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Fourth President: Mr Wee Kim Wee History of Presidents

President Wee Kim Wee

Mr Wee Kim Wee was elected as the President of the Republic of Singapore by the Parliament on 30th August 1985. He is born in Singapore on 4th November 1915 and received his early education in at Pearl's Hill School. After that he went on to study at Raffles Institution and left the school when he was 15, in January 1930. During his school days, Mr Wee was a very active sportsman. He played badminton, table tennis, basketball and soccer. He also won the junior singles badminton champion of Singapore in 1937. He also spent many years serving various badminton bodies of Singapore and Malaya and eventually ended up as the president of the Singapore Badminton Association and the vice-president of the Badminton Association of Malaya.

After he had left Raffles Institution, he went on to join the Straits Times as a clerk at the circulation department. He later moved on to advertising and reporting. Eight months before the start of the Pacific War in 1941, he resigned from Straits Times to join the United Press Association, an American news agency which set up its office for the first time in Singapore.

During the occupation of the Japanese, he served as a clerk in Japanese military establishments. When the war finally ended, he became a supervisor and a cashier of a large canteen catering to Asian seamen of Japanese merchant ships. When Singapore got her liberation in 1945, he rejoined the United Press Association. In 1959, he resigned to join the Straits Times as Deputy Editor, leading the editorial department in Singapore.

While at the Straits Times, Mr Wee covered the civil war in the Belgian Congo (now Zaire) at the time when Malaysia sent a special force to join the United Nations Command's peace-keeping force. He also covered the official visits of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to Indonesia and to several countries in Eastern Europe.

In 1966, he was the first Singaporean journalist to enter Jakarta during Confrontation and interview Lieutenant-General Suharto and Foreign Minister Mr Adam Malik when President Sukarno was still confined to the palace in Bogor. Through reports of his exclusive interviews, both Singapore and Malaysia learnt for the first time of Indonesia's intention to end the Confrontation.

In the year 1973 which is two years before his retirement from the Straits Times, the Singapore Government offered him the post of High Commission of Malaysia. This is a post with a service term of three years, Mr Wee ended up serving a total of seven years, with the last two years as dean of diplomatic corps in Kuala Lumpur. Mr Wee also served as a member of the Singapore delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in 1977.

He was appointed Ambassador to Japan in September 1980 and concurrently Ambassador to the Republic of Korea in February 1981. He returned to Singapore in April 1984 and assumed the position of Chairman of the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC, but currently known as TCS).

Mr Wee served on six statutory boards: Rent Control Board; Film Appeal Committee; Land Acquisition Board; Board of Visiting Justices; National Theatre Trust; and Singapore Broadcasting Corporation.

In 1966, he was appointed a Justice of the Peace. In 1963, he was awarded the Public Service Star for his public work and in 1979, the Meritorious Service Medal for his diplomatic services


 Courtesy of the Government of Singapore