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Lee Hsien Loong ( ; POJ: Li Hian-liong; born February 10, 1952) is the third and current Prime Minister of Singaporemarker. Lee Hsien Loong is married to Ho Ching, who is the former Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the government-owned Temasek Holdings. He is the eldest son of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Early life

The eldest child of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Kwa Geok Choo, Lee was born in Singaporemarker on February 10, 1952. His grandmother Chua Jim Neo was a Hokkien Nyonya, and his mother Kwa Geok Choo has ancestry from Min Nan Tong'an. In Lee Kuan Yew's biography, the young Lee had learned Jawi script since he was five, and has always been interested in the affairs of Singapore, often following his father to the rally grounds since 1963.

Lee studied at Nanyang Primary School, received his secondary education at Catholic High Schoolmarker and subsequently studied at National Junior Collegemarker, where he learned the clarinet under the tutelage of Adjunct Associate Professor Ho Hwee Long. He studied mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge Universitymarker, where he graduated in 1974 with First Class Honours in Mathematics and a Diploma in Computer Science (with distinction). He subsequently obtained a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Harvard Universitymarker's Kennedy School of Government in 1980.

Lee joined the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in 1971 and rose quickly through the ranks becoming the youngest Brigadier General in Singapore's history. In 1978, he attended the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworthmarker. He retired from the military in 1984 to enter politics and was elected as a Member of Parliament that year. Lee's first wife, Malaysian-born doctor Wong Ming Yang, died on 28 October 1982 of a heart attack three weeks after giving birth to Lee's first son Lee Yi Peng, a mildly autistic albino. In 1985, Lee married Ho Ching, a fast-rising civil servant. They have one daughter and three sons (the oldest son of Ho Ching, Li Hongyi was the winner of the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Math & Science in 2006, the same year he was commissioned as an officer in the Singapore Armed forces at the SAFTI Military Institute) , including one daughter and son from Lee's first wife.

In 1992, Lee was diagnosed with lymphoma. He underwent a three-month period of chemotherapy and has since recovered.

Early political career

Lee entered politics at the age of 32 in 1984. He was appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Defence in December 1984 by his father, Lee Kuan Yew, and was subsequently promoted to Acting Minister for Trade and Industry in 1986, and the Second Minister for Defence.

In February 1987, issues on ethnic relationships in Singapore surfaced when Malaysianmarker leaders asked the Members of Parliament why there were so few Malays holding key positions in the SAF. Lee Hsien Loong, then Second Minister for Defence, stated that the SAF did not want its soldiers to be in a position where the loyalty of the soldiers might clash with racial and religious factors.

Deputy Prime Minister

When Goh Chok Tong became the Prime Minister of Singapore on November 28, 1990, Lee became the Deputy Prime Minister of Singaporemarker. He focused on economic and civil service matters and concurrently served as Minister for Trade and Industry until 1992.

Lee was appointed Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore in 1998, and Minister for Finance in 2001. During Lee's thirteen and a half years as Deputy Prime Minister, he exerted significant influence on Singapore's governance, especially in economic and social affairs.

To ease the growing budget deficit due to falling tax revenues from cuts in corporate and personal income taxes and other factors such as the Iraq War and Sars outbreak, Lee proposed on August 29, 2003 to raise the GST from three percent to five percent, a change that took place in January 2004.

Lee also initiated several relaxations of the requirements for Singapore citizenship, especially for foreign husbands of Singaporean women and foreign-born children of Singaporeans. The changes were made after repeated pleas from MPs and the Remaking Singapore Committee.

Prime Minister


Lee Hsien Loong has been Prime Minister of Singapore since 2004.

On August 12, 2004, Lee Hsien Loong succeeded Goh Chok Tong as Prime Minister, relinquishing his Chairmanship of the Monetary Authority of Singapore to Goh Chok Tong. Lee was sworn in by former Chief Justice Yong Pung How at the Istanamarker, office of the President of Singapore.

Lee made his maiden National Day Rally on August 12, 2004. In his speech, Lee initiated the policy of the "Five-day work week", a plan that would remove a half-working day on Saturday. The plan took effect on 1 January 2005.

Lee also proposed two-month paid maternity leaves for new-born's mothers and financial incentives to mothers who give birth to a fourth child. These policies were initiated in response to the declining birth rate that Singapore has experienced in recent years.

In November 2004, Lee sparked a national debate when he revealed a proposal to build two Integrated Resorts (IRs) which are holiday resorts with casinos. In April 2005, despite substantial oppositions expressed by the public, Lee announced the decision to approve the proposal. The two IRs are to be built in Marina Bay and Sentosamarker. To limit the negative social impact of casino gambling, Lee suggested that safeguards be implemented, such as prohibiting minors from entering the casinos and charging a SGD$100 entrance fee for Singaporeans and permanent residents or SGD$2000 for a year-long entrance fee.


In February 2006, Lee announced in parliament a S$2.6 billion bonus called the Progress Package. The plan was to distribute budget surpluses accumulated from the past few years to adult Singaporeans in the form of cash to everyone, top-ups to the state pension savings for elders, rental and utilities rebates for those living in public housing, educational funds for school children from low-income families, and cash bonuses for low-wage workers above 40 and for those men who have completed National Service. The cash bonuses was distributed in early May 2006.Critics, especially members of the opposition, have slammed the Progress Package as a "vote-buying exercise" for the Singapore parliamentary election held on 6 May 2006. In that election, Lee led the People's Action Party to win 82 of the 84 seats, including 37 walkovers. Lee and his 6-member team won the Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency with 96,591 (60.42%) votes out of the total 159,872 votes cast. Most of the opposition WP's team of 6 were their 20s and the constituency was contested for the first time in 15 years. Its decision to contest Ang Mo Kio came as a surprise, as the opposition was expected to stay away from GRCs helmed by heavyweight ministers; but the party said that giving Ang Mo Kio residents a chance to vote was a prime reason for contesting the GRC. Given the inexperience of the WP team and Lee Hsien Loong's position as the Prime Minister, they won a surprisingly strong 49,468 votes (30.94%). There were also an extremely high percentage of void votes, 13,813 (8.64%).

Foreign relations

Relations with China have improved under Lee's administration. Smooth progress has been made in areas of trade, tourism and investment, which is not merely in accordance with the interest of the two countries, but promises to be further beneficial to the common development of the region. The China-Singapore Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) is responsible for promoting Sino-Singaporean co-operations.

During his meeting with vice-premier Wu Yi in September 2005, Lee proposed the establishment of a China-ASEAN Free Trade Zone, which would achieve the goal of realizing US$50 billion in trade volume before 2010. In doing so, both agreed that relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should be elevated.

During his seven-day visit to China in late October 2005, the Prime Minister stressed the need of improving bilateral diplomatic relationships between ASEAN and China. Lee also urged leaders to focus on the next wave of growth in north-eastern China.

"It is a long-term commitment.
There is no place in the world that you can go in and your money just grows on trees.
Not in China."

United States
Lee visits the United States in July 2005.

Singapore has generally had a favourable relationship with the United Statesmarker. The growth of bilateral trade improved commercial and diplomatic ties between the two countries after the implementation of the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and the growth in bilateral trade has been evident, since the Free Trade Agreement became effective on January 1, 2004.

Lee made his inaugural visit to the United States, as Prime Minister of Singapore, between 6 July and 16 July, 2005. Several other ministers, notably the defence minister Teo Chee Hean and foreign minister George Yeo, accompanied Lee.

On July 12, 2005, President George W. Bush and Lee signed the "Strategic Framework Agreement between the United States of America and the Republic of Singapore for a Closer Cooperation Partnership in Defence and Security". The agreement was a natural step in the expansion of bilateral ties. President Bush and the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong had first announced their intention to conclude this agreement in October 2003.

The intention of the agreement is to address common threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of Weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which called for even closer cooperation between the United States and Singapore.

The agreement recognizes Singapore's role as a Major Security Cooperation Partner and will expand the scope of current cooperation in areas such as counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation, joint military exercises and training, policy dialogues, and defence technology. The Agreement will further enhance regional stability by supporting the continued security presence of the United States in Southeast Asia.

Both Lee and Bush agree that US presence in Southeast Asia has promoted peace and stability, which are crucial for regional cooperation and economic development.

During their meeting, both Bush and Lee acknowledged the progress in the war on terror. Lee commended Bush's 'resolute and steadfast stance in the war on terror' and expressed Singapore’s continued support in this endeavour. In exchange, Bush commended the professionalism of the Singapore Armed Forces personnel, who have been deployed in support of Iraq operations over the past two years and of the Singapore Police Force, which has provided critically important training. Both Bush and Lee also pledged to sustain the close cooperation between the United States and Singapore in key regional and global multilateral institutions.


On July 10, 2004, Lee visited Taiwanmarker, causing displeasure in the People's Republic of Chinamarker. On August 28, 2004 in his maiden National Day Rally speech, he criticized the Taiwanese leadership and populace of overestimating the support they would receive if they were to declare Taiwan independence. At the same time, he also clarified during the rally that his visit to Taiwan in July was to ensure he gather enough intelligence to make right decisions when he took over the baton as Prime Minister. He reiterated his support for the One-China policy. Later that year in September, Foreign Minister George Yeo cautioned the United Nations General Assembly about the dangers of letting the cross-strait relationship deteriorate. In response, an enraged Taiwanmarker Foreign Minister, Mark Chen, called Singapore a "Pi-Sai Country", translated literally from Hokkien (Minnan), it means a "country no bigger than a snot". The Taiwanese Foreign Minister later made a formal apology.

In 2005, Lee made a remark regarding Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visit to Yasukuni Shrinemarker, stating that from the point of view of many countries in the region who have experienced Japanese occupation, it raises many unhappy memories. His remark drew public demonstrations outside Singapore embassy in Japan on May 24, 2005 with protestors criticising Lee for "meddling" with Japanese issues.

In November 2005, Singapore had a diplomatic row with Australia over the imminent execution of Australian drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van. In one incident, then Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his government were upset when Lee failed to inform Howard the scheduled date of the execution during their meeting at the APEC summit even though Nguyen's mother was already informed of the date. Appeals for clemency by Australian government and Nguyen's lawyer were turned down. Singapore did however grant an exception to allow Nguyen's mother to hold his hands (but not hug him) following a personal appeal by Howard. Nguyen was later executed on December 2, 2005.

Defamation judgment

On September 24, 2008, High Court, in a summary judgement by Justice Woo Bih Li, ruled that the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) magazine-Hugo Restall, editor, defamed Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The court found the 2006 article "Singapore's 'Martyr': Chee Soon Juan" meant that Lee Kuan Yew "has been running and continues to run Singapore in the same corrupt manner as Durai operated NKF and he has been using libel actions to suppress those who would question to avoid exposure of his corruption." FEER has 30 days to appeal. The court sentenced FEER publisher and editor, owned by Dow Jones & Company (in turn owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp), to pay damages to complainants.


Lee Hsien Loong currently earns an annual salary of S$3,870,000 (US$ 2,856,930 ) , an increase of 25% from S$3,091,200 (US$2,037,168), making him the highest paid head of government in the world. In comparison, the President of the United States earns a salary of US$400,000. The new salary of S$3.8 million took effect in January 2008.


  • Orden El Sol del Perú en el grado de Gran Cruz con Brillantes (Order of the Sun - Peru), bestowed 22 November 2008.

Electoral record

Election Seats Voters Party Candidate(s) Votes Votes %
Electoral record of Lee Hsien Loong (Teck Ghee)
Singapore general election, 1984 1 16,866 PAP Lee Hsien Loong 12,794 80.38
UPF Giam Lai Cheng 3,123 19.62
Singapore general election, 1988 1 15,510 PAP Lee Hsien Loong 11,512 79.13
INDP Patrick Leong 3,037 20.87
Election Seats Voters Party Candidate(s) Votes Votes (%)
Electoral record for Lee Hsien Loong (Ang Mo Kio GRC)
Singapore general election, 1991 4 74,004 PAP Lau Ping Sum
Lee Hsien Loong
Umar Abdul Hamid
Yeo Toon Chia

Walkover Walkover
Singapore general election, 1997 5 125,344 PAP Inderjit Singh
Lee Hsien Loong
Seng Han Thong
Tan Boon Wan
Tang Guan Seng

Walkover Walkover
Singapore general election, 2001 6 166,644 PAP Inderjit Singh
Lee Hsien Loong
Seng Han Thong
Tan Boon Wan
Sadasivan Balaji
Wee Siew Kim

Walkover Walkover
Singapore general election, 2006 6 159,838 PAP Inderjit Singh
Lam Pin Min
Lee Bee Wah
Lee Hsien Loong
Sadasivan Balaji
Wee Siew Kim

96,636 66.14
WP Abdul Salim Bin Harun
Gopal Krishnan
Han Su May
Lee Wai Leng
Tan Kian Hwee Melvin
Yaw Shin Leong

49,479 33.86


  1. 李光耀稱大陸不會因奧運容忍台獨
  2. 新加坡內閣資政李光耀
  3. 李光耀劝扁勿藉奥运搞台独
  4. Progress Package Home Page
  5., Editor 'defamed' Singapore leader
  6., Singapore court rules FEER magazine defamed leaders
  7. Singapore announces 60 percent pay raise for ministers - International Herald Tribune
  8. [1]


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