Hon Sui Sen
韩瑞生 (Hán Ruìshēng)
|4th Minister for Finance|
11 August 1970 – 14 October 1983
|Preceded by||Goh Keng Swee|
|Succeeded by||Tony Tan Keng Yam|
|Member of Parliament|
8 April 1970 – 14 October 1983
|Preceded by||Lim Soo Peng|
|Succeeded by||Seat abolished|
|Born||16 April 1916|
Balik Pulau, Penang, Straits Settlements (now Malaysia)
|Died||14 October 1983 (aged 67)|
|Political party||People's Action Party|
|Spouse(s)||Annie Voon See Chin (文四珍) |
|Children||Joan Hon, Elizabeth Hon, Vivien Hon, Brenda Hon|
|Alma mater||St. Xavier's Institution, Raffles College|
Hon Sui Sen (16 April 1916 - 14 October 1983) was a Singaporean politician. A member of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP), he served as the Minister of Finance until 1983. He was also the chairman of the Economic Development Board and Development Bank of Singapore, and chairman of Monetary Authority of Singapore from 1971 to 1980.
Hon was born in a Hakka Chinese family on 16 April 1916 in Penang in the British Straits Settlements. Educated at Saint Xavier's Institution, he earned the top place in the 1932 Senior Cambridge Certificate Examination. In 1935, he commenced studies at Raffles College in Singapore and graduated in 1938 with a Class I Diploma in Science.
After graduation, Hon entered the Straits Settlements Civil Service as a Police Court Magistrate. Following this, he assumed responsibilities as a Deputy Collector of Land Revenue prior to the Japanese occupation of Malaya and Singapore. After the War, Hon remained with the Land Office and by 1957 had become Land Commissioner. In 1960, Hon was attached to the World Bank for an economic management course, where he met Albert Winsemius. Winsemius led the United Nations Survey Mission to Singapore in late 1960 and played a major role in the formulation of Singapore's national economic development strategy.
Economic Development Board
As Chairman of the EDB, Hon played a key role in the implementation of Singapore's industrialisation strategy, with the Jurong Industrial Estate (JIE) as the first major project. Sited on swamplands in the west of Singapore, the JIE soon became the centrepiece of an industrialisation programme that stretched from garments and toys to petrochemicals and electronics. The first factory in Jurong, the National Iron and Steel Mill, was opened on 2 August 1963. By 1968, there were about 300 factories employing 21,000 people in Jurong. In conjunction with the development of the industrial estate, satellite towns were built in the west of Singapore, transforming the Jurong area into a centre of both industrial and residential development.
Singapore Institute of Management
From 1965 to 1968, Hon was a council member of the Singapore Institute of Management.
Development Bank of Singapore & Intraco
In 1968, Hon helped to spearhead the formation of the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) and Intraco. During his time with DBS, Hon was a supporter of the establishment of the Asian dollar market and thus played a key role in the development of Singapore's financial services industry.
Ministry of Finance
In 1970, Hon succeeded Goh Keng Swee as Minister of Finance and served in that capacity for 13 years until 1983. In a letter by his daughter Joan many years after Hon's passing, Joan wrote that Hon was drawing a salary of $10,000 per month at DBS before he became a Minister, a job that paid him $3,000 instead; by 1983 when Goh died, Hon received $14,000 in total per month.
In 1982, Hon was named the Economic Minister of the Year by Euromoney.
As Singapore's Finance Minister, Hon established the Bases Economic Conversion Department to oversee the conversion and commercialisation of lands and facilities that had been left behind by the British military following their withdrawal in 1968. Hon also played a major role in the development of Singapore's tourism industry, beginning with the transformation of Pulau Blakang Mati, a previously fortified island off the southern coast of Singapore, into a resort destination under the new appellation of Sentosa Island.
Hon died of a heart attack on 14 October 1983 while still in office as Finance Minister. He was survived by his wife, Annie Hon, and four daughters: Joan (also known by her pen name, Han May), Elizabeth, Vivien, and Brenda. He was succeeded as Finance Minister by Tony Tan, who later became the seventh President of the Republic of Singapore.
The National University of Singapore's Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library and Hon Sui Sen Drive in the campus are named after him. His office is also preserved within the library, while some of his legacy artefacts have been donated by family and put on showcase at the National Museum of Singapore as of December 2015.
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- "About Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library". National University of Singapore. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- Chung, Gladys. "Singapore history on display". Straits Times. Retrieved 5 December 2015.