Birthday: February 10, 1952
Age: 69 Years, 69 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Also Known As: Lǐ Xiǎnlóng, Lí Hián-liông
Born in: Singapore
Famous as: Third Prime Minister of Singapore
Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Ho Ching, Wong Ming Yang
father: Lee Kuan Yew
mother: Kwa Geok Choo
siblings: Lee Hsien Yang, Lee Wei Ling
children: Haoyi Loong, Li Hongyi, Xiuqi Loong, Yipeng Loong
City: Singapore, Singapore
education: Trinity College, Cambridge, John F. Kennedy School of Government, United States Army Command and General Staff College, University of Cambridge, Catholic High School, Singapore, Nanyang Primary School, National Junior College
Who is Lee Hsien Loong?
Lee Hsien Loong is the current Prime Minister of Singapore; he is in the office since 2004. Born as the eldest son of the first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, he became interested in politics from an early age. As a child, he would often follow his father to the rally grounds. Intellectually brilliant, he learnt the Jawi script at the age of five. Later, he studied mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge and became a Senior Wrangler. After finishing his post graduate studies at Harvard University, he served the Singapore Armed forces for a brief period and reached the rank of the Brigadier General within three years. Soon, he left the army and became a Member of Parliament from Teck Ghee constituency. From the very start, he was given responsible roles in the government and soon he became one of the key figures in the country’s political transition. However, such quick rise both in the army and politics has brought in allegation of nepotism, a charge that he and his family strongly deny.
Childhood & Early Life
Lee Hsien Loong was born on February 10, 1952 in Singapore to Lee Kuan Yew and Kwa Geok Choo. Lee Kuan Yew, popularly known as LKY, was the founding father of independent Singapore and also its first Prime Minister; he was in the office from 1959 to 1990.
Lee Hsien Loong’s mother Kwa Geok Choo was the pioneer advocate of Singapore’s women’s right and a partner of the law farm Lee and Lee. When the city state was separated from Malaysian Federation, Kwa drafted part of the separation agreement.
Lee Hsien Loong has two other siblings; a sister named Lee Wei Ling and a younger brother named Lee Hsien Yang. Yang is currently the Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.
Lee Hsien Loong began his education at Nanyang Primary School and then joined Catholic High School for his secondary education. After graduating from there in 1969 he was enrolled at National Junior College for his post secondary studies and passed out from there in 1970.
In 1971, Lee joined Singapore Armed Forces. At the same time, he received scholarship for studying mathematics at Trinity College under University of Cambridge, which he readily accepted.
In 1973, Lee was selected as the Senior Wrangler, a position that refers to top mathematics undergraduate at Cambridge University. Later in 1974, he graduated from there with first class honors in the subject and a diploma in computer science.
In 1978, Lee attended the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenwort. In 1980, he earned his master degree in Public Administration from John F. Kennedy School of Government under Harvard University.
After passing out Harvard, he rejoined Singapore Armed Forces and rose through the ranks very quickly. In 1983, he was made the Brigadier General of the force; but he resigned in 1984 to join politics.
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Early Political Career
In 1984, Lee joined the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), a center right political party led by his father, Lee Kuan Yew. It has been dominating Singapore’s political scenario right from 1959 general election.
In December 1984, he was elected as a Member of Parliament from Teck Ghee Single Member Constituency and was appointed as the Minister of State at the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Defense. He was at that time only 32 years old.
In 1985, Lee was made the Chairman of the Economic Committee, set up to revive the economy of Singapore. The committee, under Lee’s Chairmanship, proposed a change in state’s policies. For example, the committee recommended reduction in corporate and personal taxes; in its place it proposed introduction consumption tax.
In 1986, Lee became a member of PAP Executive Committee and also the Chairman of PAP Youth Committee. This is also the year, when he became Acting Minister for Trade and Industry. Next year in 1987, he became a full Cabinet Minister in charge of Trade and Commerce and Second Minister for Defense.
As Deputy Prime Minister
In 1990, Lee’s father, Lee Kuan Yew, stepped down from his long held of position of Prime Minister and handed over the rein to Goh Chok Tong. Lee Hsien Loong was appointed as one of the Deputy Prime Ministers in the new setup. Alongside, he also retained the Trade and Commercial portfolio.
In 1992, Loong had to give up Trade and Commerce portfolio as he was diagnosed with lymphoma and had to undergo long treatment. However, he retained his position as the Deputy Prime Minster.
As his cancer went into remission, Lee returned to his duties. In 1998, he became the Chairman of Monetary Authority of Singapore and served in that capacity until 2004.
In 2001, he was awarded the Ministry of Finance. In that capacity, he proposed various tax reforms. To reduce the growing deficit in budget he decided to raise the GST from 3% to 5%. Side by side, as deputy Prime Minister, he also concentrated on improving relation with other countries
As Prime Minister
On August 12, 2004, Goh Chok Tong stepped down from his position as the Prime Minister of Singapore and Lee Hsien Loong was appointed as his successor. On being sworn in, Lee promised greater freedom to the citizens of Singapore. Until now, freedom of political expression was severely restrained in the country.
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Other than that, Lee also introduced 5 days work week and two months paid maternity leave for mothers with newborn babies. In 2005, Lee legalized gambling, which attracted significant foreign investment. At the same time, he took the required steps in order to limit the negative impact of gambling.
In the beginning of 2006, Lee’s government announced $2.6 billion bonus called the Progress Package. Under this program, Lee channeled the budget surplus accumulated over the years into healthcare, housing and education. In addition, every adult Singaporean citizen got cash bonus.
Since the general election was to be held within three months of the announcement, opposition treated it as a ‘vote buying exercise’. Nonetheless, in the election held on May 6, 2006, the PAP, under the leadership of Lee Hsien Loong, won 82 seats out of 84.
However, in the 2011 general election, held on May 7, there was a 6.46% swing against PAP. Although it won 81 out of 87 seats, two of its heavyweight ministers lost the election. Owning responsibility Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong resigned from their posts.
Lee Hsieng Loong was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Singapore on May 11, 2011. With the resignation of Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, Loong had more freedom to choose his ministers. This time, he took a number of measures to win back the confidence of the citizens
Creating Compulsory healthcare Insurance Plan was one such move. He also proposed one third pay cut for all ministers including himself. Under him, relation with China improved to a large extent. Bilateral relation with USA, with whom Singapore always had a god relation, improved even further.
Awards & Achievements
Lee was bestowed with ‘Orden El Sol del Perú en el grado de Gran Cruz con Brillantes’ on November 22, 2008. It is the highest order conferred by Peru to commend notable people, both in civilian and military service.
Lee has also been conferred ‘Olympic Order’ (Gold) on August 13, 2010 for his contribution to the Olympic Movement.
In 1978, Lee Hsien Loong married Wong Ming Yang, a Malaysia born doctor. He has two children with her; a daughter named Xiuqi and a son named Yipeng. Wong Ming died on October 28, 1982 three weeks after giving birth to Yipeng.
In 1985, Lee married Ho Ching. At the time of their marriage, she was a civil servant under the Ministry of Defense. Later in January 2002, Ho Ching joined Temasek Holdings and by May became its Executive Director. The couple has two sons; Hongyi and Haoyi.
Lee Hsien Loong is said to be the world’s highest paid leader. He now receives an annual salary of $1.7 million. Before his self imposed salary cut in 2012, Lee used to get $2.8 million per year.