Fifth President of
the Republic of Singapore
(1 Sep 1993 to 1 Sep 1999)
Mr Ong Teng Cheong became the fifth President of the Republic of Singapore and the first President to be popularly elected by the people on 1 September 1993.
Born on 22 January 1936 in Singapore, Mr Ong entered school late because of the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. He was an outstanding student during his school career. After completing his secondary education, he enrolled at the University of Adelaide, where he was awarded the Bachelor of Architecture in 1961. He acquired his post-graduate degree of Master of Civic Design (Town Planning) from University of Liverpool, United Kingdom in 1967.
Mr Ong had a varied career before becoming President. He joined the Planning Department, Ministry of National Development, in 1967 as an architect-planner. He was seconded to the UNDP (Special Fund) Assistance in Urban Renewal and Development Project to lead a local team in the comprehensive transportation and land-use planning of Singapore's central area. In 1971, he left the civil service and set up his own practice.
In 1972, Mr Ong was elected to Parliament and served as a Member of Parliament for 21 years. He was appointed Senior Minister of State for Communications in 1975. Subsequently, he held the Communications, Culture and Labour portfolios. In 1983, he was appointed Minister without Portfolio when he joined the labour movement as its elected Secretary-General.
Mr Ong was appointed Second Deputy Prime Minister in 1985 and held this post until 1990. Between November 1990 and August 1993, he was Deputy Prime Minister. He resigned from the Cabinet, the People's Action Party and as Secretary-General of the NTUC in August 1993 to stand for the presidential election.
Mr Ong passed away on 8 February 2002.