Thursday, June 30, 2011

Presidential Election 2011 Candidate: Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam

Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam

Education and early career
Tony Tan was educated at St Patrick's School and St Joseph's Institution. As a Singapore Government State Scholar, he earned First Class Honours Degree in Physics from the University of Singapore, topping his class.[4] As an Asia Foundation scholar, he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he completed a Master of Science (Operations Research). He later earned a PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Adelaide, before going on to lecture in Mathematics at the National University of Singapore.

In 1969, Tan left the University to begin a career in banking with Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), where he rose to become General Manager, before leaving the bank to pursue his political career in 1979. From 1980 to 1981, Tan was the first Vice Chancellor of the new National University of Singapore (NUS).

In 2005, Tan was presented by NUS the Eminent Alumni Award in recognition of his role as a visionary architect of Singapore’s university sector. In 2010, he was presented the inaugural Distinguished Australian Alumnus Award by the Australian Alumni Singapore (AAS) at its 55th anniversary dinner as recognition to his distinguished career, significant contribution to society and the Australian alumni community.

A member of the People's Action Party, Tan became a Member of Parliament (MP) in 1979. He was made a Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Education in 1979, before joining the Cabinet in 1980. He served in the Cabinet as Minister for Education (1980–81 & 1985–91), Minister for Trade & Industry (1981–86), Minister for Finance (1983–85), and Minister for Health (1985–86).

In December 1991, Tan stepped down from the Cabinet to return to the private sector and rejoined Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from 1992–95, while retaining his seat in Parliament as a representative for the Sembawang Group Representation Constituency.

Tan subsequently left OCBC and rejoined the Cabinet in August 1995 as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence. In August 2003, he relinquished the Defence Minister's portfolio and became the Co-ordinating Minister for Security and Defence, while retaining the post of Deputy Prime Minister.

Unusually for a PAP Minister, Tan clashed with his colleagues and then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew over issues such as the Graduate Mothers Scheme, under which the children of mothers without university degrees received lower priority when registering for primary school. Tan, then Minister for Education, advocated abandoning the policy, which was ultimately scrapped. He also took the lead in espousing a cut in CPF in the 1980s, which Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had said would not be allowed except “in an economic crisis”.

He later persuaded Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan to abandon plans to demolish an old mosque in his constituency of Sembawang. Dubbed the “Last Kampung Mosque in Singapore”, it was later designated a heritage site.

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