Ong Keng Yong

Ong Keng Yong PBS (born 6 January 1954) is a Singaporean diplomat who served as the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) from 2003 to 2007,[1] and as Singapore's High Commissioner to Malaysia from 2011 to 2014. Thereafter, he took over from Ambassador Barry Desker and assumed the position of Executive Deputy Chairman of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Nanyang Technological University.[2]

Ong Keng Yong

王景荣 (Wáng Jǐngróng)
11th Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
In office
January 1, 2003  December 31, 2007
Preceded byRodolfo Severino Jr.
Succeeded bySurin Pitsuwan
Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Singapore)
In office
High Commissioner to India, Republic of Singapore
In office
High Commissioner to Malaysia, Republic of Singapore
In office
July 2011  November 2014
Non-Resident Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran
In office
February 2009  July 2011
Assumed office
January 2015
Personal details
Born (1955-01-06) January 6, 1955
Alma materUniversity of Singapore
Georgetown University


Ong read law at the University of Singapore and graduated with a LL.B. (honours) before moving on to complete a M.A. in Arab studies at Georgetown University. He joined Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in June 1979 and went on diplomatic postings to Saudi Arabia (1984–1988), Malaysia (1989–1991) and the United States (1991–1994). From 1994 to 1996, he was the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 1996 to 1998, he was concurrently Singapore's High Commissioner to India and Singapore's Ambassador to Nepal. From 1998 to 2002, he concurrently held three positions: Press Secretary[3] to Goh Chok Tong, the second Prime Minister of Singapore; Chief Executive Director of the People's Association; and Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts. From 2008 to 2011, he served as Director of the Institute of Policy Studies at the National University of Singapore. From July 2011 to November 2014, he was appointed Singapore's High Commissioner to Malaysia.[4] Since January 2015, Ong has been Singapore's Non-Resident Ambassador to Iran. Ong previously served in the same capacity from February 2009 to July 2011.[4] He has been the Chairman of the Singapore International Foundation since April 2015. In August 2015, Ong was appointed Singapore's Non-Resident High Commissioner to Pakistan.

Ong is the Chairperson of the Governing Board of the Human Rights Resource Centre based at the University of Indonesia. He is also a Board Member of the International Rice Research Institute Fund Singapore and The Asia Foundation Singapore. Ong is in the Global Council of the New York-based Asia Society. Ong is also an Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[5]

In 2017, Ong criticised fellow diplomat Kishore Mahbubani about his views that small states must always behave like small states. Warning that it is against Singapore's well-being if international relations are based purely on size, Ong posited that Singapore adopts a "friendly approach to states which want to be friendly with (Singapore)...(while remaining) particularly sensitive in managing foreign policy... But when necessary, Singapore has stood up to pressure from other states when its interests were at stake."[5]


Ong has received several awards throughout his career. He was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 1997, the Long Service Award in 2002 and the Meritorious Service Medal in 2008 by the Singaporean government. He also received the Medal of Friendship from Laos in 2007, and the Medal of Sahametrei from Cambodia in 2007.[4]

Political offices
Preceded by
Rodolfo Severino Jr.
Secretaries General of ASEAN
Succeeded by
Surin Pitsuwan


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