First-time ministers for MOE, MCYS

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Newly elected Members of Parliament Heng Swee Keat and MG (NS) Chan Chun Sing have been unveiled as the new ministers for Education and Community Development Youth and Sports respectively.

In Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's new Cabinet line-up announced on Wednesday, Mr Heng will replace current Education Minister, Dr Ng Eng Hen who will become Defence Minister.

MG (NS) Chan will take over at MCYS from Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who will be in charge of Environment and Water Resources.

Mr Heng, a former managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, retired from the Administrative Service on 2 April and was part of the People's Action Party Tampines Group Representation Constituency (GRC) team.

Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong had described Heng, who spent six years in MAS, as a "high-flier and sound central banker" with the "potential to be a minister and core member of the fourth generation team".

Former Chief of Army, MG (NS) Chan was part of the PAP Tanjong Pagar team led by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew which was elected into Parliament on Nomination Day.

Equities dealer Ow Yonghong told Yahoo! Singapore that he was surprised that the pair have been made ministers.

"I'm surprised that Mr Chan has been made minister at MCYS as I'm not sure that based on his military background, he will be able to adapt to a completely new environment where he will be dealing with a lot of issues concerning Singaporeans," he said.

Communications manager Chin Weichong felt that Mr Heng's appointment at MOE is key to grooming Singapore's next generation of leaders.

He said, "Mr Heng has done remarkably well in his previous role in MAS especially during the economic crisis so it will be interesting to see him switch portfolio of dollars and cents to one that develops the future of our children.

Jasmin Tan, unemployed, added, "It would be interesting to see the changes that they would bring to the new departments and how they do it."

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