Shunmugam Jayakumar (often known as “S. Jayakumar”) (born 12 August 1939) is a Tamil Indian politician from Singapore. A member of the governing People’s Action Party (PAP), he is currently a Senior Minister in the Cabinet and the Co-ordinating Minister for National Security.
S. Jayakumar previously served as Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister from 2004 to 2009, Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1994 to 2004, Minister for Home Affairs from 1988 to 1994, Minister for Law from 1988 to 2008, and Minister for Labour from 1984 to 1985. He is a Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Bedok within the East Coast Group Representation Constituency.
Jayakumar received his secondary education at Raffles Institution, before going on to the University of Singapore where he graduated with a Bachelor of Law (Honours) degree. He was admitted to the Bar in 1964, and then furthered his education at Yale Law School where he received a Master of Law degree in 1966.
Upon his return to Singapore, Jayakumar took on a lecturing position in the Faculty of Law at the National University of Singapore from 1964 to 1981, assuming the position of Dean of the Faculty in 1974.
Jayakumar served as Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) and High Commissioner to Canada from 1971 to 1974, and was a member of Singapore’s delegation to the UN Law of the Sea Conference from 1974 to 1979.
In 1980, Jayakumar was elected as Member of Parliament for the constituency of Bedok. He was returned as the MP for the same constituency in 1984 as an incumbent, and as one of the three MPs in the newly-created Group Representation Constituency (GRC) scheme in 1988. This was again the case, as one of the four MPs in the same GRC in the 1991 General Election.
S. Jayakumar was re-elected as one of six MPs for the East Coast GRC in the 1997 General Election. In 2006, he was re-elected in the new five-member East Coast GRC.
In 1981, Jayakumar was appointed as a Minister of State at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Law. He entered the Cabinet of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1984 as the Minister for Labour with the additional portfolios of Second Minister for Home Affairs and Second Minister for Law.
Jayakumar was appointed Minister for Home Affairs and Second Minister for Law on 2 January 1985.
In 1988, Jayakumar was appointed Minister for Law and Minister for Home Affairs. He retained these portfolios when Goh Chok Tong became Prime Minister in 1990.
In January 1994, Jayakumar was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law. On 12 August 2004, Jayakumar was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Law in the Cabinet of the new Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong.
On 1 September 2005, Jayakumar took over the role as Co-ordinating Minister for National Security from Dr Tony Tan to oversee counter-terrorism policies in Singapore.
Jayakumar stepped down as Minister for Law on 30 April 2008, and as Deputy Prime Minister on 1 April 2009. He was appointed a Senior Minister on 1 April 2009.