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Veteran diplomat to retire after 31 years

Permanent Secretary Bilahari Kausikan of foreign affairs ministry will be Ambassador-at-large. -ST
Goh Chin Lian

Sun, May 05, 2013
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Mr Bilahari Kausikan, will retire next month.

But the 58-year-old, a civil servant for 31 years, will continue to work at the ministry as Ambassador-at-large, the Public Service Division (PSD) said on Thursday.

Taking his place on June 1 is Brigadier-General (NS) Chee Wee Kiong, 49, the ministry's Second Permanent Secretary.

The PSD in a statement praised Mr Kausikan's leadership, saying he "steered the Singapore Foreign Service ably with his pragmatic leadership in managing Singapore's foreign relations in an increasingly complex and uncertain international environment".

The veteran diplomat, who is known to speak his mind, joined the Foreign Service in 1981. But he was absorbed into the Administrative Service in 1983, a move the non-scholarship holder had reportedly said he did not choose.

One of his earlier appointments was Ambassador to The Russian Federation in 1994, three years after the end of the Cold War.

In this, he followed in the footsteps of his father, Mr P.S. Raman.

Mr Raman, a teacher and broadcaster, was Singapore's first Ambassador to the then Soviet Union, and was based in Moscow from 1971 to 1976. He died of a heart attack in 1976.

Mr Kausikan's other appointments included being Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York and High Commissioner to Canada.

In 2001, he was made the ministry's Second Permanent Secretary, a post he held until 2010, when he assumed his current position.

The PSD said Mr Kausikan played a "significant" role in promoting Singapore's political, economic and security interests while safeguarding national interests.

He was also instrumental in promoting bilateral ties with various countries, the PSD added.

For his contributions, he was conferred accolades by Chile in December 2002 and by Oman in February this year.

Singapore awarded him the Meritorious Service Medal last year, citing his leadership and outstanding contributions.

BG (NS) Chee, a former Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship holder, was director of the Security and Intelligence Division at the Defence Ministry from 2005 until 2010, when he was named MFA's Second Permanent Secretary.

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