Gan Kim Yong: 5 facts about S’pore’s new Deputy PM

Things to know about Gan Kim Yong, Singapore’s new Deputy PM

Mr Lawrence Wong has been sworn in as the fourth Prime Minister (PM) of Singapore, and with this comes changes to the Cabinet line-up.

Most noteworthy is Mr Gan Kim Yong’s promotion to Deputy PM (DPM).

Besides being DPM, he will also chair the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and lead the Strategy Group in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 65-year-old politician.

1. Gan Kim Yong was the CEO and President of a steel company

Before he entered politics, Mr Gan worked for the Singapore Civil Service at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

He then joined the steel distributor company NatSteel Limited in 1989 as a Corporate Planning manager.

Source: NatSteel

In 1996, he assumed the role of Natsteel’s Executive Vice President, as well as CEO of NatSteel Resorts International and NatSteel Properties.

He was promoted to helm the company as its CEO and President in 2005.

2. Has over 20 years of experience in Singapore politics

2001 was the year Mr Gan kickstarted his career in politics.

TODAY reported that he was “one of the new faces” for the People’s Action Party (PAP) team in the Holland-Bukit Panjang GRC alongside Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

Mr Gan was then the Minister of Manpower from 2008 to 2011, during which he tackled the issue of minimising mass retrenchments due to the 2009 economic recession.

Following this appointment, he became the Minister of Health from 2011 to 2021.

Notably, Mr Gan played a key role during the Covid-19 pandemic when he co-chaired the Multi-Ministry Taskforce with PM Wong.

Source: Reuters

“Kim Yong, we went through the COVID baptism of fire together and he was a pillar of strength throughout,” PM Wong said at a press conference on 13 May about the new cabinet line-up.

In this period of increased geopolitical tensions, his experience in international economics will also help us navigate a more contested global environment.

PM Wong also noted Mr Gan’s position as an experienced minister who “will provide a steady hand in this initial period of transition”.

He has 10 more years of political experience compared to PM Wong and DPM Heng Swee Keat who joined politics in 2011.

Mr Gan became Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry on 15 May 2021.

Additionally, he was the Chairman of the People’s Action Party from 2018 to 2022.

Mr Gan continues to represent Choa Chu Kang GRC as a Member of Parliament (MP) today.

Source: @GANKIMYONG on X

3. Gan Kim Yong is married with two daughters

Mr Gan is married to Mrs Esther Gan.

While not much is known about his wife, she’s been seen accompanying him to state occasions and events.

For example, Mrs Gan was with her husband at his inauguration as Minister for Manpower in 2009.

Source: National Archives of Singapore. Mrs Gan stands at the extreme left of the picture.

The couple also attended the wake of Singapore’s first PM, Lee Kuan Yew, when he passed in March 2015.

Source: People’s Action Party on Facebook

The couple has two daughters together.

4. Serves as an elder at a Presbyterian church

Over the years, Mr Gan has been actively serving as an elder at Chen Li Presbyterian Church.

Year after year, he has graced special occasions there, such as his role as Guest-of-Honour (GOH) at the church’s Christmas Light Concert in 2008.

Source: Google Maps

In 2014, he was also the GOH at the inaugural Presbyterian Care Singapore Network (PCS-N) conference held at All Saints Home.

In 2019, Mr Gan handed badges to Explorers from Chen Li Presbyterian Kindergarten during their Enrolment Ceremony.

5. Studied engineering at Cambridge University

Mr Gan received his early education in Singapore and is an alumnus of Catholic High School (CHS).

At CHS, Mr Gan is named a Leader of Bilingualism alongside other notable alumni, including Mr Lee Hsien Loong.

After completing his studies at National Junior College, Mr Gan clinched the Overseas Merit Scholarship to read Engineering at Cambridge University.

He attained his bachelor’s degree in 1981.

Following this, he went on to pursue his Masters in Engineering from the same university, and graduated in 1985.

At the press conference on 13 May, Mr Gan said he was “grateful and humbled” that PM Wong had asked him to continue serving as a Cabinet member.

While the 65-year-old acknowledged that he was “not quite 4G”, he expressed that he was honoured to have the opportunity.

Mr Gan added:

Together with DPM (Heng Swee Keat), I will do my best to support the Prime Minister and help my younger colleagues in whichever way I can, to build a strong team that will lead us forward.

Also read: Loo Tze Lui: 5 things to know about PM Wong’s wife, a former banker with a heart of gold

Loo Tze Lui: 5 things to know about PM Wong’s wife, a former banker with a heart of gold

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Featured image adapted from Gan Kim Yong on Facebook and @GANKIMYONG on X

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