PM Lee announces new Cabinet; 6 office holders promoted, 3 retirements

PM Lee announces new Cabinet; 6 office holders promoted, 3 retirements

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced Singapore's new Cabinet on Saturday (Jul 25), 15 days after the People's Action Party (PAP) took 61.24 per cent of the votes in the 2020 General Election. Olivia Siong with more.

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced Singapore's new Cabinet on Saturday (Jul 25), 15 days after the People's Action Party (PAP) took 61.24 per cent of the votes in the 2020 General Election.

Three office holders will retire and six office holders will be promoted. In addition, there will be seven new political office holders. These changes take effect from next Monday unless stated otherwise.

Mr Lee continues as Prime Minister, saying that he intends to see Singapore through the COVID-19 pandemic as its leader and that the timeline for succession depends on the situation.

"Nobody can tell how the COVID situation will develop or how long the economic crisis will be," he said in response to a reporter's question on the timeline.

Mr Lee, 68, has previously stated that he wishes to retire before he turns 70, although he indicated during an online rally earlier this month that he will see the country through the crisis.

READ: GE2020: PAP has a ‘clear mandate’, but popular vote share ‘not as high’ as hoped: PM Lee

Mr Lee reiterated on Saturday that there remains "many unknowns" as to how the pandemic will develop and its impact on countries and the opening of borders.

"Closed borders are a very big constraint to tourism, to international business and Singapore is very dependent on that," he said.

"So it depends very much on the way the crisis unfolds but I will see through the crisis and I will hand over Singapore in good working order into the good hands of my successors as soon as that is possible."

The swearing‐in ceremony for the Cabinet and other office holders will take place on Monday at 7pm at the Istana and Parliament House. 

Mr Lee also said there will not be a National Day Rally this year, and will instead make a "major speech" to Singaporeans during the debate on the President's Address in Parliament.

READ: COVID-19: No National Day rally this year; PM Lee to make ‘major speech’ in Parliament instead

NEW CABINET SEEKS TO BALANCE CONTINUITY, EXPOSURE AND RENEWAL: PM LEE

Mr Heng Swee Keat remains in his posts as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister after he was promoted to Deputy Prime Minister in May last year. He will also be appointed as Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies.

Mr Heng said he will continue to support the multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19 as an adviser, in a Facebook post on Saturday.

He added that as Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, he will "bring together" all economic agencies to focus on employment and the transformation of Singapore's industry.

"As adviser to the National Jobs Council, I will integrate the work of the Jobs Council with that of the Future Economy Council, to ensure that our support measures are targeted and address the needs of companies and workers," Mr Heng said.

When asked if the 4G ministers had discussed or reviewed their backing of Mr Heng as their chosen leader, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said: "We are entirely focused on helping our country overcome the economic challenges and saving the jobs at this point in time.

"We have no plans to do otherwise and no discussion on any change in plan," he said.

Mr Teo Chee Hean retains his post as Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, while Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam stays as Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies.

Mr Lee said the new Cabinet seeks to balance continuity, exposure and renewal, and be a team that leads Singapore through the current public health and economic crisis and into the future.

"First, continuity. In normal times, we need experienced ministers to provide steady hands, and also to mentor the younger ministers. And in this crisis, this need is even greater," he added, pointing out that older ministers like Dr Ng Eng Hen, Mr Gan Kim Yong and Mr K Shanmugam are staying on.

"Secondly, I'm rotating the ministers, especially the younger ones to gain exposure and experience. We regularly do this during Cabinet reshuffles, and the intent is to expose the office holders to different portfolios, to gain both breadth and depth, to understand the intricacies of the issues and to see things from different perspectives. And ultimately from a national perspective.

"Thirdly, I'm renewing the lineup and bringing in fresh blood and promoting several junior office holders and backbenchers who have performed well. I'm also bringing in fresh faces from the newly elected MPs, including several from the private sector, and one of whom as a full minister. They will reinforce my team and offer new ideas and perspectives."

In total, the new Cabinet will have 37 political office holders, the same as the previous Cabinet.

APPOINTMENT OF MINISTERS

- Ms Grace Fu will be appointed Minister for Sustainability and the Environment. (The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources will be renamed as Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.) She will relinquish her appointment as Minister for Culture, Community and Youth;

- Mr Lawrence Wong will be appointed Minister for Education. He will remain as Second Minister for Finance, as well as the co-chair of the multi-ministry task force overseeing Singapore's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He will relinquish his appointment as Minister for National Development;

- Mr Masagos Zulkifli will be appointed Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health. He will remain the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs and relinquish his appointment as Minister for the Environment and Water Resources;

- Mr Ong Ye Kung will be appointed Minister for Transport. He will relinquish his appointment as Minister for Education;

- Mr Desmond Lee will be appointed Minister for National Development. He will relinquish his appointment as Minister for Social and Family Development but will remain in the Ministry and be concurrently appointed as Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration;

- Ms Indranee Rajah will be appointed Second Minister for National Development, and relinquish her appointment as Second Minister for Education. She will remain as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and as Second Minister for Finance;

- Dr Tan See Leng will be appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry.

PROMOTIONS

- Dr Maliki Osman will be promoted to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, and will also be Second Minister for Education and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs. He will relinquish his appointment as the Mayor of South East District;

- Mr Edwin Tong will be promoted to Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and will also be Second Minister for Law;

- Mr Zaqy Mohamad will be promoted to Senior Minister of State. He will remain at the Ministry of Manpower and take up an additional appointment at the Ministry of Defence;

- Ms Low Yen Ling will be promoted to Minister of State, and take up new appointments at the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. She will relinquish her appointments at the Ministry of Manpower and Ministry of Education. She will also remain as Mayor of South West District.

- Associate Professor Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim will be promoted to Minister of State, and take up new appointments at the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of National Development. He will relinquish his appointments at the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social and Family Development;

- Ms Sun Xueling will be promoted to Minister of State, and take up new appointments at the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social and Family Development. She will relinquish her appointments at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development.

Full new Cabinet line up

OTHER POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS

- Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat will take on an additional appointment as Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies;

- Dr Amy Khor will be appointed Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport. She will continue in the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment;

- Ms Sim Ann will be appointed Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of National Development. She will continue in the Ministry of Communications and Information but relinquish her appointment in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth;

- Mr Chee Hong Tat will be appointed Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Transport. He will relinquish his appointments in the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Trade and Industry;

- Dr Janil Puthucheary will be appointed Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Health. He will continue in the Ministry of Communications and Information but relinquish his appointment in the Ministry of Transport;

- Dr Koh Poh Koon will be appointed Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Health. He will relinquish his appointment in the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

NEW POLITICAL OFFICE HOLDERS

- Ms Gan Siow Huang will be appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Manpower;

- Mr Alvin Tan will be appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, with effect from Sep 1;

- Mr Desmond Tan will be appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment;

- Mr Tan Kiat How 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;

- Mr Eric Chua will be appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development;

- Mdm Rahayu Mahzam will be appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, with effect from Sep 1.

 ​​​​​​​MAYORS

- Mr Alex Yam will be appointed Mayor for North West District;

- Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman will be appointed Mayor for South East District.

Absent from the new Cabinet are Mr Khaw Boon Wan, who retired as Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Minister; Mr Sam Tan, who retired as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Social and Family Development, and as chairman of REACH; and Dr Tan Wu Meng, who retired as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry.

NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng also stepped down as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office after he was not elected as an MP in the General Election.

Mr Ng, together with former Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport Lam Pin Min, former Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin and lawyer Raymond Lye, contested in Sengkang GRC in the election.

The team from the Workers’ Party won the new constituency with 52.13 per cent of the votes.

Source: CNA/mi

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