Wong Kan Seng (Template:Zh; born 1946) is a Singaporean politician. A member of the governing People's Action Party (PAP), he served as the country's Deputy Prime Minister from 2005 to 2011. He also held the Cabinet portfolios of Minister for Community Development (1987–91), Minister for Foreign Affairs (1988–94), Minister for Home Affairs (1994–2010) and Co-ordinating Minister for National Security (2010–11). He is a Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency.


Wong entered politics in 1984 after working as a teacher in the Singapore Civil Service and the private sector.[1]

Wong was elected a Member of Parliament representing the Kuo Chuan constituency in Toa Payoh at the 1984 general election. He has since been re-elected as an MP representing the Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) of Toa Payoh (1988), Thomson (1991) and Bishan-Toa Payoh (1997, 2001, 2006 and 2011).

Wong was appointed the Acting Minister for Community Development in 1986. He was made a full member of the Cabinet as Minister for Community Development by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1987. He was concurrently appointed the Minister for Foreign Affairs in 1988. In 1994, he became the Minister for Home Affairs. Wong also served as the Leader of the House in Singapore's Parliament from 1991-2007.

On 1 September 2005, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong appointed Wong as one of two Deputy Prime Ministers following the retirement of Tony Tan.[2] On 1 November 2010, Wong was appointed the Co-ordinating Minister for National Security and relinquished his post as Minister for Home Affairs.

Wong retired from the Cabinet following the 2011 general election. He remains a Member of Parliament.

Role in homeland security in SingaporeEdit

As the Minister for Home Affairs, Wong was in charge of overseeing emergency planning, dealing with internal threats such as cults and terrorists, involved in law and order, and rooting out of criminals and illegal immigrants.[3]

Mas Selamat escapeEdit

On 27 February 2008, alleged Jemaah Islamiyah leader Mas Selamat bin Kastari escaped from Whitley Road Detention Centre, leading to the largest manhunt in Singapore. Wong expressed his regret in Parliament the day after the occurrence.

"This should never have happened. I am sorry that it has."

He revealed that Mas Selamat escaped when he was taken to the toilet before a meeting at the detention centre's family visit room.[4]

Wong was criticised because news of Mas Selamat's escape was not disseminated to the public until four hours after its occurrence. There were calls for Wong to step down, given the severity of the security lapse.[5] Mas Selamat was eventually recaptured in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, on 1 April 2009, by Malaysian authorities, over a year after his escape.[6]


Wong was then responsible for co-ordinating the inter-ministerial nationwide effort to counter the SARS epidemic.[3] Certain measures were taken to contain the virus, including mandatory home quarantine measures, health screening at immigration checkpoints, schools and hospitals and public education programs. On 31 May 2003, Singapore was taken off the World Health Organisation's list of SARS-affected countries.


Wong received his secondary education at Outram Secondary School. He went on to received a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Singapore in 1970, and a Master of Business Administration from the London Business School on a Singapore government scholarship in 1979.

Personal lifeEdit

Wong is married to Ruth Lee Hong Geok. The couple have two children.


  1. Emergencies and threats? He's tackled them all", The Straits Times (Singapore), 15 August 2004
  2. The Cabinet - Mr Wong Kan Seng
  3. 3.0 3.1 Emergencies and threats? He's tackled them all, The Straits Times (Singapore), 15 August 2004
  4. Script error
  5. Script error

External linksEdit

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