Leaders of Modern Singapore<br />Lim Kim San<br />
Lim Kim San Research Team<br />Leader and ICT expert : Moses Sim<br />Content Expert : Lucas Ong<br />Researchers : Everyone <br />
Lim Kim San<br />Lim Kim San (30 November 1916 - 20 July 2006) was a Singaporean politician. He was credited for leading the successful public housing program in Singapore during the early 1960s, which eased the acute housing shortage problem at that time. <br />
Early Life of Lim Kim San<br />Born in 1916 in Singapore, Lim was the eldest of six children. He was educated at Anglo-Chinese School and then at Raffles College , where he studied economics.<br />When World War 2 erupted and with the fall of Singapore to the Japanese, Lim was one of many tortured on suspicion of being pro-communist and pro-British. A long time after the war, Lim said that those who survived the horror and the brutality of the Japanese occupation "will never forget them". Mr Lim also said that the experience, while traumatic and humiliating, politicized his generation and made them vow to "never let our fate be decided by others."<br />After the war ended, Lim was, in his own words, a young man "in a hurry to make a living" to make up for the wasted years. He made his first million when he came up with a machine to produce Sago Pearls cheaply. He then went on to become a director of several banks.<br />
Housing and Development Board(HDB)<br />In 1960, due to a rapidly increasing population, more than 400,000 people were living in over-crowded conditions in ramshackle “chophouse” buildings or in squatters with substandard living conditions. At this time, Lim was appointed to the Housing and Development Board(HDB) He had volunteered for the job and had not been paid for three years. It was in this position that Lim oversaw the massive construction of high-rise, low-cost apartments that will eventually become the main source of housing for Singaporeans.<br />
Housing Plan<br />Lim was known for his organizing and planning abilities. He forwent a detailed planning stage and instead chose a "rough and ready" approach to work fast using rough estimates of the housing requirement. In the first two year of this crash program, over 25,000 units were built, more than what was built in the previous decade.<br />Lim defied all detractors, in particular those in the Singapore Improvement Trust, who said he could not build 10,000 units a year. A committee was eventually set up under Lim TayBoh to find out whether the HDB had the capability and the materials to reach the construction goal.<br />By the time the committee published its report, the HDB had already completed 10,000 units of housing.<br />
Success of the HDB<br />In the first Five Year Housing Program, HDB achieved its goal of completing 51,000 units of housing by 1965. The largest project at that time was Queenstown, a satellite town of more than 17,500 apartments capable of housing close to 150,000 people. The new neighborhood was built as a self-contained entity, with all amenities and shops built along with the houses, so people will not need to travel to other areas for basic necessities, thereby lowering traffic congestion. This philosophy (which was ultimately extended with the concept of Regional Centre), is generally accredited by many to have significantly contributed to the lower rate of congestion and burden on the Central Business District(CBD) than before<br />
Bukit Ho Swee Fire<br />In May 1961, the Bukit Ho Swee Fire broke out and some 16,000 people became homeless. Under Lim's guidance, the relocation and reconstruction of the lost housing was completed in just over four years, and 8,000 housing flats were made available to those who lost their homes in the fire.<br />
Reasons For the HDB’s Success<br />The success of the housing project was considered by some to stem mainly from the standardized architectural designs that were used. Another important factor was Lim's decision to use private contractors rather than employing construction workers directly. This allowed the HDB to supervise the contractors to ensure standards, rather than dealing with minute problems. Also, overall cost was kept low by using a large pool of contractors and different sources of building materials.<br />
Political Connections<br />Part of Lim's success at the HDB was that he had the trust of the Prime Minister at the time, Lee Kwan Yew.Healso worked closely with the Minister of Finance at the time,GohKengSwee. These connections allowed Lim keep the housing program well-funded. Another political factor that allowed the success of the Housing Project was that Lim managed to cut through bureaucratic red tape and rigid regulations that would have otherwise hindered the housing program<br />
Honors and Political Career<br />In June 1962, Lim was awarded the State's highest honor, the DarjahUtamaTemasek (Order of Temasek) and the Ramon Magsaysay Award for his community leadership, which provided a model for the developing world.<br />In September 1963, Lim stood for election in the Singapore Legislative Assembly election as a PAP candidate from the Cairnhill constituency. Lim won by a landslide, winning 7,749 votes out of the 11,659 cast. In October, Lim was appointed as Minister for National Development. Also, in recognition of Lim's adept ability of judging a person's merits, he was also brought on board as the PAP's "talent scout".<br />
Post-Independence Career<br />After Singapore's independence in 1965, Lim served as Minister of Finance for 2 years, before becoming the Minister of Interior and Defense . He held this position for three years until 1970, when Lim was appointed as Chairman of the Public Utilities Board(PUB) to oversee the development of new water reservoirs. He would hold the chairmanship from 1971 to 1978.<br />
Retirement and Death<br />Lim quit politics in 1980 but remained active in public life well into the twilight years of his life.<br />After a long illness, Lim died at approximately 5.30PM Singapore Standard Time(SST) on 20 July 2006 at his home. Lim left behind five children, 12 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. In recognition of Lim's work for the government, the Singaporean state flags on all government buildings were flown at half-mast on the day of his funeral.<br />
Timeline<br />Timeline1951 : Director, United Chinese Bank Ltd; Chairman, BatuPahat Bank Ltd; Chairman, Pacific Bank Ltd1959-1963 : Deputy Chairman, Public Service Commission, Singapore1960 - 1963 : Chairman, Housing and Development Board.1961 - 1963 : Deputy Chairman, Economic and Development Board.1963 - 1968 : Member of Parliament for Cairnhill.1963 - 1980 : Member of the Central Executive Committee.19 Oct 1963 - 8 Aug 1965 : Minister for National Development.9 Aug 1965 - 16 Aug 1967 : Minister for Finance.17 Aug 1967 - 15 Apr 1968 : Minister for Interior and Defence.6 Sep 1970 - 15 Sep 1972 : Minister for Education.1971 - 1978 : Chairman, Public Utilities Board.16 Sep 1972 - 1 Jun 1975 : Minister for Environment.1973 : Chairman, Board of Trustees, NTUC Welcome Consumers' Cooperative Ltd.1 Aug 1975 - 30 Jun 1978 : Minister for Communications and Information Technology.2 June 1975 - 31 Jan 1979 : Minister for National Development.1 Feb 1979 - 5 Jan 1981 : Minister for Environment.1979 - 1994 : Chairman, Port of Singapore Authority.1981 - 1982 : Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore.1988 - 1 Dec 2002 : Executive Chairman, Singapore Press Holding.1989 : Chairman, Times Publishing.1992 -2003: Chairman, Council of Presidential Advisors.2000 : Chancellor, Singapore Management University.<br />
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