Senior Minister

Senior Minister (abbreviation: SM) is a political office in the Cabinet of Singapore. It is taken by a retired Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister. This, however, implies a reliance on a dominant-party system, and several opposition critics find this as evidence for contempt for the political opposition in Singapore.

The position of Senior Minister has only been held by four persons -- Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, who were the first and second Prime Ministers of Singapore respectively; and S. Rajaratnam and S. Jayakumar, who served as Deputy Prime Ministers. Lee Kuan Yew was Senior Minister from 1990 to 2004, after which he became Minister Mentor in the Cabinet of Singapore's third Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Goh Chok Tong replaced Lee Kuan Yew as Senior Minister in Lee Hsien Loong's Cabinet. On 26 March 2009, Lee Hsien Loong announced that S. Jayakumar would relinquish his post as Deputy Prime Minister and be appointed Senior Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.

S. Rajaratnam retired from political office in 1988 and died in 2006. S. Jayakumar retired from politics prior to the 2011 General Elections. Seven days after the elections, on 14 May 2011, Goh Chok Tong and Lee Kuan Yew announced their retirement from the Cabinet.

In Singapore, the terms for Senior Minister in the country's three other official languages are as follows:

  • Chinese (Mandarin):
    • After 12 August 2004: Guo wu zi zheng (simplified Chinese: 国务资政; traditional Chinese: 國務資政; pinyin: guó wù zī zhèng; literally "Political Adviser on National Affairs")
    • Before 12 August 2004: Nei ge zi zheng (simplified Chinese: 内阁资政; traditional Chinese: 內閣資政; pinyin: nèi gé zī zhèng; literally "Political Adviser in the Cabinet")
  • Malay: Menteri Kanan
  • Tamil: ?

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