Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin will be the Speaker of Parliament with effect from next Monday (11 September).
Tan, 48, who will step down from his ministerial post, was nominated for the role by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Previous Speaker Halimah Yacob resigned from her political and party posts on 7 August to contest in the upcoming Presidential Election this month. A Speaker of Parliament cannot be elected from members who are office holders.
Lee said it was “not easy” to find a replacement for Halimah, but added that Tan had the “temperament and personality for this role”.
In a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday (5 September), Lee wrote, “I first discussed this with Chuan-Jin after Mdm Halimah Yacob told me she was resigning to run for President…While Chuan-Jin stood out as the best choice, it was a very difficult decision to nominate him, as it meant losing an effective activist at MSF (Ministry for Social and Family Development) Singapore.”
Tan also commented on his new role in a post on his Facebook page on the same day. He paid tribute to past Speakers including E.W Barker, Tan Soo Khoon and Halimah, saying that they have served to the best of their ability and in their own unique ways.
“Good ideas can come from both sides of the House, as does good intent. In fact they abound throughout the length and breadth of our society. Our duty must be to harness these for the common good – so as to put them to the service of fellow Singaporeans, and to build a better society. I look forward to doing this as effectively as I can,” said Tan, who is MP for Marine Parade GRC.
Desmond Lee will take over Tan’s ministerial role at MSF and will continue as Second Minister in the Ministry of National Development. He will relinquish his appointments in the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office.
Meanwhile, Josephine Teo will be appointed Second Minister in the Ministry of Home Affairs. She will continue as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister in the Ministry of Manpower, and relinquish her appointment in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
All changes will take effect next Monday when Parliament sits.