PM Lee Hsien Loong announces new Cabinet, with new MP Tan See Leng in line-up

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a national broadcast on Sunday (7 June).
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. (FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced his new Cabinet line-up during a live telecast on Saturday (25 July).

During his announcement, PM Lee said that the new Cabinet seeks to balance continuity, exposure and renewal, and be a team that leads Singapore through the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis and into the future.

“First, continuity. In normal times, we need experienced ministers to provide steady hands, and also to mentor the younger ministers. And in this crisis, this need is even greater,” he said.

"Secondly, I'm rotating the ministers, especially the younger ones to gain exposure and experience. We regularly do this during Cabinet reshuffles, and the intent is to expose the office holders to different portfolios, to gain both breadth and depth, to understand the intricacies of the issues and to see things from different perspectives. And ultimately from a national perspective.

"Thirdly, I'm renewing the line-up and bringing in fresh blood and promoting several junior office holders and backbenchers who have performed well. I'm also bringing in fresh faces from the newly elected Members of Parliament, including several from the private sector, and one of whom as a full minister. They will reinforce my team and offer new ideas and perspectives.”

Among the key changes in the Cabinet, Ong Ye Kung will move from Education Ministry to head the Transport Ministry, replacing the retiring Khaw Boon Wan.

Lawrence Wong will assume Ong’s previous position as Education Minister, while Desmond Lee takes over Wong’s previous portfolio of National Development Minister.

Masagos Zulkifli will be the new Minister for Social and Family Development. His previous ministry of Environment and Water Resources has been renamed as Ministry of Sustainability and Environment (MSE), and will be helmed by Grace Fu.

“We are renaming the industry to better reflect its future role,” PM Lee said. “Sustainability has become an increasingly important part of our national agenda. We are planning our climate change defences and managing our carbon footprint.

“COVID-19 has also shown Singaporeans how important the work is which goes on behind the scenes on issues like food security and safety. Water, of course, remains an important part of MSE’s mission and it is part of sustainability.”

37 political office holders in new Cabinet

In total, the new Cabinet will have 37 political office holders, the same as the previous Cabinet.

The line-up includes new Member of Parliament Tan See Leng, who will assume the roles of Second Minister for Trade and Industry and Manpower, as well as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Tan See Leng has a depth of private sector experience as a medical professional and business entrepreneur,” PM Lee said. “In MTI (Ministry of Trade and Industry), he will add a private-sector perspective to economic policymaking to make sure our policies are effective in helping businesses and to address problems faced by the private sector.

“Being also posted to (Ministry of) Manpower, he will help align our economic and manpower policies to reinforce each other.”

Two Ministers of State have been promoted to full ministers. Maliki Osman is appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, as well as Second Minister in Education and Trade and Industry.

Edwin Tong, meanwhile, takes over Fu as Minister for Culture, Community and Youth. He is also appointed Second Minister for Law.

Zaqy Mohamad will be promoted to Senior Minister of State. He will remain at the Ministry of Manpower and take up an additional appointment at the Ministry of Defence.

Low Yen Ling will be promoted to Minister of State, and take up new appointments at the Ministries of Culture, Community and Youth, as well as Trade and Industry. She will also remain as Mayor of South West District.

Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim will also be promoted to Minister of State, and take up new appointments at the Home Affairs and National Development ministries.

Sun Xueling will be promoted to Minister of State too, and take up new appointments at the Education as well as Social and Family Development ministries.

Leader of Opposition details in the coming week

The new Cabinet announcement comes two weeks after the General Election on 10 July, when the ruling People’s Action Party won 83 out of 93 electoral seats, and 61.23 per cent of vote share.

PM Lee also said that he will announce details for the portfolio of the official Leader of the Opposition in the coming week. He had previously recognised Workers’ Party secretary-general Pritam Singh as the official Leader of the Opposition, after the opposition party clinched 10 electoral seats at GE2020.

Here is the list of office holders in the Cabinet, which forms the executive branch of the Singapore government:

Prime Minister: Lee Hsien Loong

Deputy Prime Minister: Heng Swee Keat

Senior Ministers: Teo Chee Hean, Tharman Shanmugaratnam

Prime Minister’s Office – Ministers: Indranee Rajah, Maliki Osman, Tan See Leng Minister of State: Tan Kiat How

Defence – Minister: Ng Eng Hen Senior Ministers of State: Zaqy Mohamad, Heng Chee How

Foreign Affairs – Minister: Vivian Balakrishnan Second Minister: Maliki Osman Senior Minister of State: Chee Hong Tat

Home Affairs – Minister: K Shanmugam Second Minister: Josephine Teo Ministers of State: Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Desmond Tan

Trade and Industry – Minister: Chan Chun Sing Second Minister: Tan See Leng Minister of State: Low Yen Ling, Alvin Tan (Note: S Iswaran in charge of Trade Relations)

Finance – Minister: Heng Swee Keat Second Ministers: Lawrence Wong, Indranee Rajah

Manpower – Minister: Josephine Teo Second Minister: Tan See Leng Senior Minister of State: Zaqy Mohamad Minister of State: Gan Siow Huang

Transport – Minister: Ong Ye Kung Senior Ministers of State: Amy Khor, Chee Hong Tat Senior Parliamentary Secretary: Baey Yam Keng.

National Development – Minister: Desmond Lee Second Minister: Indranee Rajah Senior Minister of State: Sim Ann Minister of State: Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Tan Kiat How

Communication and Information – Minister: S Iswaran Senior Minister of State: Sim Ann, Janil Puthucheary

Sustainability and Environment – Minister: Grace Fu Senior Minister of State: Amy Khor Minister of State: Desmond Tan

Law – Minister: K Shanmugam Second Minister: Edwin Tong.

Health – Minister: Gan Kim Yong Second Minister: Masagos Zulkifli Senior Ministers of State: Koh Poh Koon, Janil Puthucheary Parliamentary Secretary: Rahayu Mahzam

Education – Minister: Lawrence Wong Second Minister: Maliki Osman Ministers of State: Sun Xueling, Gan Siow Huang

Social and Family Development – Minister: Masagos Zulkifli Minister of State: Sun Xueling Parliamentary Secretary: Eric Chua (Note: Desmond Lee in charge of Social Services Integration)

Culture, Community and Youth – Minister: Edwin Tong Minister of State: Alvin Tan, Low Yen Ling Parliamentary Secretary: Eric Chua

Other appointments, concurrent responsibilities:

Mayors – Central Singapore District: Denise Phua North East District: Desmond Choo North West District: Alex Yam South East District: Mohd Fahmi Aliman South West District: Low Yen Ling

Heng Swee Keat: Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, Strategy Group, Future Economy Council, National Research Foundation (assisting PM)

Teo Chee Hean: Coordinating Minister for National Security, Smart Nation and Digital Government Group, National Security Coordination Secretariat, National Population and Talent Division, National Climate Change Secretariat

Tharman Shanmugaratnam: Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Productivity Fund Administration Board (assisting PM)

Indranee Rajah: Population matters (assisting Teo Chee Hean)

Tan Kiat How: REACH

S Iswaran: Cyber Security

Janil Puthucheary: GovTech

Vivian Balakrishnan: Smart Nation

Gan Kim Yong: Aging issues

Sim Ann: Municipal Services Office

Masagos Zulkifli: Muslim affairs, CDC matters (assisting Chan Chun Sing)

Chan Chun Sing: People’s Association, Public Service Division

Low Yen Ling: Coordinator of Mayors

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