I asked Ho Ching to enter politics: Goh Chok Tong

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and wife Ho Ching leave after an audience with Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at Nurul Iman Palace in Bandar Seri Begawan October 5, 2017. (PHOTO: Reuters)

Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong has revealed that in the early 1980s, he approached Ho Ching to enter politics – but was told that the timing was wrong.

In the first volume of his newly-released memoirs entitled Tall Order: The Goh Chok Tong Story, Goh, who was Prime Minister of Singapore from 1990 to 2004, recalled that he had spotted Ho in the Ministry of Defence and thought that “she had the intellect and the attributes we were looking for”.

“She would have made a good minister, a different kind of minister.”

Ho, who is now chief executive of Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings, was in her late 20s at the time. “She did not say no. She said not at this stage. She was still young.”

Ultimately, Singapore’s second prime minister was “overtaken by events” as Ho married now Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 1985.

The 77-year-old concluded, “As she was part of the Lee family, I never approached her again.”

“I would not have asked her to be a politician. Hsien Loong would be against it. She would be against it. And Singapore would be against it.”

This is one of the revelations in the 280-page Tall Order, penned by former Straits Times journalist Peh Shing Huei and published by World Scientific Press. It tells the story of Goh’s life and career until he succeeded Lee Kuan Yew as prime minister in 1990.

Tall Order will be officially launched next Thursday, 8 November. Yahoo News Singapore‘s review of the book will be released on the same day.

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