Kwong Weng Yap

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Yap Kwong Weng
Yap speaking at a youth forum about the risks and returns of Southeast Asia's economy.
Yap speaking at a youth forum about the risks and returns of Southeast Asia's economy.
Born (1977-11-11) November 11, 1977 (age 44)
OccupationBusiness Executive
Alma mater
  • University at Buffalo BA
  • University of Manchester MBA
  • Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy MPA
  • University of Glasgow PhD

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Yap Kwong Weng (born November 11, 1977) is a Singaporean business executive and writer.[1][2] He is Principal Advisor of KPMG Singapore[3] and co-founder of Triip, a Vietnam-based travel tech company.[4][5]

Between 2014 and 2016 he was the COO of Parami Energy Group in Myanmar.[6][7] He has also worked for Jebsen & Jessen (SEA), as a General Manager who oversaw its expansion into Laos. Yap has been named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum (2012 to 2017).[8] In 2018, as its Executive Director, he set up and heads the first Artificial Intelligence joint lab in partnership with A*STAR in professional services to deploy new industry technologies.[9][10][11]

In May 2016, Yap became known after being featured in an article with the Singapore Straits Times.[12] During June of the same year, Marshall Cavendish published a book on Yap's work in Southeast Asia.[13]

On 30 May 2018, Shin Min Daily News reported on Yap’s life journey from a non-graduate to becoming a senior executive in KPMG.[14] On 21 May 2019, Yap was featured by The Straits Times as a potential political candidate in the Next Singaporean general election. He replied that he does grassroots work "without any specific consideration of candidature".[15]


Early years and education[edit]

Born in 1977, Yap grew up in Singapore, and lived in a small 3-room flat in Toa Payoh with his family for over 25 years. He received his secondary education in the now defunct First Toa Payoh Secondary School where he was a member of the National Cadet Corps, and his pre-university education at Jurong Institute, now known as Millennia Institute. At 18, he applied several times to the National University of Singapore (NUS) but was rejected. Instead, Yap joined the Singapore Armed Forces Commando Formation while saving up for a college education. The opportunity to pursue tertiary education, however, came many years later.[12]

Yap received a BA in Communication studies at age 30 from the State University of New York at Buffalo[16] with savings earned from the Army.[12] Thereafter, he earned a Master of Public Administration from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy where he received a leadership award in 2012[17] and was described as a game changer by NUS magazine.[18] He earned a PhD in management strategy from the University of Glasgow[19] and read peace and conflict studies as a Peace Fellow in Thailand's Chulalongkorn University under a Rotary Foundation Scholarship.[20][21]

Military career[edit]

Before entering the private sector, Yap served as a Commando Captain in the Singapore Armed Forces where he was trained as a paratrooper and a ranger. After being commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1998 from Officer Cadet School (Singapore) where he received a Sword of Merit, Yap was posted to 1st Commando Battalion and the Special Forces as a Platoon Commander. In 2001, he went on to attend Class 237 of the United States Navy SEAL selection and training, graduating in February 2002 from the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, California.[12]

In 2009, Yap developed a monograph on Singapore's Special Forces published by Pointer (journal).[22] In 2010, Yap transferred to the Joint Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence (Singapore).

Yap served for 13 years and left the SAF in December 2012 for the private sector.[12]

Business career[edit]

After leaving the military, Yap worked as a General Manager of Jebsen & Jessen (SEA). Next in 2014 came a stint as COO of Parami Energy, a Myanmar conglomerate involved in the oil and gas business. At the same time, he helped form Triip, a travel tech company in Vietnam.

After Myanmar, Yap worked as Regional Advisor of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in April 2017 where he worked with business and government leaders in support of the school's wider strategy.

Yap meeting with Khin Maung Cho, Minister of Industry, Myanmar on 25 May 2017 in Naypyidaw

He joined KPMG in November 2017 as a Principal Advisor and Executive Director focusing on the firm's strategy and set up an AI lab.

Civil society[edit]

Yap was the Secretary-General of the United Nations Association of Singapore (2011 to 2013) where he organized sustainability projects in Singapore and Sarawak with youth groups, civic and academic institutions.[23][24][25] Since 2013, he has been a country chair of non-profit Global Dignity, where he advocates dignity, a fundamental human right, for students in Cambodia.[26] He ran 100 km across China's Taklamakan Desert in an ultramarathon to raise awareness for the UN's Millennium Development Goals and gave a TEDx talk on the wider benefits of volunteering.[27][28]


Yap wrote his first book in 2009, where he developed Key Perspectives of Special Forces, a collection of articles by current and former Special Forces set in a monograph. His second book is Leap: Journey of a Young Global Leader from Singapore. In July 2017, Yap wrote a strong rebuttal via the Straits Times and defended Kishore Mahbubani after Singapore diplomats criticized him for writing an article that discusses Singapore's position as a small state.[29][30]


  • Leap: Journey of a Young Global Leader from Singapore (2016, Marshall Cavendish Editions). ISBN 9789814634007 Search this book on Logo.png.
  • Key Perspectives on Special Forces (2009, Journal of the Singapore Armed Forces). ISSN 0217-3956
  • Military Leadership in Business Organizations: Asset or Liability? (2007, The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management) Vol.5, No.9, p51-60. ISSN 1447-9524


  1. Chew, Patrick. (November 2012). Mr Utopia: Yap Kwong Weng speaks about his intention to change the world. AugustMan. Burda Singapore.
  2. Chew Yen, Tan. (June 2016). 给大家一个尊严 [Dignity for Everyone]. PIN Prestige. Burda Singapore.
  3. "Advisor Profile". KPMG Singapore. 2017-04-11. Retrieved 2018-01-01.
  4. "Kwong Weng Yap. Triip Profile".
  5. "Bower, Beatrice. Traveling with Yap Kwong Weng. Singapore National Trade Union Congress (M Magazine). June 2016, p.70. Retrieved 13 Oct 2016".
  6. "Andrea Montano. Spotlight: Parami Energy Group. Myanmar Business Times (Sep 2014). Vol 2, Issue 34, p.19. Retrieved 30 Oct 2016" (PDF).
  7. "Parami Energy Group of Companies – COO speaks at ASEAN Energy Business Forum". Parami. November 4, 2015. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  8. "Yap Kwong Weng | 世界经济论坛".
  9. Zhou, Wen Long (2019-11-05). "KPMG虚拟实境实验室;助员工学新科技加快数码化". Lianhe Zaobao. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  10. A*STAR. 2018-07-26 Retrieved 2020-05-26. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. Anne, Anne Sreenivasan (2019-03-26). "KPMG and A*Star unit launch cyber threat hunter". The Business Times. Retrieved 2019-05-26.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Wong, Kim Hoe (2016-05-15). "It Changed My Life: Navy Seals training and accident gave commando resolve to find purpose in life". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  13. Lee, Kai Lin (2016-08-18). "Singapore Special (p.81)". Teenage Magazine (Singapore). Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  14. 杨杰喻. (30 May 2018).考获博士学位现当·企业顾问. Shin Min Daily News. p8.Singapore Press Holdings.
  15. Au-Yong, Rachel (2019-05-21). "PAP's search for GE candidates in full swing". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
  16. Chong, April. A fruitful 10-year partnership. The Straits Times (June 2014). Singapore Press Holdings.
  17. "Student Achievement Awards (2012), National University of Singapore, retrieved 13 Oct 2016" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 January 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2016. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  18. Tan, Wanda (Jan 1, 2017). "The Game Changers". National University of Singapore.
  19. "Kwong Weng Yap. University of Glasgow Profile".
  20. "Singaporean to lead dignity movement in Cambodia, AsiaOne, (18 Feb 2013), retrieved 3 Oct 2016".
  21. Ph.D. Thesis. WorldCat Identities. OCLC 959526667. Search this book on Logo.png
  22. "Kwong Weng Yap (Ed). Key Perspectives on Special Forces. Journal of the Singapore Armed Forces (2009), retrieved 16 Nov 2016" (PDF).
  23. Curtin Sarawak co-hosting sustainable development and leadership forum [1] Archived 2016-07-15 at the Wayback Machine, Curtin University. (7 March 2011) Retrieved 30 Oct 2016.
  24. "Social capital vital in environmental sustainability, The Borneo Post, (19 Mar 2011), retrieved 25 Sep 2016".
  25. Norrlatep, Achil (11 December 2010). "Suburkan semangat sukarelawan generasi muda". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 22 Nov 2016.
  26. "Kwong Weng, Yap (2013). Securing a future for Dignity (21 Jan 2013), Global-is-Asian, retrieved 25 Sep 2016".
  27. "Yap Kwong Weng. TEDx Profile".
  28. "Singapore wonderman to trek 'desert of no return', The Brunei Times, (17 Aug 2010), retrieved 25 Sep 2016". Archived from the original on 29 May 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  29. Mohamad Salleh, Nur Asyiqin (2017-07-03). "Don's commentary on foreign policy of small states criticised". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  30. Channel, NewsAsia (2017-07-03). "Minister Shanmugam backs Bilahari's 'brilliant' response to Kishore's article on small states". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 2017-07-17.

External links[edit]


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