Sim Kee Boon (simplified Chinese: 沈基文; pinyin: Shěn Jīwén) was one of Singapore’s pioneer civil servants – men who worked closely with the Old Guard political leaders and played a key role in the success of Changi Airport and turned the fortunes of Keppel Shipyard around.
He graduated with Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics from University of Malaya in 1953, and joined the civil service that year. By 1962, at just 33, he was made acting permanent secretary in the National Development Ministry, before taking charge of the Finance Ministry as well as Intraco, the state trading company. He was also Chairman and member of the Council of Presidential Advisers.
As Permanent Secretary at the Communications Ministry from 1975 to 1984, he made his name in the history books as the man behind was then the biggest civil project in Singapore – the construction and opening of Changi Airport – managing every aspect of the project from land reclamation to squatter resettlement. To Sim, Changi Airport project was his ‘national service’ to Singapore.
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