'We work very well together': Josephine Teo on chance of replacing Lim Swee Say as Manpower Minister

'We work very well together': Josephine Teo on chance of replacing Lim Swee Say as Manpower Minister

Josephine Teo
Second Minister for Manpower and Home Affairs Josephine Teo at the launch of the first Adapt and Grow roadshow on Apr 17. (Photo: Fann Sim)

SINGAPORE: Amid speculation that Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say will retire from politics, Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo gave little away when asked by reporters on Tuesday (Apr 17) if she is tipped to take over the portfolio from Mr Lim in the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle.

She said, however, that of the three ministries she is in, she has had a "much longer engagement" in the Manpower Ministry because she spent a number of years serving the labour movement. 

Mrs Teo is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs. 

Speaking to reporters after the launch of a new Government job-matching portal, Mrs Teo said: "I don't think we have to wait very much longer till the Cabinet reshuffle is announced. We should just be a little bit more patient and we will come to that."

When asked in Mandarin if she will assume the position of Manpower Minister, Mrs Teo would only say that she and Mr Lim have a good working relationship. 

"In the Manpower Ministry, we work very well together, harmoniously," she said.

"Lim Swee Say is a very good minister - his energy and his many years of experience in the labour movement," Mrs Teo told reporters. "We've worked together for more than 20 years since EDB days."

Mrs Teo was also asked about her role in drafting the Government's agenda for the President's Address when the new parliamentary session opens in May. 

"Where MOM is concerned, top of what Singaporeans want to know are: What kind of a future will it be for working Singaporeans? Will we be able to get better jobs? Will we be able to earn higher incomes? Will we be able to find a workforce that is more inclusive and will we be able to find workplaces that are more progressive? Will we have security in retirement?" Mrs Teo said. 

"It's certainly a collective effort ... So for example, MOM works on raising the bar in terms of helping workers access opportunities, but careers or job opportunities must first be created and for that we need our economic agencies to lead the way," she added. 

Mrs Teo is part of the fourth-generation team of younger leaders. 

After being elected to Parliament in 2006, she has served in the Finance, Transport and Foreign Affairs ministries. She was assistant secretary-general at the National Trades Union Congress before she was appointed Second Minister for Manpower in May last year. 

Source: CNA/fs(gs)