keat
Lawrence Wong
Minister for Manpower
In office
21 May 2011 – 31 July 2012
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byGan Kim Yong
Succeeded byTan Chuan-Jin
Minister for Finance
In office
1 December 2007 – 30 September 2015
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Second MinisterLim Hwee Hua
(2009–2011)
Preceded byLee Hsien Loong
Succeeded byHeng Swee Keat
Minister for Education
In office
1 August 2003 – 31 March 2008
Prime MinisterGoh Chok Tong
(1990–2004)
Lee Hsien Loong
(2004–present)
Second MinisterNg Eng Hen
(2004–2005)
Preceded byTeo Chee Hean
Succeeded byNg Eng Hen
Member of Parliament
for Jurong GRC
(Taman Jurong)
Assumed office
3 November 2001
Preceded byConstituency established
Majority60,501 (49.24%)
Personal details
Born
Tharman Shanmugaratnam

(1957-02-25) 25 February 1957 (age 65)[1]
Colony of Singapore
Political partyPeople's Action Party
SpouseJane Yumiko Ittogi
Children4
EducationLondon School of Economics (BS)
University of Cambridge (MPhil)
Harvard University (MPA)
Occupation
  • Politician
  • economist
Signature

An economist by profession, Tharman had worked in both the public and private sectors, both domestic and abroad. He has spent most of his working life in public service, in roles principally related to economic and social policies.

Tharman previously led the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance and had chaired the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the International Monetary Fund's key policy forum, for four years, becoming the first Asian chair.

Tharman has been co-chairing the G20 High Level Independent Panel on Global Financing for Pandemic Preparedness and Response alongside fellow economists Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Lawrence Summers since January 2021. In March 2022, Tharman was appointed a member of the United Nations' High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism.[2]

He is also the chair of 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 United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Human Development Report (HDR), and is a member of the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Board of Trustees.

He had served as Deputy Prime Minister between 2011 and 2019, Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies between 2015 and 2019, Minister for Finance between 2007 and 2015 and Minister for Education between 2003 and 2008.[3]

Tharman made his political debut in the 2001 general election, and has been re-elected four times at subsequent general elections in 2006, 2011, 2015 and 2020.

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Singapore, Tharman attended the Anglo-Chinese School before graduating from the London School of Economics (LSE) with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics. LSE would later honored him with an Honorary Fellowship in 2011.[4]

He subsequently obtained a Master of Philosophy degree in economics from the University of Cambridge,[5] and a Master in Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he received a Lucius N. Littauer Fellow award for his 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 to the right over the course of his working career.[6]

Political careerEdit

Tharman was first elected a Member of Parliament following the 2001 general election for Jurong GRC, having won 79.75% of the votes. Shortly after the 2001 elections, 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.

After being re-elected at the 2006 general election, 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.

At the 2015 general election, Jurong GRC, helmed by Tharman, garnered a vote share of 79.3% 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. After the election, Tharman remained Deputy Prime Minister and was also appointed as Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies in October 2015.[9]

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]

Tharman was re-elected at the 2020 general election, winning 74.62% of the votes in his GRC against Red Dot United.

Career before politicsEdit

Prior to entering politics, 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.

Official Secrets Act caseEdit

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 appointmentsEdit

Tharman has been the chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) since May 2011.[21][22] 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.[23]

He currently also chairs the Economic Development Board's International Advisory Council,[24] and the International Academic Advisory Panel that advises the Government on strategies for the university sector.[25]

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[26] 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.[27]

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".[28]

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,[29] and is co-chairing the Advisory Board for the 2021/22 edition with Michele Lamont.[30]

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

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]

As of 2022, he currently chairs the National Jobs Council which is aimed at rebuilding skills and jobs for Singaporeans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Personal lifeEdit

Ancestry and familyEdit

Tharman is a Singaporean of Sri Lankan 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.

MiscellaneousEdit

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 Singaporean Chinese-language media, Tharman is usually referred to as (Chinese: 尚达曼; pinyin: Shàng Dámàn), an approximate transliteration of Tharman Shanmugaratnam.[40] It was given to him by a leading Chinese language specialist in 1995.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "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. ^ a b "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. ^ "Our History". www.mas.gov.sg. Archived from the original on 14 September 2020.
  22. ^ "Executive Profile: Tharman Shanmugaratnam". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 20 September 2020.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Kang Shiong, Goh (25 April 2014). "Tharman to chair EDB's International Advisory Council". Business Times.
  25. ^ Ng, Jing Yng (27 June 2015). "Tertiary programme outcomes should be assessed, says panel". Today. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017.
  26. ^ "G20 Eminent Persons Group(EPG) on Global Financial Governance". Archived from the original on 26 September 2019.
  27. ^ Yong, Charissa (1 December 2016). "Tharman to chair global financial experts' group". Archived from the original on 1 December 2017.
  28. ^ "Press Release: IMFC Selects Tharman Shanmugaratnam as New Chairman". Archived from the original on 14 May 2011.
  29. ^ "2020 Human Development Report Advisory Board Members". Human Development Reports.
  30. ^ "2021/22 Human Development Report Advisory Board Members". Human Development Reports.
  31. ^ "World Economic Forum appoints new member to Board of Trustees". World Economic Forum. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019.
  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 5 October 2016.
  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 5 December 2008.
  39. ^ "Game for Life: 25 Journeys" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 October 2019.
  40. ^ "尚达曼:善用科技保存和分配水资源 能化解气候危机隐忧". 8world (in Chinese (Singapore)). Singapore. 25 May 2022. Retrieved 8 June 2022.

External linksEdit

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