S. Rajaratnam




Sri Lanka


February 25, 1915




February 22, 2006

Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore

Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew

Preceded by Goh Keng Swee



Sinnathamby Rajaratnam, better known as 'S. Rajaratnam', (25 February 1915 – 22 February 2006), was a Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore from 1980–85, and a long-serving Minister and member of the Cabinet from 1959–88. He was one of the pioneer leaders of independent Singapore as it achieved self-government in 1959 and later independence in 1965. He devoted much of his adult life to public service, and helped shape the mentality of Singaporeans on contemporary issues. One of the schools of Nanyang Technological University, is named the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in honour of him, as is the S. Rajaratnam block of his alma mater, Raffles Institution.

Early life Edit

The second child of Sabapathy Pillai Sinnathamby and his wife N. Annamah, both of Tamil descent, Rajaratnam was born in Vaddukoddai, Jaffna, Sri Lanka. His father had wanted him to be born there for auspicious reasons after the premature death of his older brother. He was then brought back to Malaya and raised in Seremban and Selangor.

Rajaratnam studied in, St Paul's boys' school, Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur, and later in Raffles Institution in Singapore. In 1937, he went to King's College London to pursue a law degree. However, due to World War II, he was unable to receive funding from his family to continue his studies; instead, he turned to journalism to earn a living. He met his wife Piroska Feher, a Hungarian teacher while in London.

He returned to Singapore in 1948 when he joined the Malayan Tribune. In 1954, he joined The Straits Times as a journalist. He was bold in writing about the way Singapore was governed by the British. This incurred the displeasure of the colonial government. His column, "I write as I please", attracted so much attention that he was called for questioning by the government.

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