GOH CHOK TONG Biography - Polititians


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Name: Goh Chok Tong                                                                 
Born: 20 May 1941 Singapore                                                         
Goh Chok Tong (born May 20, 1941), was the second Prime                             
Minister of the Republic of Singapore from November 28, 1990 to August 12, 2004,     
succeeding Lee Kuan Yew. He served a total of fourteen years. He is currently       
Senior Minister of Singapore and the chairman of the central bank of Singapore,     
the Monetary Authority of Singapore.                                                 
Born into a Hokkien family, Goh studied at Raffles Institution from 1955 to 1960.   
He is said to have been a very competitive swimmer in his younger days.             
He earned a First Class Honours (Bachelor of Arts) in economics from the             
National University of Singapore (then known as the University of Singapore), a     
Master of Arts in Development Economics from Williams College in the United         
States in 1967. After his study, Goh returned to Singapore to serve in the           
Administrative Service.                                                             
In 1969, Goh was seconded to the Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) as a Planning and       
Projects Manager. His career advanced quickly and by 1973, he became the             
Managing Director and led NOL to achieve impressive financial results during his     
In the 1976 Singapore general election, at the age of thirty-five, Goh was           
elected as Member of Parliament for Marine Parade constituency, as a People's       
Action Party (PAP) candidate. He was appointed a Senior Minister of State for       
Finance. In 1981, he was promoted to be the Minister for Trade and Industry. He     
later also served in other appointments including Minister for Health and           
Minister for Defence.                                                               
In 1985, Goh became the First Deputy Prime Minister and began to assume the         
responsibility of the government in a carefully managed leadership transition.       
According to Lee Kuan Yew, his preferred successor was Tony Tan; however Goh was     
selected by the second generation of PAP leaders that included Tony Tan, S           
Dhanabalan, and Ong Teng Cheong, and Lee accepted their decision.                   
Prime Minister Goh and U.S. President George W. Bush signing the US-Singapore       
Free Trade Agreement in the White House, May 6, 2003.                               
On 28 November 1990, Goh became the second Prime Minister of Singapore, taking       
over from Lee Kuan Yew. Lee remained an influential member of his Cabinet,           
holding the post of Senior Minister. Goh was initially written off by critics as     
a weak, transitionary figure, and a seat-warmer for Lee Hsien Loong. Nonetheless,   
in 1992, Lee Kuan Yew handed over to Goh the post of Secretary General of People's   
Action Party, successfully completing the leadership transition.                     
During the period under Goh's administration, Singapore experienced several         
crises, such as the 1997 Asian financial crisis, threats of terrorism including     
the 2001 plot to bomb embassies in Singapore by Jemaah Islamiyah, 2001 to 2003       
economic recession, and the 2003 SARS outbreak.                                     
As Secretary General, Goh led the PAP to three general elections in 1991, 1997,     
and 2001, in which the party won 61%, 65% and 75% of the votes respectively.         
After the general election in 2001, Goh indicated that he would step down as         
Prime Minister after leading the country out of the recession.                       
During an interview with Time Magazine in July 2003, Goh surprised his national     
by announcing that his Government is now openly employing gays, even in             
sensitive jobs. This is despite homosexual acts remaining illegal under the         
Singaporean Penal Code of 377a. His announcement drew a strong backlash from         
self proclaimed conservatives of the island nation, but nevertheless reinforced     
Goh's image as an open-minded leader.                                               
Goh Chok Tong speaking at a rally at Potong Pasir during the 2006 general           
election. The banner behind him shows the campaign manifesto of the People's         
Action Party, "Staying Together, Moving Ahead".                                     
On 12 August 2004, Goh stepped down as Prime Minister and serves as Senior           
Minister in Lee Hsien Loong's Cabinet. On 20 August 2004, Goh assumed the post       
of Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. After a number of threats       
of Islamist terrorism in Singapore, Goh met local Islamic religious leaders in       
2004, and made a visit to Iran, where he met the Iranian president, Mohammad         
Khatami, and visited local mosques. The Straits Times speculated that this was       
meant to develop relationships between Singapore and Iran.                           
Goh subsequently visited other Middle-Eastern countries as Senior Minister, with     
a view to improving diplomatic relationships and thus gaining wider business         
opportunities for Singaporean businessmen, especially in the United Arab             
Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait.                                                         
On May 19, 2005, Goh signed a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with Israel's     
Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his visit to Israel. A previous agreement     
was signed in 1971. Improvements in the agreement include enhancements to the       
withholding tax rate on interest income, which was reduced from 15 % to 7 %.         
This would benefit Singaporean businessmen with investments in Israel and vice       
versa, by ensuring they are not taxed twice. Goh also discussed for an agreement     
to recognise each other's certification standards, so as to ease the flow of         
goods between the two countries.                                                     
He currently is a patron for the Institute of Policy Studies, a government think     
In the Singapore general election, 2006, Goh was tasked to help the PAP win back     
the two opposition wards of Hougang and Potong Pasir. However, he was               
unsuccessful in this task, as Low Thia Khiang and Chiam See Tong retained their     
respective wards.                                                                   
In 2006, Goh was briefly considered for the job as Secretary General of the         
United Nations. The job eventually went to Ban Ki Moon.