In Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s authorised biography, titled ‘Tall Order: The Goh Chok Tong Story’, it is revealed that Ho Ching, wife to Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, was asked by him to join politics prior to her marriage with the PM.
Goh said, “I did approach Ho Ching and ask her if she would be interested in politics. It was quite early on. She was about 28, 29 or 30, before she married Lee Hsien Loong.”
Goh said he spotted her in Mindef and thought that she had the necessary “intellect and attributes”.
“I knew she was a President’s Scholar, but I didn’t know her well – only superficially because she was in the science part of Mindef,” he added.
“Through briefings and so on, I could see that she had a lot of substance. She would have made a good minister, a different kind of minister.”
“She did not say no. She said not at this stage. She was still young,” Goh further revealed. That is to say, she was telling Goh that she was open to go into politics later when she was perhaps older.
Goh said, “After that, I was overtaken by events! She and Hsien Loong got married.”
“As she was part of the Lee family, I never approached her again,” Goh added. “I would not have asked her to be a politician. Hsien Loong would be against it. She would be against it. And Singapore would be against it.”
In Yahoo’s recent poll, “Do you agree with ESM Goh that Ho Ching would have made a good minister?” Netizens who disagreed, stood at 83% of the total vote count of 4959.
Comments on Yahoo revolved around her performance as Temasek’s CEO for their disapproval.
Last year, Forbes named Ho Ching as the 28th most powerful woman in the world.
In 2016 she was placed 30th and the year before she was 43rd. She has been featured in Forbes’ list of top 100 most powerful women in the world since its inception in 2004.
It is unknown how much Ho Ching earns as the CEO of Temasek, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. Blogger at likethatalsocan, hypothesised that Ms Ho should have been earning more than $54 million a year which was what Charles Goodyear was earning from BHP Billiton, before being poached over for his short stint as Temasek’s CEO.