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Goh Keng Swee

Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore

Died when: 91 years 220 days (1099 months)
Star Sign: Libra


Goh Keng Swee

Goh Keng Swee (born Robert Goh Keng Swee; 6 October 1918 – 14 May 2010) was a Singaporean politician who served as the second Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, serving from 20 March 1973 to 1 January 1985.

He is also considered to be one of the founding fathers of Singapore.Born in Malacca in the Straits Settlements into a Peranakan family, he moved to Singapore at the age of two.

As a student at Raffles College and the London School of Economics and Political Science, his interest in politics began during his time in London, where he met fellow students seeking independence for British Malaya (which covered modern Malaysia and Singapore).

From 1945 onwards he worked for the Department of Social Welfare, eventually rising to become its director.In 1958 he resigned from the Civil Service to work full-time for the People's Action Party (PAP), becoming a key member and later vice-chairman of its Central Executive Committee.

The following year he successfully contested the Kreta Ayer seat in the 1959 general election for the Legislative Assembly, and joined the first government of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew as Minister for Finance.

Upon Singapore's independence on 9 August 1965, Goh became the nation's first Minister for the Interior and Defence.He subsequently served as Finance Minister (1967–70), Minister for Defence (1970–79) and Minister for Education (1979–80, 1981–84).

Following his retirement from politics, Goh continued to be active in public life, serving as deputy chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (1981–94); chairman of the board of Governors of the Institute of East Asian Philosophies (1983–92) and executive chairman and chairman of the board of governors of its successor, the Institute of East Asian Political Economy (1992–95);

Economic Adviser to the State Council of the People's Republic of China on coastal development and Adviser on tourism (1985); chairman of Monetary Authority of Singapore from 1980 to 1985.; deputy chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (1985–92); chairman of the Singapore Totalisator Board (1988–94); adviser to the United Overseas Bank group (from 1993); chairman of N.M.

Rothschild & Sons (Singapore) Ltd. (from 1994); and vice-chairman of Hong Leong Asia Ltd. (from 1995).In 1972, Goh was the recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Services, and was conferred the Order of Sikatuna by the Philippine Government.

Following his retirement from politics, in 1985 Goh was awarded the Darjah Utama Temasek (Order of Temasek), First Class, Singapore's highest civilian honour.

He was also made the first Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Development Board Society in 1991.Goh was diagnosed with bladder cancer in September 1983 and he retired from politics in December 1984.

He kept a low profile but remained active with various organisations where he served on the board or as an adviser.

After he married Phua Swee Liang in 1991, the couple travelled widely to places such as Australia and Hawaii.However, a series of strokes in the late 1990s and early 2000s took a heavy toll on him.

He was bedridden in his final years and died on 14 May 2010.

Related People

Lee Kuan Yew
Prime Minister of Singapore
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