Singapore’s Longest-Serving Finance Minister Richard Hu Passes Away, He Retired From Politics In 2001
Singaporeans of a certain age may remember the signature of Dr Richard Hu Tsu Tau very well.
That’s because as our longest-serving Finance Minister, it appeared on our banknotes for as long as 16 years.
Sadly, Dr Hu has passed away at the age of 96 years old.
DPM Wong sends condolences after Richard Hu passes away
The sad news was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, our current Finance Minister, in a Facebook post on Friday (8 Sep) night.
Sending his deepest condolences to Dr Hu’s family, Mr Wong said he served Singaporeans with distinction.
As Finance Minister when Mr Wong joined the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Dr Hu ensured policies led to “tangible improvement in peoples’ lives”, the DPM said.
DPM Heng Swee Keat, our previous Finance Minister, said on Facebook that he was deeply saddened by the news of Dr Hu’s passing.
He said Dr Hu’s wisdom and foresight shaped our key policies. This included the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which he introduced in Parliament so Singapore would have a “more resilient tax base” and boost our international competitiveness.
Was Finance Minister from 1985-2001
According to a Facebook post by MOF, Dr Hu served as Finance Minister from 1985 to 2001 — a period of more than 16 years.
This included the Asian Financial Crisis from 1997 to 1998, which he played a key role in steering Singapore through.
Mr Heng said he implemented two-off Budget stimulus packages to help tide Singaporeans over.
He also reformed Singapore’s financial and banking sectors to support Singapore’s development as a financial centre, MOF added.
Before MOF, he was a board member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and a senior Shell executive.
He became MAS managing director in 1983 and entered politics in 1984 when he was elected MP for Kreta Ayer constituency.
Dr Hu went on to take on various roles in the Cabinet before retiring from politics in 2001.
However, he remained on the board of the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore (GIC) until 2009. He was an advisor till 2012.
His signature was 1st to appear on current series of banknotes
Singaporeans with long memories may also remember that Dr Hu was the first Finance Minister whose signature appeared on the current series of Singapore currency.
According to Numis Lee Banknotes, he was the Finance Minister when we switched from the Ship Series to the current Portrait Series in 1999.
As such, his signature appeared on the very first batch of Portrait Series bills.
Thus, those who have notes from that batch are holding a priceless keepsake indeed.
His signature also appears on the replica of the discontinued S$1,000 Portrait Series banknotes launched by the Singapore Mint in March.
His funeral will be on 10 Sep
Dr Hu’s funeral will be held on Sunday (10 Sep) at the Mandai Crematorium, reported Lianhe Zaobao.
It will be a private funeral.
People’s Action Party (PAP) member Lee Hong Chuang, who had contested in Hougang in the 2015 and 2020 General Elections, attended the wake and shared a photo.
He thanked the late Dr Hu for all his contributions to Singapore.
MS News sends our deepest condolences to Dr Hu’s loved ones.
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