Singapore's first female Permanent Secretary to call it a day

Ms Lim Soo Hoon, 58, Permanent Secretary (Finance) (Performance), will retire on April 30.
Ms Lim Soo Hoon, 58, Permanent Secretary (Finance) (Performance), will retire on April 30.

After serving in the public sector for 36 years, Singapore's first female Permanent Secretary will retire from the administrative service.

Ms Lim Soo Hoon, Permanent Secretary (Finance) (Performance) at the Ministry of Finance, will retire on April 30, the Prime Minister's Office said in a press release yesterday.

After her retirement, the 58-year-old will continue to contribute to the public sector as a senior fellow of the Civil Service College. She will also continue as chairman of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) Board.

Ms Lim served in various capacities in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Communications and Information and the former Ministry of Labour.

In 1999, she became the first female officer to become Permanent Secretary. As Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Community Development, she strengthened social policies and spearheaded programmes such as the Singapore Sports School and the development of policies to promote pro-family practices like work-life balance.

She held several roles in her distinguished career, helping set key human resource policies for the public sector as Permanent Secretary (Public Service Division), Prime Minister's Office, in 2005.

In this role, she helped establish milestone development programmes for senior leaders, roll out re-employment policies for older workers in response to an ageing population, and looked at job redesign to help provide junior staff with more employable skills.

In 2012, Ms Lim was appointed Permanent Secretary (Finance) (Performance) in the Ministry of Finance, where she oversaw the ministry's central role in creating a high-performance government through efficient use of resources and integrating key programmes, processes and systems across government agencies.

Ms Lim also contributed to the widening of digital services in the public service and helped promote more data-sharing within the government and with the public. She introduced a range of initiatives to raise the professionalism and capabilities of the procurement and finance specialist communities.

She also played a significant role overseeing the establishment of the Pioneer Generation Office, which has benefited many pioneers.

For her contributions, Ms Lim was awarded the Silver Public Administration Medal in 1998 and the Gold Public Administration Medal in 2004.

After she steps down, Mrs Tan Ching Yee will be the only Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore's first female Permanent Secretary to call it a day'. Print Edition | Subscribe