Ministers and Spouses

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As netizens say: “Marry-tocracy!”

Thanks to some industrious netizens for help with this list. Links below for verification.

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// UPDATE (8 Sept 2015):

Thanks to a reader for submitting the following tip (Ng Chee Khern and spouse). Will move this to ‘other relatives‘ post soon (since Ng Chee Khern technically isn’t a minister).

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Perm-Sec (Defence Development) Ng Chee Khern’s wife is Elaine Ng (nee Neo Poh Choo). This is mentioned in Page 16 of this PDF document and in The Straits Times (2009).

Elaine Ng started out in the public service as a research analyst in the Defence Ministry. She became the CEO of the National Library Board (NLB) in 2011.

In 2014, she admitted she “did not expect the matter to blow up so much” (re: the NLB’s banning of three gay penguin children’s books).

As of July 2015, the police are investigating possible wrongdoings in relation to procurement at the NLB after the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) flagged lapses in its annual report. NLB spent about S$7.3 million in FY2012/13 to acquire and maintain its e-resources collection.

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FIRST: MR. NGIAM TONG DOW on MINISTERS’ SPOUSES

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“Even if he wants to [disagree with LHL on ministers’ salaries], his wife will stop him. When the salary is so high, which minister dares to leave?”

— Ngiam Tong Dow (2013)

LEFT SIDE

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1. PM Lee Hsien Loong married Ho Ching in 1985. Ho Ching’s dealmaking ambitions span the globe; she started her career as an Engineer with the Ministry of Defence of Singapore in 1976.

2. Lee Hsien Yang is the brother of Lee Hsien Loong. Lee Hsien Yang is married to Lim Suet Fern. Ms. Lim is Singapore’s Managing Partner for Morgan Lewis law firm.

3. Tharman Shanmugaratnam is married to lawyer Jane Yumiko Ittogi. Ms. Ittogi is a partner at Shook Lin & Bok and board chairman of the Singapore Art Museum.

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4. Teo Chee Hean is married to Chew Poh Yim. A 2008 press release stated that Chew Poh Yim was NTUC FairPrice’s Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications and General Manager of NTUC FairPrice Foundation. Chew Poh Yim is a SingHealth board trustee (2009, 2013; current).

5. Goh Chok Tong is married to Tan Choo Leng, who was a former patron of the National Kidney Foundation.

6. Ong Ye Kung (Sembawang GRC candidate; 2015) is married to Diana Kuik Sin Leng. Mr. Ong was a former top civil servant and Principal Private Secretary to PM Lee Hsien Loong.

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Gripes over burst bathroom water pipes in DBSS flats at Centrale 8 (by Sim Lian). Source: ST

Ong’s wife, Diana Kuik Sin Leng, is the executive director of Sim Lian (owned by the Kuik family). Sim Lian has undertaken over S$2 billion worth of contracts, including public projects for the Housing Development Board (HDB), DBSS flats, and other government projects.

It is interesting to note that the Government did not consider the potential conflict of interests when it invited a Sim Lian board director to also sit on the board of HDB.

7. Sim Ann (MP, Minister of State, former assistant director at Ministry of Health and Ministry of Home Affairs, and former director of National Population Secretariat) is married to Dr. Mok Ying Jang, Group Director of Corp Services at Health Sciences Authority (a statutory board of the Singapore Ministry of Health).

PM Lee Hsien Loong has known Sim Ann’s mother for 30 years.

A forum post has some details on Sim Ann’s grandfather being executed in the People’s Republic of China for treason. Will update this section if there’s more info on this in future.

The archive is still available in the China national archive.

Now Sim Ann, his granddaughter, is selling out Singaporeans — it should not be a surprise as it seems treason runs in their family blood line.

Sim Ann’s sister is Sim Min, 34, who was awarded a Monetary Authority of Singapore scholarship. Her brother Sim Kai, 31, is also a President’s Scholar.

Daughter of executed Prisoner PRC ID number (XD4429372J) – Choo Lian Liang
Father – Sim Hock Kee

This is a family of nation betrayers.

Source: Helium

8. Former MP Dr. Seet Ai Mee was married to Dr. Seet Lip Chai for almost 30 years. Dr. Seet Lip Chai was the former chief medical officer of the Singapore Armed Forces Medical Corps.

RIGHT SIDE

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9. Dr. Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence, is married to Prof. Ivy Lim Swee Lian, CEO of Singhealth.

* Reader Tip: Something interesting about Ng Eng Hen. He joined PAP in 2001. In 2002, he was appointed as minister of state for 2 ministries. In 2004, he was promoted to full minister. That was also the year his wife, Ivy Lim, was promoted to CEO of KKH.

10. Grace Fu is married to technopreneur Ivan Lee Boon Hong.

11. Heng Swee Keat is married to Chang Hwee Nee. Mr. Heng was Principal Private Secretary to SM Lee Kuan Yew from 1997 to 2000, a Director of SingTel Optus, and a Director of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. from July 4, 2003 to July 30, 2010. Ms. Chang, a President Scholar, is the former Deputy Secretary (Policy) of Ministry of Education and a member of various public institutions and organisations such as A*STAR Board.

12. Josephine Teo née Yeo Li Min is married to Teo Eng Cheong, former AVA board member and CEO of International Enterprise Singapore (a government agency).

13. Tin Pei Ling is married to Ng How Yue. Mr. Ng was former Principal Private Secretary to PM Lee Hsien Loong. Tin Pei Ling was a former senior associate at Ernst & Young.

14. Desmond Choo is married to civil servant Pamela Lee. In a 2012 PAP article, Desmond Choo mentions that Pamela Lee was in the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

This 2013 document lists Pamela Lee as the “Deputy Director” of the MOM (Workplace Policy and Strategy  Division).

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“Pamela Lee HuiYing,” PSC Scholar (Overseas Merit Scholarship; Cambridge University / Economics). Source: Data.gov.sg

This document says that “Pamela Lee HuiYing” was a PSC Scholar (2002), who was awarded an Overseas Merit Scholarship to Cambridge University to study Economics. This matches with Pamela Lee’s LinkedIn Profile (link and screenshot). The LinkedIn profile states that Pamela Lee has been Deputy Director of the MOM since 2011, and that she is an alumnus of Raffles Girls’ and Hwa Chong Junior College.

* TO BE VERIFIED: That this “Pamela Lee” is the spouse of Desmond Choo. Personally, I’m 90% sure it is the right Pamela Lee.

15. Dr. Aline Wong is married to Prof. John Wong. Dr. Aline Wong was elected Member of Parliament at four successive General Elections. Photo of the Wong’s from Singapore Tatler.

16. Hri Kumar Nair is married to Dilys Boey. Dilys Boey was Tin Pei Ling’s former boss at Ernst & Young.

Ministers’ Wives: Rich or Corrupt?

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Thanks to various readers/netizens for contributing to this post.

Links for verification and additional info below.

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1. MINISTER’S WIVES in GIRL GUIDES ASSOCIATION

a) Teo Chee Hean’s wife is Chew Poh Yim (“Mrs. Teo Poh Yim”). Chew Poh Yim was the 10th President of Girl Guides in Singapore.

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Girl Guides newsletter (2007). Source: GirlGuides.org.sg

b) Joy Balakrishnan, wife of Vivian Balakrishnan, is the 11th President of Singapore Girl Guides Association. She is a teacher turned housewife.

In 2015, Vivian Balakrishnan made the following comment (paraphrased):

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“Only Rich or Corrupt people work for free.”

c) Mrs. Christine Dhanabalan, wife of former cabinet minister S. Dhanabalan, received an Honorary Membership to Girl Guides Association from Mrs. Joy Balakrishnan.

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11th Girl Guides Singapore (GGS) president Joy Balakrishnan (in sleeveless white top), at the World Thinking Day 2015 event held at Methodist Girls’ School. Source: AsiaOne

d) According to AsiaOne and GirlGuides.org.sg, Ms Chang Hwee Nee took over from 11th President, Mrs. Joy Balakrishnan, whose term of office ended on 30 May 2015. Chang Hwee Nee is the wife of Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.

e) The patron of Girl Guides (in Singapore) has always been the First Lady (wife of the President).

A CAS UK PDF document defines a patron’s role as follows:

“Patrons” generally refers to well known or illustrious individuals who lend their name and support to an organisation.

On 12 November 2011, Mrs S R Nathan, former Patron of Girl Guides Singapore (GGS), received the Asia Pacific Region (APR) Appreciation Award. Mrs Nathan was also presented with the Long Service Award for her 12 years of dedication and invaluable support to the Girl Guiding movement.

Girl Guides Singapore is registered as a Charity with the National Council of Social Services (NCSS).

Girlguiding is a charitable organisation and adult leaders are not paid for their time.

2. MINISTER’S WIVES in BREADLINE GROUP

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Breadline Patrons (Executive Committee Report: 2014/2015).

a) Breadline is run by Richard Lim, with the minimum of overheads – eg no office. Richard dedicates many hours to his work on a voluntary basis.

From the organisation’s website:

The Breadline Group is a community service comprising of volunteers. It was formed because we share a concern for the welfare of the old and needy in Singapore, and want to channel our efforts towards helping them.

b) Patrons are mentioned as Mrs. Jek Yuen Thong, Mrs. S. Dhanabalan, Dr. Sheryn Mah Bow Tan, and Dr. Seetha Shanmugam.

c) Jek Yuen Thong was the former Minister for Labour and Minister for Culture. He was part of the People’s Action Party’s Old Guard of politicians.

d) Christine Tan Khoon Hiap is the wife of former cabinet minister S. Dhanabalan.

e) Dr. Seetha Shanmugam, a Berkeley-educated, Chicago-trained clinical psychologist (not a foreign talent), is the wife of Law and Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam.

Minister K. Shanmugam was previously married to Jothie Rajah, the daughter of K. S. Rajah, former Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Singapore.

Shanmugam’s marriage to Dr Jothie Rajah failed and they divorced after 15 years, due to “mutual incompatibility.” In 2012, Dr Jothie Rajah wrote Authoritarian Rule Of Law, a critical text which alleges that the rule of law is a subjugating rather than liberalising force in Singapore. Shanmugam said he had not read the book.

In 2012, Shanmugam sent a lawyer’s letter to blogger Alex Au to remove “defamotary comments” with regard to an alleged affair with MP Foo Mee Har. As yet, no lawyer’s letter has been sent to U.S.-based lawyer Gopalan Nair, whose blog post contains a detailed comment on Shanmugam’s “affair with a Chinese colleague” while working in Allen and Gledhill law firm (where Shanmugam was formerly a senior partner).

In 2015, Shanmugam wanted to make a police report over an “inaccurate and seditious” Facebook post.

f) Sheryn Mah, wife of Mah Bow Tan, sits on the board of directors of Compassion Fund and is the president of Mainly I Love Kids (MILK), a non-profit charity organisation providing aid to disadvantaged children.

3. MINISTERS’ WIVES re: NATIONAL KIDNEY FOUNDATION (NKF)

In 2005, Tan Choo Leng (Mrs. Goh Chok Tong) stepped down as the patron of NKF after the T T Durai corruption scandal. She is remembered for describing a S$600,000 annual salary as “peanuts.”

Mrs. Goh Chok Tong had previously supported Durai.

Ms. Ho Ching, the CEO of Temasek Holdings, asked for continued support for the NKF after the scandal broke. On the issue of the CEO’s pay, she said:

“I would not begrudge Mr Durai a proper and well-earned compensation and bonus.”