Lim Pin



Lim Pin (Dr) (b. 12 January 1936, Penang, Malaysia) is an academic and a medical doctor.1 He was vice-chancellor of the National University of Singapore (NUS) for 19 years from 1981–2000, the longest term for that office.2 Lim chaired the Bioethics Advisory Committee from 2001 to 2011, and the National Wages Council from 2001 to 2014.3

Education and early career
Lim attended Raffles Institution and received three distinctions at principal level in the Cambridge Overseas Higher School (Full) Certificate examination in 1956. The following year, he was awarded a Queen’s Scholarship and pursued medical studies at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He graduated in 1963 and obtained his Master of Arts degree, a year later.4 Lim then worked as a registrar in the Diabetic Department at King’s College Hospital in London, and completed his Membership of the Royal College of Physicians in 1965.


Lim returned to Singapore as a specialist in endocrinology and metabolism, and was a medical officer with the Ministry of Health from 1965 to 1966, before becoming a lecturer with the Department of Medicine at the University of Singapore (now National University of Singapore).6 In 1970, he was awarded the Commonwealth Medical Scholarship, and was attached to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in Scotland.7 In the same year, he received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Cambridge.8

In 1974, Lim became an associate professor at the University of Singapore, and four years later, was promoted to professor and the head of the Department of Medicine.9 As head, Lim introduced the practice of having lecturers assessed by students in 1979. That year, he was appointed deputy vice-chancellor of the university.10

Career at NUS

When the University of Singapore merged with Nanyang University to form NUS in 1980, Lim headed a committee that was convened to oversee staff integration.11 The following year, he was appointed vice-chancellor of NUS and early on, signalled his intention to place greater emphasis on the university’s research and development efforts.12 

During his term, the number of research institutes established at NUS increased. These include the Centre for Advanced Studies (1982), Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (1987), Institute of Micro-electronics (1990) and Institute of Molecular Agrobiology (1995). In addition, the university’s research and development  programmes in areas such as software and systems engineering, and molecular and cell biology complemented Singapore’s push into knowledge-intensive, high-technology and high value-added industries.13 Lim’s role as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board from 1995 to 2000 allowed him insight into the expertise and manpower needs of the economy, and he actively supported research and development collaboration with private companies.14 

NUS Technology Holdings, was formed in 1995 to develop the university’s research efforts into commercial applications.15 Lim later regarded the establishment of a research culture as his most important contribution to NUS.16 In addition, he increased the number of foreign teaching staff at NUS, revamped its curriculum to allow for more cross-discipline flexibility, and cut lecture hours in favour of more tutorial time.17 

During Lim’s term as vice-chancellor, there were two high-profile departures from NUS – neuropsychology lecturer and politician Chee Soon Juan, who was sacked for misconduct in 1993, and American lecturer Christopher Lingle, who left Singapore abruptly in 1994 and returned to the United States amid police investigations into his alleged contempt of court. He was later found guilty in absentia. Another significant incident was the protest by students against a fee increase in 1997. Lim, and then Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan met the students, and the protest ended after discussions between the two parties.18

Lim stepped down as vice-chancellor in May 2000, and returned to academia as Professor of Medicine at NUS. He also began practising as a senior consultant in endocrinology at the National University Hospital, and was named University Professor, the highest academic award accorded by the university to a senior faculty member.19

Holding a clinical interest in endocrinology, Lim has produced more than 100 research papers, including a number on the areas of calcium and magnesium metabolism, diabetes mellitus and thyroid disease.20 

Bioethics Advisory Committee
Lim was appointed chairman of the newly formed Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC) in December 2000.21 The BAC examines legal, ethical and social aspects of biomedical research in Singapore and makes policy recommendations to the government.22 It also carries out consultations with various public groups, including religious and professional ones as part of the recommendations process.23

In November 2001, the BAC gave its approval for the use of embryos no older than 14 days for human stem cell research.24 In June 2002, the BAC also recommended that therapeutic cloning of embryos to produce stem cells be allowed under strict regulation.25 Its recommendations on stem cell research, reproductive and therapeutic cloning were accepted by the government in July 2002, and later adopted into legislation.26

Under Lim’s chairmanship, the BAC also produced ethical guidelines on the collection, storage and use of human tissue for research, genetic testing and human-animal combinations in stem cell research among others.27 He stepped down as chairman in 2011, and was named the committee’s emeritus adviser.28

Other offices
Lim succeeded fellow academic Lim Chong Yah as chairman of the National Wages Council (NWC) in April 2001.29 The council is a tripartite body bringing together representatives from employee unions, industry and the government, and makes recommendations on wage adjustments.30 In 2003, the NWC called for wage reform with salary structures to be made more flexible through the use of monthly variable components linked to performance and productivity, and for salaries to be delinked from seniority.31 In 2012, the NWC recommended minimum built-in wage increase for low-wage workers.32 Lim stepped down from the position in 2014.33


In September 2007, Lim chaired a committee that studied and proposed a national annuity scheme.34 The committee, which included representatives from the unions, non-governmental and grassroots organisations as well as academia, proposed 12 annuity plans that were accepted by the government in February 2008 to make up the National Lifelong Income Scheme (also known as CPF Life).35

Lim is the founder-president of the Endocrine and Metabolic Society of Singapore, a former Master of the Academy of Medicine (Singapore) and Overseas Advisor to the Royal College of Physicians of London. He has been chairman of Applied Research Corporation and NUS Technology Holdings, and director of companies such as Neptune Orient LinesOverseas Union Bank and United Overseas Bank. Lim has also sat on the boards of a number of think tanks, including the Institute of Policy Studies, the Institute of East Asian Political Economy and the Singapore International Foundation.36

Awards
37 

1976: Fellow, Royal College of Physicians, London.
1978: Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
1981: Fellow, Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh.
1981: Fellow, American College of Physicians.
1982: Honorary Fellow, College of General Practitioners, Singapore.
1982: Eisenhower Fellowship.
1984: Pingat Pentadbiran Awam (Emas) (Public Administration Medal, Gold).
1988: Officier, Ordre des Palmes Academiques.
1990: Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Meritorious Services Medal).
1992: Honorary Fellow, Royal Australian College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists.
1992: Honorary Member, National University of Singapore Society.
1995: Friend of Labour Medal, National Trades Union Congress.
1997: Honorary Fellow, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.
1999: Honorary Doctorate of Science, University of Hull.38
1999: Honorary Fellow, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.39
2000: Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Distinguished Service Order).
2002: Lifetime Achievement Award, Lee Foundation-National Healthcare Group.
2003: Outstanding Service Award, National University of Singapore.40
2015: Distinguished Service Medal, National Trades Union Congress.41

Family42
Lim met his wife, Shirley Loo, a Kuala Lumpur-born law student, in the United Kingdom. They have two sons and a daughter.



Author

Alvin Chua



References
1. Tan, G. H. (2008). 100 inspiring Rafflesians, 1823–2003. Singapore: World Scientific, pp. 135–137. (Call no.: RSING 373.5957 TAN); Low, K. T. (Ed.). (2006). Who’s who in Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub, p. 308. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
2. Nirmala, M. (2000, March 18). Don who launched a gentle revolution in an ivory tower. The Straits Times, p. 54. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Tan, A. (2015, April 30). Former NWC chief helps low-wage workers. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Bioethics Advisory Committee. (2016). Past members. Retrieved 2016, September 20 from Bioethics Advisory Committee website: http://www.bioethics-singapore.org/index/about-us/history/past-members.html
4. The Queen’s scholarships for three. (1957, May 18). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Lee, E.H. (2003, March). Citation on Professor Lim Pin – 16th Gordon Arthur Ransome Orator. Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, 32(2). Retrieved 2016, September 20 from http://www.annals.edu.sg/pdfMar03/cita-limpin.pdf
5. National University of Singapore. (n.d.). Lim Pin. Retrieved 2016, September 20 from National University of Singapore website: http://www.lib.nus.edu.sg/nusbiodata/biovcLimPin.htm; Lee, E. H. (2003, March). Citation on Professor Lim Pin – 16th Gordon Arthur Ransome Orator. Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, 32(2). Retrieved 2016, September 20 from http://www.annals.edu.sg/pdfMar03/cita-limpin.pdf
6. National University of Singapore. (n.d.). Lim Pin. Retrieved 2016, September 20 from National University of Singapore website: http://www.lib.nus.edu.sg/nusbiodata/biovcLimPin.htm; National University of Singapore. (n.d.). Honourary graduate, Lim Pin during his conferment of the degree of Doctor of Science. Retrieved 2016, September 20 from National University of Singapore website: http://www.lib.nus.edu.sg/nusbiodata/biovcLimPinDocofScience.htm
7. National University of Singapore. (n.d.). Lim Pin. Retrieved 2016, September 20 from National University of Singapore website: http://www.lib.nus.edu.sg/nusbiodata/biovcLimPin.htm
8. National University of Singapore. (n.d.). Honourary graduate, Lim Pin during his conferment of the degree of Doctor of Science. Retrieved 2016, September 20 from National University of Singapore website: http://www.lib.nus.edu.sg/nusbiodata/biovcLimPinDocofScience.htm
9. National University of Singapore. (n.d.). Lim Pin. Retrieved 2016, September 20 from National University of Singapore website: http://www.lib.nus.edu.sg/nusbiodata/biovcLimPin.htm
10. Khor, C. (1981, May 18). V-C who puts people first. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11 Lee, E., & Tan, T. Y. (1996). Beyond degrees: The making of the National University of Singapore. Singapore: National University of Singapore, p. 188. (Call no.: RSING 378.5957 LEE)
12. Needs of our society – new focus of NUS research. (1981, June 2). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Lee, E., & Tan, T. Y. (1996). Beyond degrees: The making of the National University of Singapore. Singapore: National University of Singapore, p. 196. (Call no.: RSING 378.5957 LEE)
13. Lee, E., & Tan, T. Y. (1996). Beyond degrees: The making of the National University of Singapore. Singapore: National University of Singapore, pp. 216–219. (Call no.: RSING 378.5957 LEE); Nirmala, M. (1995, August 30). R&D generates fame – and a little fortune – for NUS. The Straits Times, p. 3; Chua, M. H. (1996, September 28). NUS hopes to produce well-rounded graduates with global outlook. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Nirmala, M. (1999, August 13). He’s never afraid to try new things. The Straits Times, p. 42; NSTB chairman named EDB’s 2nd deputy chairman. (2000, 1 February). The Business Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. NUS starts seed capital company for R&D spin-offs. (1995, March 10). The Straits Times, p. 46. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Nirmala, M. (1999, August 13). An advocate of change. The Straits Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Lee, E., & Tan, T. Y. (1996). Beyond degrees: The making of the National University of Singapore. Singapore: National University of Singapore, pp. 196–199, 205–206. (Call no.: RSING 378.5957 LEE); Nirmala, M. (2000, March 18). Don who launched a gentle revolution in an ivory tower. The Straits Times, p. 54; Nirmala, M. (1999, August 13). Bold changes to NUS curriculum. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Nirmala, M. (2000, March 18). Recalling the V-C blues. The Straits Times, p. 54. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Quek, T. (2000, May 24). Top university honour for Prof Lim Pin. The Straits Times, p. 41; Ahmad Osman. (2001, April 7). NWC chief will keep ‘open mind’. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Lee, E. H. (2003, March). Citation on Professor Lim Pin – 16th Gordon Arthur Ransome Orator. Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, 32(2). Retrieved 2016, September 20 from http://www.annals.edu.sg/pdfMar03/cita-limpin.pdf
21. Lim Pin gets new job. (2000, December 9). Today, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Bioethics Advisory Committee. (2013, April 26). What we do. Retrieved 2016, September 20 from Bioethics Advisory Committee website: http://www.bioethics-singapore.org/index/about-us/what-we-do.html
23. Chuang, P. M. (2001, February 7). Ethical issues key challenge for bio-ethics teamThe Business Times, p. 9; Chang, A. L. (2002, June 22). Panel sought various views for guidelines. The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Peh, S. H. (2001, November 17). Singapore indicates approval for stem cell research. Reuters. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
25. Chang, A. L. (2002, June 25). It can be used as a last resort. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. Chang, A. L. (2002, July 18). Human stem cell research gets the green light. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. Chang, A. L. (2002, November 13). Guidelines for tissue research drawn up. The Straits Times, p. 15; Chang, A. L., & Lee, H. C. (2005, November 26). 22 guidelines set for genetic research. The Straits Times, p. 2; Chua, G. (2010, September 18). Health Ministry to draft Bill on stem-cell research. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
28. Chang, A. L. (2012, February 25). Laws ‘must keep pace with science’. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG
29. Ahmad Osman. (2001, April 7). NWC chief will keep ‘open mind’. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Singapore Tripartism Forum. (2011). National Wages Council. Retrieved 2016, August 18 from Singapore Tripartism Forum website: https://www.tripartism.sg/page/National-Wages-Council/
31. Chia, S. A. (2003, May 22). Wage cuts and reforms proposed. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
32. Toh, Y. C. (2012, May 24). NWC: Give built-in pay rises. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, A. (2015, April 30). Former NWC chief helps low-wage workers. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
33. Tan, A. (2015, April 30). Former NWC chief helps low-wage workers. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
34. Lee, S. H. (2007, September 28). ‘If you think you’re old, you talk yourself into being old.’ The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
35. Li, X. Y. (2008, February 13). CPF annuities scheme will offer members 12 options. The Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
36. National University of Singapore. (n.d.). Lim Pin. Retrieved 2016, September 20 from National University of Singapore website: http://www.lib.nus.edu.sg/nusbiodata/biovcLimPin.htm
37. National University of Singapore. (n.d.). Lim Pin. Retrieved 2016, September 20 from National University of Singapore website: http://www.lib.nus.edu.sg/nusbiodata/biovcLimPin.htm
38. University of Hull honours NUS Vice-Chancellor. (1999, July–August). Campus News, 137, 2. (Call no.: RSING 378.5957 CN)
39. Vice-Chancellor honoured. (1999, November–December). Campus News, 139, 2. Call no.: (RSING 378.5957 CN)
40. NUS’ longest-serving vice-chancellor gets service award. (2003, August 27). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
41. Tan, A. (2015, April 30). Former NWC chief helps low-wage workers. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
42. Khor, C. (1981, May 18). V-C who puts people first. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 7 October 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Personalities
Physicians--Singapore--Biography
Health and medicine
Lim Pin, 1936-
Personalities>>Biographies
Education>>Higher education>>Colleges and universities
National University of Singapore--Officials and employees--Biography