Prime Minister of Singapore

Last updated on 6 October 2017

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore (Malay: Perdana Menteri Republik Singapura; Chinese: 新加坡共和国总理, pinyin: Xīnjiāpō gònghéguó zǒnglǐ; Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர் குடியரசின் பிரதமர், Ciṅkappūr kuṭiyaraciṉ piratamar) is the head of the government of the Republic of Singapore, and the most powerful person in Singapore's politics. The President of Singapore appoints as Prime Minister a Member of Parliament (MP) who, in his or her opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of a majority of MPs. In practice, the Prime Minister is usually the leader of the majority party in the legislature.

Under the Constitution, executive power is vested in the President. However, the Constitution also vests "general direction and control of the government" in the Cabinet. The President is almost always bound to act on the advice of the Cabinet or any minister acting under Cabinet authority. Thus, in practice, most of the actual work of governing is done by the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The office of Prime Minister dates back to 1959 and was appointed at first by the Governor of Singapore then the Yang di-Pertuan Negara (vice-regal head of state), when Singapore achieved self-governance as the State of Singapore within the British Empire. The title of Prime Minister remained unchanged after the merger with the Federation of Malaya, Sarawak and North Borneo, while Singapore was a state in the Federation of Malaysia from 1963 to 1965, and after independence in 1965.

The late Mr Lee Kuan Yew was the first prime minister of Singapore from 1959 to 1990. Lee was succeeded by Goh Chok Tong and was conferred the title of Senior Minister in the Prime Minister's Office. Goh retired on 12 August 2004 and was succeeded by Lee Kuan Yew's son Lee Hsien Loong. Goh was appointed Senior Minister, and the elder Lee Minister Mentor. Lee and Goh resigned in 2011.

Crest of the Prime Minister of Singapore.png
Crest of the Prime Minister of Singapore.png
Lee Hsien-Loong - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 cropped.jpg
Lee Hsien-Loong - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 cropped.jpg

List of Prime Ministers of Singapore (1959–present)

Self-governance of Singapore (1959–1963)

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Constituency
Term of office Party Deputies Duration
1 Lee Kuan Yew cropped.jpg Lee Kuan Yew
李光耀
லீ குவான் இயூ
(1923–2015)
MP for Tanjong Pagar SMC
3 June 1959 16 September 1963 PAP logo variation.png People's Action Party Toh Chin Chye 4 years, 105 days
1959

Singapore in Malaysia (1963-1965)

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Constituency
Term of office Party Deputies Duration
1 Lee Kuan Yew cropped.jpg Lee Kuan Yew
李光耀
லீ குவான் இயூ
(1923–2015)
Member of Singapore State Legislative Assembly for Tanjong Pagar SMC
16 September 1963 9 August 1965 PAP logo variation.png People's Action Party Toh Chin Chye 1 year, 327 days
1963

Republic of Singapore (1965–present)

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Constituency
Term of office Party Deputies Duration
1 Lee Kuan Yew cropped.jpg Lee Kuan Yew
李光耀
லீ குவான் இயூ
(1923–2015)
MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC
9 August 1965 28 November 1990 PAP logo variation.png People's Action Party Toh Chin Chye, Goh Keng Swee
S. Rajaratnam, Goh Chok Tong
Ong Teng Cheong
25 years, 111 days
1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988
The first Prime Minister of Singapore. The youngest to be elected in the office, at the age of 35. He is the longest-serving Prime Minister of Singapore. He presided over the expansion of Singapore's economy from a British Crown Colony into a first world country. He introduced the National Service (NS) scheme, with the help of his Defence Minister Goh Keng Swee. He introduced the 'Stop-At-Two' policy in 1960s, for fearing of over expansion of Singapore population. In the 1980s, he introduced 'Graduate Mother Scheme', which received a huge backlash. The policy was withdrawn shortly thereafter. He led the PAP into 8 consecutive election victories.
2 GohChokTong-WashingtonDC-20010614.jpg Goh Chok Tong
吴作栋
கோ சொக் தொங்
(1941–)
MP for Marine Parade GRC
28 November 1990 12 August 2004 PAP logo variation.png People's Action Party Ong Teng Cheong, Lee Hsien Loong
Tony Tan Keng Yam
13 years, 258 days
1991, 1997, 2001
The second Prime Minister of Singapore. He introduced several major policies and policy institutions, such as Medisave, non-constituency members of parliament, Government Parliamentary Committees, Group representation constituency, Nominated members of parliament, Vehicle Quota Scheme, Elected President and Singapore 21. He presides Singapore experienced several crises, such as the 1997 Asian financial crisis, threats of terrorism including the 2001 Singapore embassies attack plot by Jemaah Islamiyah, the 2001–2003 economic recession, and the 2003 SARS outbreak. He also introduced the 'Baby Bonus' scheme in a bid to increase birth rates. Prior his appointment as PM, he served as Senior Minister of State for Finance, Minister for Trade and Industry, Minister for Health, Minister for Defence and first Deputy Prime Minister.
3 Lee Hsien Loong - 20101112.jpg Lee Hsien Loong
李显龙
லீ சியன் லூங்
(1952–)
MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC
12 August
2004
Incumbent PAP logo variation.png People's Action Party Tony Tan Keng Yam, S. Jayakumar
Wong Kan Seng, Teo Chee Hean
Tharman Shanmugaratnam
13 years, 66 days
2006, 2011, 2015
The third Prime Minister of Singapore. He introduced 'Five-Day' working week for Civil Servants, with the hope of increasing the birth rate. One of his major accomplishments was to propose the building of 2 Integrated Resorts (IR) in Singapore. It creates a huge avenue for Singapore's economy. Singapore hosted the inaugural summer Youth Olympic Games in 2010. Abolished ranking of schools. In 2013, he presided over the worst haze problem in Singapore and worst Dengue epidemic. Prior to his appointment as PM, he served as Deputy Prime Minister (1991–2004), Minister of Finance, Minister of Trade & Industry.

Living former prime ministers

Name Term of office Date of birth
Goh Chok Tong
1990–2004
(1941-05-20) 20 May 1941 (age 76)

List of deputy prime ministers

The role of Deputy Prime Minister is the second highest post and senior Cabinet Minister in Singapore. The holder will sometimes assume the role of Acting Prime Minister when the PM is temporarily absent. Since the mid-1980s, Singapore has usually had two Deputy Prime Ministers at a time. Only Ong Teng Cheong and Tony Tan served under more than one Prime Minister during their time as Deputy Prime Minister. In the cabinet of Goh Chok Tong in the 1990s to 2004, President Tony Tan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong were the deputy prime ministers too. Currently, the deputy prime ministers in office are Mr Teo Chee Hean and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

See also

External links

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