PM Lee unveils major Cabinet shake-up

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announces the new Cabinet line-up. (AFP photo)
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announces the new Cabinet line-up. (AFP photo)

Deputy Prime Minister and Co-ordinating Minister for National Security Wong Kan Seng -- gone.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan -- out.

Transport Minister and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Raymond Lim -- axed.

On Wednesday afternoon at the Istana, PM Lee announced to the media the "radical" changes made to his Cabinet with 11 of the 14 ministries to be led by new Ministers. (full line-up here)

A total of nine current ministers will leave the government while seven new faces from among the re-elected Members of Parliament and new MPs will join the government.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan will be one of three ministers retiring from government.(AFP photo)
National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan will be one of three ministers retiring from government.(AFP photo)

PM Lee also accepted the retirement of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. They will be appointed senior advisor to Government Investment Corporation of Singapore (GIC) and senior advisor to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) respectively. SM Goh has also been given the title Emeritus Senior Minister.

Other key changes include:

Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who will retain his Finance portfolio, has been promoted to Deputy Prime Minister. He has also been appointed Manpower Minister, taking over from Gan Kim Yong. In addition, Tharman has also been appointed the new chairman of MAS, replacing SM Goh.

In addition to being Deputy Prime Minister, Minister Teo Chee Hean will also be the Co-ordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs, a portfolio vacated by DPM Wong.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will also be the Co-ordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs. (Yahoo! photo/Henry Lim)
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will also be the Co-ordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs. (Yahoo! photo/Henry Lim)
Minister Ng Eng Hen (left) will be Minister for Defence, while Minister Wong Kan Seng (right) will be retiring. (Yahoo! photo/Henry Lim)
Minister Ng Eng Hen (left) will be Minister for Defence, while Minister Wong Kan Seng (right) will be retiring. (Yahoo! photo/Henry Lim)

Current Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan will take on a new role as National Development Minister -- a portfolio he volunteered for -- while ex-Manpower chief Gan Kim Yong will head the Health Ministry.

New faces will also enter the government.

MP-elect Heng Swee Keat will be the new Education Minister while Major-General Chan Chun Sing will be the Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports -- a post vacated by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

The latter will replace Yaacob Ibrahim as Minister for the Environment and Water Resources. Minister Yaacob himself has been appointed Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, a post formerly held by Lui Tuck Yew.

Mr Lui has moved on to take over the Transport Ministry.

MP-elect Tan Chuan Jin will be appointed as Minister of State (MOS) for National Development and Manpower, while MP-elect Lawrence Wong will be MOS for Defence and Education.

Other promotions include MP Halimah Yacob to Minister of State for MCYS and MP Josephine Teo to MOS for Finance and Transport.

Acknowledging the changes as a "very radical" move, PM Lee said he wanted a fresh slate of ministers to work with, and those who could come up with fresh policies in a challenging global environment, reported Channel NewsAsia.

He added, the new line-up was in no way moved by the results of the General Election.

Instead he wanted to " a fresh team, a fresh look on problems and to approach the future with a clean slate."

He also wanted to let the new faces gain experience and explore their potential in handling both local and global challenges.

There will be a mid-term review and PM Lee -- who will also be taking over his father MM Lee as chairman of GIC -- said he would make changes if necessary.

This year's historic GE has been marked by the surprising retirement of several high-profile political leaders.

On Saturday, MM Lee and SM Goh announced their exit from the government, while Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Hwee Hua said they were retiring from politics after losing their contest in Aljunied GRC.

Earlier on, Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Boon Heng also announced their retirement from politics.

Henry Koh, 34, told Yahoo! Singapore, "It's good that we're moving forward and seeing the old guard slowly leave. Although there is no guarantee that the new batch will be successful, the fact that they are being given this opportunity is a step in the right direction.

However, 24-year-old Hisham Omar felt the ministers should have stepped down before the GE. "What is the point of them stepping down after being voted in by their supporters?" he questioned.

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