4G Leadership: why you can feel assured with Indranee Rajah

Indranee Rajah

“…every Singaporean of whatever age is important. We are a unique people and we are a special country. Never forget that!”

Ms Indranee Rajah has served as the Member of Parliament for the Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency (GRC) since 2001. She is the fourth woman in Singapore’s history to be appointed as a full Minister, following Lim Hwee Hua, Grace Fu, and Josephine Teo.

She graduated from law school with honours in 1987. In 2001, she became a partner at Drew & Napier LLC. She was appointed Senior Counsel in 2003.

In 2012, she gave up her practice at Drew & Napier to become Senior Minister of State for Law and Education. Currently, she is the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. She is also Second Minister for and Second Minister for National Development. Like a number of her colleagues in Cabinet, she gave up millions in potential earning to take up political office, drawing one salary for holding more than one portfolio.

Celebrated her birthday with vaccination

Born on 12 April 1963, Indranee celebrated her 58th birthday recently and decided to make it memorable by having her vaccination on the same day.

Indranee Rajah
“Decided to make it memorable by having my vaccination on the same day. At least this way I won’t forget when I had my jab!” – Indranee

She speaks fluent Cantonese.

Indranee speaks Cantonese fluently. Her mother is an ethnic Chinese.

Law portfolio

Under her law portfolio from 2012 – 2018, she co-chaired the Committees on Family Justice. She also co-chaired the formation of the Singapore International Commercial Court as well as the Committee to Strengthen Singapore as an International Centre for Restructuring. These are part of Singapore’s efforts to gear up to become the leading one-stop-shop for international dispute resolution.

Indranee also co-chaired the Penal Code Review Committee whose recommendations led to major amendments to the Penal Code, including greater protections of women and the vulnerable.


In her first tour of the Ministry as Senior Minister of State from 2012 – 2015, Indranee led the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (ASPIRE) Committee. It resulted in SkillsFuture, a national movement to align education with economic demand, career guidance and lifelong learning.

In her second tour of the Ministry, she chaired UPLIFT (Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce), an inter-agency team to strengthen for students from disadvantaged families.

Without intervention, the inequality gap will widen.

“We want Singapore to always be a place where people can progress. Not everybody will be exactly the same, but we want to make sure the gap is as small as possible.

It’s our firm belief that the earlier you intervene, the better. If you can get the foundations right, if you can get the right, then there’s a much better chance they’ll be able to progress better and faster.”

On Meritocracy

She reminded that meritocracy was adopted as an antidote to corruption and nepotism.

Meritocracy - Indranee Rajah

An Enabling Meritocracy

As Second Minister for Education, she outlined how the fourth generation of Singapore’s political leaders plan to approach the issue of inequality and social mobility.

An enabling meritocracy - Indranee Rajah

The approach is to improve access to opportunities among the less advantaged, bridge the shortfalls and narrow the gaps so that all can rise together.

In tandem with this, there will be “multiple pathways for achievement, success and careers to ensure continuing social mobility.

“Some may progress faster, others may take longer; some may take familiar routes, others the path less travelled, but ultimately all can have good outcomes — not necessarily the same outcomes — with effort on their part and, where needed, with support from government and others,” she said.

Read also  Myths about Meritocracy in Singapore. A response to Chua Mui Hoong's article on meritocracy


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