SINGAPORE: Four first-time Members of Parliament (MP)-elect have been appointed Ministers of State in the Cabinet reshuffle announced on Saturday (Jul 25).
They are Marymount SMC's Gan Siow Huang, Tanjong Pagar GRC's Alvin Tan, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC's Desmond Tan, and East Coast GRC's Tan Kiat How.
Ms Gan, a former Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) brigadier-general, will be appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Manpower.
Mr Alvin Tan, a LinkedIn senior executive who was previously at Facebook, will be appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).
Mr Desmond Tan, a former chief executive of the People's Association, will be appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.
Mr Tan Kiat How, a former chief executive of the Infocomm Media Development Authority, will be appointed Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of National Development. He will also be chairman of REACH.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at a press conference announcing the reshuffle on Saturday that the new MPs-elect must have commitment, leadership, ability and experience.
"In particular with the new ministers, I have looked very hard to find people who have experience with the grassroots operations, with community outreach, with some policy work, and also with private sector experience, which is an area which I have often spoken about, but have not found it so easy to find people to come in and complement the talent mix, an experienced mix, which my cabinets have," he said.
WHAT THE NEW FACES BRING
Mr Lee said that Ms Gan will help push the Government's education and skills training agenda in her new portfolio.
"While I have had a lot of experience working with people from all walks of life in the SAF and and also more recently as part of the labour movement, I've seen how livelihoods could be affected and Government policies and schemes and implementation can make a real difference," said Ms Gan, who was at the press conference.
"So, I feel very honoured and privileged to now be in the Cabinet, to be able to make a difference, and I hope to be able to improve the lives of Singaporeans."
Mr Lee said Mr Alvin Tan's knowledge of social media and the digital media industry will be useful at MTI and MCCY, while Mr Tan Kiat How will work on Government outreach and communications.
Mr Alvin Tan said in a Facebook post on Saturday that he was "humbled to be entrusted with this responsibility to serve my country during these extraordinary times".
"I will do my very best for Singapore and our people," he wrote.
Mr Tan Kiat How also said on Facebook that he is "humbled and honoured by PM’s trust" in him. "I look forward to contributing in my new roles and working with my colleagues and all Singaporeans to build a better home for us and generations to come," he wrote.
Mr Lee also announced that new Tanjong Pagar MP-elect Eric Chua will be appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and MCCY. Mr Chua was a former director of the SGSecure Programme Office.
Mr Lee said Mr Chua's "extensive experience with youth and community work will prove invaluable" in MCCY and MSF.
Second-term MP-elect for Jurong GRC Rahayu Mahzam will also be appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health. Mdm Rahayu said she will do her best and looks forward to working with other office holders and civil servants at MOH.
"I am humbled by this trust and opportunity to continue serving in a different capacity," she wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday.
Mr Lee noted that Mdm Rahayu, a lawyer, has been in the "private sector for some time now".
"The Cabinet needs people not only from the public sector, but also from the private sector who have run a company, who have had to make a P&L (profit and loss statement) work, who have been on the receiving end of policies, and who know what policies can work, and how the impact is on people," he said.