The Leaderboard profiles the people behind the policies of the Asia-Pacific. This post features Grace Fu Hai Yien, Singapore minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, second minister for the Environment and Water Resources and second minister for Foreign Affairs.
Who is she?
Grace Fu Hai Yien is the second female to be named as a full minister in the Republic of Singapore. In a cabinet shuffle on July 31, she was named minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, second minister for the Environment and Water Resources and second minister for Foreign Affairs.
Grace Fu excelled in her business career from 1985 to 2006, working in the Overseas Union Bank, the Haw Par Group, the PSA Corporation, and Singapore Terminals. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong introduced her as one of People Action’s Party new candidates for the 2006 general election. She was elected a member of parliament and appointed a minister of State for the Ministry of National Development in August 2006. Two years later, she was promoted to senior minister of state at the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of National Development.
After her landslide victory against the Singapore Democratic Party’s candidate in the 2011 general election in the Yuhua Single Member Constituency, she was appointed senior minister of state at the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. She holds an honor degree in accountancy and an MBA from the National University of Singapore.
Why is she in the news?
As part of Prime Minister Lee’s cabinet reshuffle, Grace Fu was promoted to minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, second minister for the Environment and Water Resources and second minister for Foreign Affairs. She represents the relatively new face of women ministers in Singapore. Her promotion demonstrates the PAP’s interest in gaining greater alignment with the electorate after receiving a strong wake-up call in the 2011 general election.
What can we expect from her?
Fu’s promotion from a backbencher to a full minister gives her more a stage to influence Singapore domestic and foreign policies. She will be an important voice in the newly arranged cabinet, which shows the People Action’s Party’s need to promote young talent and connect with female voters.
Expect Grace Fu to speak up and test assumptions. She condemned the proposed 36-37% income cuts for ministers in January, citing it as another obstacle besides loss of privacy and public scrutiny for those who desire to serve the public. If successful, Fu should be an inspiration to new voices attempting to broaden political discourse in Singapore. She will likely become a leading voice for women’s empowerment in Asia.