Biographical Outline
Remembering Mr S Rajaratnam:
The Man and His Ideas His Ideals and Visions Biographical Outline Biographical Outline Key Speeches Key Speeches Special Video Features Special Video Features Tributes Tributes

 

Mr Sinnathamby Rajaratnam (1915-2006)

 

 

1915

BIRTH

Born in Jaffna, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), on 25 February.

 

1935

EDUCATION

Enrolled for degree course in Law at King’s College, University of London.

 

1941

MARRIAGE

Married Piroska Feher (deceased 1989).

 

1948
~ 50

MALAYAN TRIBUNE

Joined the Malayan Tribune as a journalist.

 

1950
~ 54

SINGAPORE STANDARD

Became Associate Editor at the Singapore Standard.

 

1954

THE RAAYAT

Started his own weekly column at The Raayat.

 

1954

SINGAPORE UNION OF JOURNALISTS

Was Founding Member and President of the Singapore Union of Journalists.

 

1954

PEOPLE’S ACTION PARTY (PAP)

Was Founding Member of the PAP, together with Goh Keng Swee, Lee Kuan Yew and Toh Chin Chye.

 

1955
~ 59

THE STRAITS TIMES

Became Leader Writer at The Straits Times.

 

1959
~ 88

COMMUNITY SERVICE

Won six consecutive General Elections and served the Kampong Glam ward for a total of 29 years.

 

1959
~ 65

MINISTER FOR CULTURE

Became Minister for Culture in the first fully-elected government of self-governing Singapore. The development of the former National Theatre on River Valley Road and the old National Library on Stamford Road were among the many initiatives that he oversaw. Mr Rajaratnam also introduced television in Singapore and launched Television Singapura, Singapore’s first television station, in February 1963.

 

1965
~ 80

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Became Singapore’s first and longest-serving Minister for Foreign Affairs. During this period, he widened the international space for Singapore, contributed to its diplomacy and security, and developed a highly competent and professional foreign service which is well regarded by the international community.

 

1966

NATIONAL PLEDGE OF SINGAPORE

Drafted the National Pledge after separation from Malaysia and during one of Singapore’s darkest periods after two racial riots in 1964. The Pledge was Mr Rajaratnam’s conviction and an act of faith. It reflected his aspirations for a united people, regardless of race, language or religion.

 

1967

ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS (ASEAN)

Was Founding Member of ASEAN, together with Adam Malik (Indonesia), Tun Abdul Razak (Malaysia), Narciso Ramos (Philippines) and Thanat Khoman (Thailand). Mr Rajaratnam worked actively with fellow foreign ministers in the region to develop ASEAN as the platform for regional friendship and cooperation.

 

1968
~ 71

MINISTER FOR LABOUR

Held a concurrent appointment as Minister for Labour where Mr Rajaratnam implemented labour laws which helped lay the foundation for industrial peace and tripartism between labour, employers and government.

 

1980
~ 85

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Became Second Deputy Prime Minister (Foreign Affairs).

 

1985
~ 88

SENIOR MINISTER

Appointed as Senior Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and retired from politics in 1988.

 

1988
~ 97

INSTITUTE OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES (ISEAS)

Was Distinguished Senior Fellow at ISEAS.

 

2006

DEATH

Died on 22 February, three days before his 91st birthday. He was accorded with a state funeral at The Esplanade.