Govt announces Cabinet reshuffle; three new ministries formed

In a surprise Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, the Government announced the restructuring of two ministries -- the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA).

Three new ministries will be formed in their place -- the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), and the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

In a press statement from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Lee said Singapore is in a new phase of development, where social and community issues are increasingly important.

He added that the government needs to strengthen families and enhance social safety nets to help the needy.

It must also foster the arts and sports, and build social capital through volunteerism, while engaging youths to help shape Singapore's future.

Lee also said that Singapore has to improve public communications and engagement to reach out more to its increasingly diverse society in the age of social media and rapid technological progress.

The three new ministries will take effect from 1 November.

MSF will be headed by Chan Chun Sing, who will relinquish his appointment in MICA. Chan will also be appointed as Senior Minister of State (SMS) in the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).

Yaacob Ibrahim will become the Minister for Communications and Information (MCI), and will continue to be in charge of Muslim Affairs.

MCCY will be helmed by Lawrence Wong, who will relinquish his appointment in MINDEF.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday evening, Wong shared his excitement about his new role.

He said, “The main aim of the MCCY is to build a cohesive society with a strong sense of national identity and belonging… I believe many can see the importance of this work as our social fabric becomes increasingly diverse.”

“We can only make progress if all Singaporeans feel responsibility to one another, and have a common sense of who we are as a nation,” added Wong, who encouraged the public to send him feedback and suggestions via email or Facebook.

He will also be appointed SMS in MICA and will continue as SMS in the Ministry of Education until 1 November.

Changes to Cabinet and other appointments
PM Lee also announced several portfolio changes for other ministers.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam will relinquish his appointment as Minister for Manpower (MOM).  He will remain as DPM and Minister for Finance and Chairman, Monetary Authority of Singapore.  

Lui Tuck Yew will relinquish his appointment as 2nd Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Grace Fu Hai Yien will be promoted to full Minister. This makes her the second woman to serve in Cabinet in Singapore’s history, after Lim Hwee Hwa was made a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in 2009.

Fu will become Minister in the PMO, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Tan Chuan-Jin will become the Acting Minister for Manpower and SMS in the Ministry of National Development.

Also promoted to SMS are Lee Yi Shyan and Masagos Zulkifli, who will remain in their respective Ministries, and MP Indranee Rajah, in the Ministries of Law and Education with effect from 1 November.

Other postings and appointments:

  • Amy Khor will be appointed the Minister of State (MOS) in MOM, concurrent with her present appointment as Minister of State in Ministry of Health.
  • Halimah Yacob will be appointed the MOS in the MSFD with effect from 1 November.
  • Sam Tan Chin Siong will be posted to the new MCCY as Senior Parliamentary Secretary (SPS) on 1 November.  He will concurrently be the SPS in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Sim Ann will relinquish her appointment in the Ministry of Law, and be appointed SPS in MCI, on 1 November. She will continue as the SPS in the Ministry of Education.
  • Muhammad Faishal bin Ibrahim will be appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministries of Health and Transport.

All other appointments are effective from 1 August.