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Yeoh Ghim Seng BBM JP (simplified Chinese: 杨锦成; traditional Chinese: 楊錦成; pinyin: Yáng Jǐnchéng; Jyutping: Yeo1 Khin3 Sing1; 22 June 1918 – 3 June 1993) was Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore from 1970 to 1989. He is said to be one of the longest serving Speakers of any parliament in the world.[1]

Yeoh Ghim Seng
杨锦成
Yeoh Ghim Seng.jpg
Portrait of Singapore's 1st Acting President
5th Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore
In office
1970 – 17 August 1988
Preceded byPunch Coomaraswamy
Succeeded byTan Soo Khoon
Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore
In office
1968–1970
Preceded byPunch Coomaraswamy
Succeeded byTang See Chim
President of Singapore
(Acting)
In office
23 November 1970 – 2 January 1971
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Preceded byYusof Ishak (President)
Succeeded byBenjamin Henry Sheares (President)
In office
12 May 1981 – 23 October 1981
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Preceded byBenjamin Henry Sheares (President)
Succeeded byDevan Nair (President)
In office
29 March 1985 – 2 September 1985
Prime MinisterLee Kuan Yew
Preceded byWee Chong Jin (Acting President)
Succeeded byWee Kim Wee (President)
Personal details
Born(1918-06-22)22 June 1918
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
(then the Federated Malay States, British Malaya)
Died3 June 1993(1993-06-03) (aged 74)
Singapore
NationalitySingaporean
Political partyPeople's Action Party (1966-1993)

Early LifeEdit

Yeoh received his early education at St. Michael's Institution in his hometown of Ipoh (in Malaysia) and at Penang Free School. He studied medicine at Cambridge University in the 1940s and was on attachment to hospitals there before becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1950.

CareerEdit

In 1951, Yeoh returned to Malaya to become consultant surgeon to the Singapore General Hospital. When he was appointed Professor of Surgery at the then University of Malaya in 1955, he was one of the first locals to hold that chair. He resigned the chair in 1962 to set up what became a lucrative private practice, but continued to train medical graduates from the university. A six-footer, Yeoh was described once as "the biggest but fastest Asian surgeon".

Yeoh's political career began in 1966, when he was recruited by the People's Action Party to stand in a by-election in Joo Chiat. He won by a walkover and served as the constituency's MP for 22 years.[2] His preoccupation with medicine precluded a ministerial appointment; instead, he was made Deputy Speaker in 1968, and elected Speaker two years later. In 1977, Minister of Law, Environment, Science and Technology, Mr E. W. Barker, congratulating him on his re-election to yet another term as Speaker, said that if not for Dr. Yeoh's commitment to surgery, he "could with ease and distinction occupy one of the front benches on this side of the House".[citation needed] As Speaker of the House, Dr Yeoh's residence was The Command House.[3]

In 1977, he also became the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization's (AIPO) first president.[4]

Yeoh was a Public Service Star (B.B.M.) recipient, an active Rotarian, and a Justice of the Peace who also served as chairman of various boards including the Detainees' Aftercare Association and the University of Singapore Council. The National University of Singapore created the Yeoh Ghim Seng Professorship in Surgery in his honour.

At the time of his death (of lung cancer), he was survived by his wife, five daughters and 15 grandchildren.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "List of former Speakers of the Singapore Parliament". Archived from the original on 16 August 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
  2. ^ "POLITICIANS IN SINGAPORE ELECTIONS (Y - Z)". Singapore Elections. Archived from the original on 30 June 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2007.
  3. ^ "THE COMMAND HOUSE". Singapore National Library. 2010. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012.
  4. ^ "BACKGROUND AND HISTORY". ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization. Archived from the original on 27 February 2007. Retrieved 7 March 2007.
Parliament of Singapore
Preceded by
Punch Coomaraswamy
Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore
1970–1988
Succeeded by
Tan Soo Khoon
Preceded by
Punch Coomaraswamy
Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore
1968–1970
Succeeded by
Tang See Chim
Political offices
Preceded by
Yusof Ishak
as President of Singapore
President of Singapore
(Acting)

1970–1971
Succeeded by
Benjamin Henry Sheares
as President of Singapore
Preceded by
Benjamin Henry Sheares
as President of Singapore
President of Singapore
(Acting)

1981
Succeeded by
Devan Nair
as President of Singapore
Preceded by
Wee Chong Jin
as Acting President of Singapore
President of Singapore
(Acting)

1985
Succeeded by
Wee Kim Wee
as President of Singapore