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Singapore new Cabinet

It was issued on April 23 that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reshuffled his Cabinet, in the first change to political assignments ever since the general election last year.

This follows two weeks after Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat stepped down as chief of the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) fourth-generation (4G) team, paving the way for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s successor to be a younger person with a longer path.

Even though he remains DPM and Minister for Economic Policies, he will abdicate his role as Minister for Finance to Mr. Lawrence Wong. 

Six other ministries will also be presided by new appointments, however, the transition will take effect on May 15.

PM Lee stated that these “major changes” would provide some of the minister’s new responsibilities and aid them to acquire different exposure and experience.

“The reshuffle is also an opportunity for them to work together in new capacities so that they can understand each other better, and strengthen their cohesion as a team,” he added. “This will make the new team readier to take over from me and my older colleagues.”

We at straits times will break down what you need to know about Friday’s announcements:

Who is the New Minister of Finance?

Mr. Lawrence Wong will be assigned Minister for Finance and let go of his appointment as Education Minister.

PM Lee said: “Lawrence has been assisting Swee Keat as Second Minister since 2016, so he has the experience, and is a natural fit for the job.”

What about the other 4G contenders?

Mr. Chan Chun Sing will be transferred from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) to the Ministry of Education.

“Chun Sing has done an excellent job getting our economy back on track and preparing our industries and companies like online betting Singapore to respond to structural changes in the global economy. This has been a major national priority,” said PM Lee.

“Now I am sending him to education, where he will build on the work of previous education ministers to improve our education system to bring out the best in every child and student, and to develop young Singaporeans for the future.”

What are the other major changes among the ministers?

After serving as Health Minister for almost a decade, Mr. Gan Kim Yong will take over as Minister for Trade and Industry

PM Lee described Mr. Gan as a “point man” in Singapore’s battle against Covid-19.

Mr. S. Iswaran will preside over the Ministry for Transport while remaining as Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations at MTI.

What are the other new appointments?

Mr. Edwin Tong will acquire the deputy chairman of the People’s Association position from Mr. Chan Chun Sing.

Dr. Koh Poh Koon will be Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Manpower, apart from his role as the health minister.

Dr. Koh will be replaced as NTUC’s deputy leader by Mr. Chee Hong Tat. Mr. Chee will retain his position as Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport but resign from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

Ms. Sim Ann will take his place at MFA, and she will abandon her portfolio at MCI. In MND, she will continue to serve as Senior Minister of State.

Ms. Sim will be replaced at MCI by Minister of State Tan Kiat How, who will remain in the Ministry of National Development. He will step down from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Rahayu Mahzam, Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Health, will take on a new role at MCI.

What will be Heng Swee Keat’s role?

Mr. Heng will remain as Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies.

He will also continue to manage the Strategy Group within the Prime Minister’s Office, which correlates guidelines and strategies across the Government, plus the National Research Foundation.