SINGAPORE — Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has been appointed as Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) in the latest Cabinet reshuffle announced by Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (23 April).
Heng will remain as Minister for Finance, and continue to chair the Future Economy Council and National Research Foundation. He will also be appointed Acting Prime Minister in the PM’s absence.
The current two DPMs, Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam, will relinquish their appointments. They will be appointed Senior Ministers and remain in Cabinet.
Teo will continue as Coordinating Minister for National Security, while Tharman will be re-designated as Coordinating Minister for Social Policies. He will continue to advise the PM on economic policies. Concurrently, he has also been appointed deputy chairman of GIC.
The changes will take effect on 1 May.
In a post on his Facebook page, PM Lee wrote, “The next generation leadership is taking shape, and progressively taking over from me and my older colleagues.
“The team is working closely together, building up public trust and confidence in their leadership.
“I ask all Singaporeans to support them, and work together to secure a bright future for Singapore.”
Heng is widely seen as the successor to PM Lee. According to a survey commissioned by Yahoo News Singapore in January, three times as many Singaporeans prefer Heng over Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing as the country’s next prime minister.
The survey of 916 citizens conducted by market research consultancy Blackbox Research shows that 75 per cent of respondents said they preferred Heng, while 25 per cent said they preferred Chan.
Chan also put up a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday, offering his congratulations to Heng’s appointment. He added, “As one team, we will continue to work closely together to take Singapore forward and to serve all Singaporeans.
“Grateful too that DPMs Teo Chee Hean, Tharman Shanmugaratnam and our seniors are always generous in their guidance and continuous support for the younger members of the team.”