This is a speech made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long, “Dr Goh was one of our nation’s founding fathers… A whole generation of Singaporeans has grown up enjoying the fruits of growth and prosperity, because one of our ablest sons decided to fight for Singapore’s independence, progress and future.” He is no other than “Mr Fix It” or Dr Goh Keng Swee.
Dr Goh Keng Swee was born on 6 October 1918 in a middle-class Peranakan Family in Malacca Malaysia. He died on 14 May 2010 in Singapore. Dr Goh came to Singapore when he was 2-years old. He then studied at Anglo-Chinese Primary and Secondary School and later at Raffles College. Armed with diploma in arts, Dr Goh entered civil service in 1939, but this was interrupted by the invasion of the Japanese. After the Japanese Occupation, Dr Goh rejoined the civil service in 1946 at the Department of Social Welfare, and was active in post-war administration. His outstanding performance earned him a scholarship to study statistics at the London School of Economics in 1947. His political awakening came during his trip to Hungary when he attended the World Federation of Democratic Youth Meeting. During his stay in London, he started the Malayan Forum, an anti-colonial political group, with some fellow students including our present Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Ex-Deputy Prime Minster Toh Chin Chye and Dr Goh was the founding Chairman. He graduated from LSE with first class honours in economics and won the William Farr Prize in 1951. He then returned to Singapore and work in the civil service. In 1954, Dr Goh returned back to LSE for further studies and obtained his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1956. He then returned to Singapore and work for the civil service again. This time, it was not for long. He resigned to contest for the 1959 Singapore General Elections for PAP. This started his political career in Singapore.
These were the important positions held by Dr Goh. He took on the role of the Minister for Finance which had an aim of creating jobs for Singaporeans, thus he introduced an industrialisation programme. This act allows the rapid growth of Singapore’s economy. He took on the role the Minister of Defence and Security which he saw the urgent need for a strong defence force that eventually helped in creating the Singapore Armed Forces He also took on the role Minister of Education, he saw the importance of curriculum development in the education, which he eventually greatly influenced the development of Singapore's education system. He was described as both a key political and strategic leader responsible for the transformation of the system over thirty years from &quot;fair&quot; to &quot;great“. Now the Minister of Finance runs the Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for administering and regulating financial institutions and structures of the economy of Singapore. The authority's main regulatory statutes are the Companies Act, the Business Registration Act, the Currency Act and the Accountants Act. The Minister of Defence runs the Ministry of Defence, which is entrusted with overseeing the national defence needs of the Republic of Singapore. It has a policy of Total Defence which consists of Military Defence, Civil Defence, Economic Defence, Social Defence and Psychological Defence. The Minister of Education runs the Ministry of Education, which directs the formulation and implementation of policies related to education in Singapore.
Singapore faced many economical problems. Population in Singapore had been growing rapidly in Singapore. Many of the students educated were unemployed. British forces were leaving Singapore and people who had been working for them lost their jobs. Singapore has no natural resources like tin, rubber and oil. It can only depend on entrepot for trade. The ports around Singapore were more developed and Singapore faced a stiff competition with them. There are also exporters who sent their trade directly to other countries instead of sending their goods to Singapore for re-export. These caused a high labour unrest and the lack of trade in Singapore.
To solve these problems: Firstly, Dr Goh Keng Swee seeked help from Dr. Albert Winsemius. Dr. Albert Winsemius was a Dutch economist and Singapore’s long-time economic advisor from 1961 to 1984. He recommended Singapore to concentrate on manufacturing of low-value products such as clothes and textiles. Secondly, Dr Goh Keng Swee set up the Economic Development Board in 1961. This was to encourage overseas companies from America and other European companies to set up factories in Singapore. Branches were also set up in these countries to assist and provide information to these international companies. Foreign companies did not have to pay taxes over a few years if they continued operations in Singapore. EDB was responsible for providing loans to new industries and helping small industries expand. However, this roles were handed over to the Jurong Town Corporation in 1968.
This is a quote extracted from Oral History Centre’s interview with Dr Albert Winsemius,” “It was Dr Goh’s vision and political determination to push through the Jurong Industrial Estate project in the face of much public scepticism and criticism that was decisive in transforming Jurong into a large and thriving industrial complex, equipped with efficient and modern infrastructure and facilities capable of attracting numerous investors, and providing jobs, incomes and homes to many Singaporeans. Jurong had turned out to be a “Goh’s Glory”. ”
Now take a look at these two pictures. This picture is Jurong Island without much development. It was an area of jungles, swamp and old rubber estates as well as a small fishing village.
This picture is the Jurong Island in its present days. It had become more modernization This two pictures show the significant growth of Jurong Island in the 1960s to the 2000s. This Island now houses many oil refineries, research facilities, strong manpower and infrastructures.
The third solution is the industrialization of Jurong Industrial Estate. Dr Goh admitted that Jurong project was “an act of faith and could be proved to be Goh’s folly.” He strongly felt that “the only way to avoid making mistakes is not to do anything. And that… will be the ultimate mistake.” Dr Goh introduced an idea of developing Jurong as an Industrial Estate. There are two reasons behind the idea. One, Jurong Island has deep water, suitable to but a habour there. Two, It was located away from any built-up area. Jurong eventually had its own port with modern facilities so that ships from overseas could bring in raw materials to manufacture their goods and these goods could be exported to other countries. In 1968, there were 300 factories and 21,000 workers in Jurong. These factories produced clothes, textiles, toys and many other products. Jurong Island grew rapidly and it became one of the largest industrial estates in Asia. By the end of 1970, Jurong had 1400 factories, providing jobs for 112,000 workers. This picture shows then, Minister of Information, Communications and Arts, Dr Goh Keng Swee, launching operations at the National Steel and Iron Mills. It was the first factory to be set up in Jurong in 1963.
Fourthly, Dr Goh develop Singapore’s own currency. With Singapore’s in control in her currency, the government can have full rights over monetary and financial policies in Singapore. When a strong financial system was need to support the many foreign investors coming into Singapore, Dr Goh gave more licenses to foreign banks to operate in Singapore. This made Singapore’s currency known internationally. He believed in the Currency Board System, spending only what the country had and saving some money for other use. He don’t believe in printing notes and made sure for every $1 printed out, there will be $1 of foreign exchange. By doing so, Singapore will have her own savings. He also started the Development Bank of Singapore, also known as DBS which would be controlled by the Singapore government. During his time in the Monetary Authority of Singapore, he set up Government of Singapore Investment Corporation so that the government can manage the reserves more effective which was not needed for currency control. With everything he done, Singapore’s savings was increased from 1 billion during independence to 22 billion when Dr Goh retired. The Singapore Note at the bottom is the first set of Singapore notes, the orchid series.
Singapore had benefitted a lot from Dr Goh Keng Swee’s contribution to Singapore. With Dr Goh, Singapore’s economy could become strong within a short period of time. Singapore can control her money without interference by other countries and this can help Singaporeans a lot. With the creation of GIC, Singapore can handle her money more efficiently and allows more reserves that could help Singaporeans in times of crisis. Dr Goh also played a very important role in Jurong Industrialisation, which is important as Jurong Island serves as a trading port and manufacturing of new items. This benefits still last till today.
Defence is also a problem in Singapore. Although the British had an army in Singapore during 1942, they were not enough to protect Singapore. There was an ongoing war happening in the Europe whereby Hitler wanted to take control over Europe. The British Army had to return back to Great Britain to protect their homeland. The photo at the left bottom showed the British Army, led by Lieutenant General Arthur Percival surrendering to the Japanese Forces. As Singapore gain independence in 1965, the British Army and the Malay Army left Singapore. The picture at the far bottom showed British soldiers on board a naval vessel, leaving Singapore. After all these events, Singaporeans now lack of military support from the Malayan Army and the British Army. Singapore also understood that we must not depend on others to support us.
To solve these problems, Dr Goh Keng Swee seeked help from countries like Egypt and India. When they decided not to help, Dr Goh engaged advisors from different countries to help out. The Israelis helping with the army, British helping with the Air Force and the New Zealanders helping with the Navy. These laid a good foundation on the Singapore Army. Secondly, National Service was made compulsory for all males 18 and above. This policy was very unpopular as people felt that good sons do not become soldiers. However, this did not bother Dr Goh and he still continued to push his policy on. To him, this allowed a large defence force without going broke. To allows officers to train other cadets, Dr Goh built the Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute, also known as SAFTI. To make the policy popular, Dr Goh himself also joined the army.
As the strength of the Singapore Armed Forces increase, Dr Goh wanted bright people to organise the army. He then introduced the SAF overseas scholarship in 1971, which allows them to study overseas. One of the first few people who obtained the scholarship was current Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Long. And lastly, Dr Goh made research in Singapore possible. He felt that hiring researchers from overseas are too expensive. He thus put together the Electronic Warfare Study Group in 1971, a group of engineers led by Dr. Tay Eng Soon, a university lecturer. It was part of the Ministry of Defence. The group worked on Project Magpie, a secret project to develop Singapore’s Defence technology capabilities. The group was renamed Defence Science Organisation (DSO). The organisation later broke out of the Ministry and became a non-profit organisation called DSO National Laboratories in 1997.
Dr Goh set up the Singapore Mint. The plant was to served for military and civilian use. The same tool and workshop was used to make 5.56mm of ammunition and country coin. Over the next eight years, more defence-related companies were opened. These were the predecessors of Singapore Technologies Engineering subsidiaries, and all hold their own in the world market. They build missile gunboats, repair weapons and electronic equipment for the navy, fix trucks and AMX-13 tanks for the army, refurbish second-hand US Navy Skyhawk aircraft for the air force, and more.
The benefit of Dr Goh building the SAF was a big deal. Singapore now has an army to protect and defend herself. This built an identity that Singaporeans have to be in charge of their own destiny. We can no longer depend on others to defend and protect us.
During his time as the Minister of Defence, Dr. Goh found out that there was a Hokkien speaking platoon. They did not understood other languages due to the lack of education. Dr Goh felt that it was not the fault of the platoon, but the fault of the education system.
Goh’s Daring Dozen was a nickname for a team assembled by Mr Goh to review on the education system when he was the Education Minister in 1979. They had to attend lessons, talk to principals and various people from the ministry to find out what was wrong and had to be done. Within 6 months, the Gold Report or the Report for the Ministry of Education was out. This led to the changes in the ways school conducted their lessons and the philosophy of education (“one size fit all”). Streaming was introduced in 1980 that was a policy which recognise that different children are born with different abilities. Streaming was unpopular because students may felt that they are “more stupid” than the others. However, the policy was practical. Students can now learn at their own pace within their capabilities. Dr Goh also set up the Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore which review and improved the quality of teaching and learning in schools. It also set the foundation of computerisation, which can be use for teaching better.
Dr Goh’s reform for education was a great transformation. The drop out rate decreased due to streaming as students can learn within their capability. Doing so allow students to learn to their fullest potential. The creation of the Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore also allowed better materials such as computers so that students can love what the learn and thus learning better. This allow students and teachers to understand that education is essential to make Singapore a better place.
Singapore had little chance for leisure and culture. Dr Goh Keng Swee’s GRC loved operas, but there was no theatre for operas to be shown at. This resulted in the lack of culture influence in Singapore. Singapore was also having industrisation and people were spending time at work instead of leisure.
To solve these problems: Firstly, Dr Goh built the Kreta Ayer People’s Theatre in 1969. The Cantonese Operas could be held there. He set through the shows and functions mostly. This could be seen as he enjoyed the functions. Secondly, he set up the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. In 1979, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra was born. He wanted Singaporean to have some feelings for the aesthetic. He also felt that the creation Singapore Symphony Orchestra could allow people to build up self-confidence. In January 1979, the 41-man Singapore Symphony Orchestra gave its first performance. Dr Goh was not able to make it to that debut concert, but managed the next night’s.
Thirdly, the setting up of Jurong Bird Park. During his visit to Brazil , Rio de Janeiro for the World Bank Meeting, he visited the zoological garden there. He was impressed with its free-flight aviary and thus Dr Goh pushed for something similar here. He wanted to see that Jurong was not just an industrial zone but also a place where Singaporeans could escape for urban life and relax with nature. From his quote, he felt that there was no negative impact on our society and productively of workers. The Bird Park could raise cultural or education standards of the population and Singaporeans and future generations can enjoy themselves. In 3 January 1971, Jurong Bird Park was built and opened to the public. It had cost $3.5 million.
There were many benefits
Dr Goh cared for Singapore’s development and was committed to improve the lives of Singaporeans. He was often approached by many people asking for jobs. Though he tried his best to help them, he usually failed as they hardly had an education. Goh fought to protect Singapore's interests against the Federal Minister of Finance, his cousin Tan Siew Sin, &quot;who was out to spite Singapore&quot;. This shows that Dr Goh would even go against his own family members just to protect Singapore’s interests. He would rather let the situation affect his relationship with his cousin than let it affect Singapore. Goh played a crucial role in orchestrating the subsequent secession of Singapore from the Federation on 9 August 1965. (After two difficult years, Lee asked him to negotiate with the Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak and Minister for External Affairs Tun Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman in July 1965 for Singapore to have a looser arrangement with Malaysia within the Federation)
Dr Goh’s vision of Jurong as Singapore’s first industrial estate did not convince most Singaporeans initially. After all, to turn a entire swamp into a industrial estate was a mammoth task. However, with his ambitious and persevering character, he managed to overcome all odds to create Singapore’s first industrial estate in Jurong. With the primary aim of creating job opportunities for Singaporeans in mind, Dr Goh wanted to embark on an industrialisation program. He offered incentives and invited various foreign investments into the areas. Soon, factories were being build and all sorts of businesses started all over Jurong. It went on to become one of the largest industrial estates in Asia. Dr Goh also realised the need to have a capable armed force, especially after we gained independence in 1965. Many problems surfaced – such as a lack of manpower and limited funds. However, Dr Goh eventually built the Singapore Armed Forces and made it compulsory for all male Singaporeans to go through national service. Because of Dr Goh’s deep commitment put into Singapore’s development, Singapore was able to go through the obstacles it faced and has established itself as one of the most economically-developed nations in the world. Dr Goh dared to create Jurong as an industrial estate despite many people calling it a folly; and dared to built the armed forces despite the rejection from people especially because of the limited resources. Imagine if Dr Goh had not been daring, up till now there might be social unrest and pandemonium going on everywhere in Singapore protesting about unemployment or shortage of resources. He helped transform Singapore from an ageing country into one with higher standards of living and is comparable to most other countries in the world. In short, he was Singapore’s economic savior.
Goh Keng Swee
“ Dr Goh was one of our nation’s founding fathers… A whole generation of Singaporeans has grown up enjoying the fruits of growth and prosperity, because one of our ablest sons decided to fight for Singapore’s independence, progress and future.” Speech by Prime Minster Lee Hsien Loong
Background information: <ul><li>Born on 6 October 1918 in Malacca Malaysia. </li></ul>-Died on 14 May 2010 in Singapore. <ul><li>Born in a middle-class Peranakan Family </li></ul>-Came to Singapore when 2-years old <ul><li>Study in Anglo-Chinese School (1927–1936) and later at Raffles College (1936–1939) </li></ul>-Armed with diploma in arts, entered civil service in 1946 -Outstanding performance earned him a scholarship to study statistics at the London School of Economics (LSE) in 1947 <ul><li>During stay in London, he started the Malayan Forum, an anti-colonial political group </li></ul><ul><li>He graduated from LSE with first class honours in economics and won the William Farr Prize in 1951 </li></ul><ul><li>Resumed work in civil service in Singapore </li></ul><ul><li>1954, he returned back to LSE for further studies and obtained his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1956 </li></ul>
Job Description : May 1959 – Sep 1963 : Vice-chairman of PAP. 30 May 1959 – 3 Dec 1984 : Legislative assemblyman and later member of parliament for Kreta Ayer. 5 Jun 1959 – 8 Aug 1965 : Minister for Finance. 9 Aug 1965 – 23 Sep 1965 : Minister of Defence and Security. 24 Sep 1965 – 16 Aug 1967 : Minister of the Interior and Defence. 17 Aug 1967 – 10 Aug 1970 : Minister for Finance. 11 Aug 1970 – 11 Feb 1979 : Minister of Defence. 1 Mar 1973 – 31 May 1980 : Deputy Prime Minister. 12 Feb 1979 – 31 May 1980 : Minister of Education. 1 Jun 1980 – Dec 1984 : First Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of MAS. 1 Jun 1981 – Dec 1984 : Minister of Education. 1981 – 1994 : Deputy chairman, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation. 1983 – 1992 : Chairman, Board of Governors, Institute of East Asian Philosophies (later renamed Institute of East Asian Political Economy or IEAPE). Dec 1984 : Retired from politics.
Economical Problems : Singapore has no natural resources like tin and rubber. Singapore could only depend on port to trade Ports around Singapore are more developed and Singapore faced a very stiff competition. British were leaving Singapore and people who work for the British lost their jobs Population had been growing and there are lack of jobs -High Unemployment -Lack of trade
Solutions : 1. Consulted Dr. Albert Winsemius -Dr. Albert Winsemius recommended Singapore to concentrate on manufacturing of low-value products like clothes and textiles. 2. Set up Economic Development Board (EDB) <ul><li>Encourage overseas companies to set up factories and to trade in Singapore. </li></ul><ul><li>Had branches overseas to provide and assist international companies to trade and set up factories in Singapore </li></ul>
“ It was Dr Goh’s vision and political determination to push through the Jurong Industrial Estate project in the face of much public scepticism and criticism that was decisive in transforming Jurong into a large and thriving industrial complex, equipped with efficient and modern infrastructure and facilities capable of attracting numerous investors, and providing jobs, incomes and homes to many Singaporeans. Jurong had turned out to be a “Goh’s Glory”. ” Quote extracted from Oral History Centre's interview with Dr Albert Winsemius in 1982
Solutions : 3. Jurong Industrial Estate <ul><li>Dr Goh admittled that Jurong project was “an act of faith and could be proved to be Goh’s folly.” </li></ul><ul><li>He introduced an idea of developing Jurong as an Industrial Estate </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Jurong Island has deep water. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Jurong Island </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Roads, railway tracks, a power station, a reservoir and communication lines were constructed </li></ul><ul><li>Jurong’s port was equipped so that ships from overseas could bring in raw materials to manufacture goods and then could be exported. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1969, 300 factories and 21,000 workers in Jurong </li></ul><ul><li>In 1970, 1400 factories and 112,000 workers in Jurong. </li></ul>
Solutions : 4. Currency <ul><li>-Started Singapore’s own currency </li></ul><ul><li>-Gives Singapore full rights over monetary and financial policies. </li></ul><ul><li>-Gives more licenses to foreign banks </li></ul><ul><li>Believed in the Currency Board System </li></ul><ul><li>Savings for Singapore </li></ul><ul><li>Develop Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) </li></ul><ul><li>- Government of Singapore Investment Corporation was set up </li></ul>
Benefits: <ul><li>Singapore’s economy could become strong very quickly. </li></ul><ul><li>Singapore can control her money without interference. </li></ul><ul><li>Singapore have a large amount of reserves. </li></ul><ul><li>Jurong Island can be industrialised. </li></ul><ul><li>Singapore can handle her money more efficiently. </li></ul>
Defence: British army in Singapore British army needed to defend their country E.g. WWII Singapore Independence British Army leaving Singapore Malay Army leaving Singapore 1. No one to protect Singapore 2. We can not depend on others
Solutions : 1. Seek help from other countries <ul><li>Seek help from countries like Egypt and India </li></ul><ul><li>Israelis helping with the army </li></ul><ul><li>British helping with the Air Force </li></ul><ul><li>New Zealanders helping with the Navy </li></ul>2. Compulsory for all males 18 and above <ul><li>Was an unpopular policy </li></ul><ul><li>Still push on </li></ul><ul><li>Built SAFTI </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Goh himself also joined the army </li></ul>
Solutions : 3. SAF overseas scholarship <ul><li>Wanted good and smart people to organise the army </li></ul>4. Research in Singapore <ul><li>Researchers from overseas are too expensive </li></ul><ul><li>Put together Electronic Warfare Study Group later known as Defence Science Organisation (DSO) and DSO National Laboratories. </li></ul><ul><li>Project Magpie– Develop Singapore’s defence technology capabilities </li></ul>
Solutions : 5. Making bullets -Singapore Mint --- Military --- Civilian -Build ammunition - Build Singapore’s coin -Other companies set up following it
Benefits: <ul><li>Singapore was able to protect and defend herself. </li></ul><ul><li>Large Army </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to support itself </li></ul>Singaporeans have to be in charge of their own destiny.
Solutions : 1. Goh’s Daring Dozen <ul><li>A group assembled by Mr Goh </li></ul><ul><li>Review on the Education System </li></ul><ul><li>The Gold Report was out </li></ul>2. Streaming <ul><li>Recognise that different children are born with different abilities </li></ul><ul><li>Gifted Program—Top 1 % of the cohort can have accelerate learning </li></ul>3. Setting up Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore <ul><li>Improve quality and teaching and learning in schools </li></ul><ul><li>Foundation of Computerisation </li></ul>
Benefits: <ul><li>Drop out rate decreased </li></ul><ul><li>Students can learn to their fullest potential </li></ul><ul><li>Better teaching materials </li></ul><ul><li>Computerised learning </li></ul>Education is essential
Leisure and culture: Singapore having industrisation Did not spend time on leisure There was no theatre Kreta Ayer people loves operas -Lack of culture influence - No leisure
Solutions : 1. Built Kreta Ayer People’s Theatre -Allowed operas to be held -Dr Goh set through most of the shows 2. Set up Singapore Symphony Orchestra <ul><li>Dr Goh was a classical music fan </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted Singaporean to have some feelings for the aesthetic </li></ul><ul><li>Self Confidence </li></ul>
Solutions : 3. Setting up of Jurong Bird Park -Impressed by Brazil’s zoo -Allows Singaporeans to escape from urban zones and relax with nature “ It is well to concede at the outset that the bird park will not make our society more rugged. It will have negligible effect on the productivity of workers. Its efficacy as a means of tightening social cohesion is also in doubt, as is its contribution to raising cultural or education standards of the population. But it will add to the enjoyment of our citizens, especially our children.”
Benefits: <ul><li>New recreational area to relax </li></ul><ul><li>New culture centre for performance </li></ul><ul><li>People can enjoy more chances for a aesthetic </li></ul><ul><li>The Singapore Zoological Gardens and the Jurong Bird Park can be used at tourist attraction </li></ul>
Values of Goh Keng Swee Caring <ul><li>He cared about the welfare of Singaporeans </li></ul><ul><li>Tried his best to help citizens find jobs during post-war years </li></ul><ul><li>Fought hard to protect Singapore’s interests </li></ul><ul><li>Played a crucial role in separation from Malaysia </li></ul>
Values of Goh Keng Swee Daring <ul><li>Against all odds, created Singapore’s first industrial estate in Jurong </li></ul><ul><li>Embarked on industrialisation program </li></ul><ul><li>Invited foreign businesses and investments into the business districts. </li></ul><ul><li>Built the Singapore Armed Forces </li></ul><ul><li>What if he wasn’t like that? </li></ul>
14. http://www.pap.org.sg/articleview.php?folder=PT&id=6744 15. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlhdAMHV4Vg&feature=grec_index (Chapter 1-6) 16. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurong_Bird_Park 17. 10 Years that Shaped a Nation by National Archives of Singapore 18. The Master Sculptor Goh Keng Swee by The New Paper 19. Goh Keng Swee A Portrait by Tan Siok Sun