Monday, 28 September 2015

Singapore PM unveils new cabinet

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday announced the new cabinet, including newly- introduced coordinating ministers.

The key change to the cabinet is the introduction of three coordinating ministers, each of whom will oversee a handful of related ministries. Teo Chee Hean, Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Khaw Boon Wan were named as the ministers. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Trade and Industry will each have two full ministers, overseeing separate aspects within the ministry.

In total, there will be 20 cabinet members, up from 19. Half of the 20 members were elected in the last three general elections, and half are below 55 years old.

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Letter from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to PAP MPs on Rules of Prudence
  • It is a tradition for the Prime Minister to send a letter on “Rules of Prudence” to all the PAP MPs after an election.  The context each time may be different but the subject remains constant, because integrity, honesty and incorruptibility are fundamental to our Party.  We must never tire of reminding ourselves of their importance.
  • Our Party has won 83 out of 89 seats in the just concluded General Election, with all seats contested. Overall, the PAP won 69.9% of the votes.
  • The people have endorsed what we have done in the previous term, and given us a clear mandate to take Singapore forward beyond SG50.  Now we must fulfil what we have promised to do in our manifesto. We must never break faith with the people, but must always carry out our duties to them responsibly, address their worries and advance their interests.
  • Be humble in victory. As MPs, always remember we are servants of the people, not masters. Do not mistake the strong election result to mean that our efforts have succeeded, and that we can afford to slacken. Much work remains to be done tackling issues which concern Singaporeans, and finding new ways to improve people’s lives. Listen hard to voter concerns, help them to tackle pressing needs, and convey their worries and aspirations to the Government. Persuade them to support policies which are in their own long term benefit, while helping the Government to formulate good policies and stay in close touch with the people.
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Is it hard to be humble?

THE Prime Minister’s note to parliamentarians says this:
“Be humble in victory. As MPs, always remember we are servants of the people, not masters. Do not mistake the strong election result to mean that our efforts have succeeded, and that we can afford to slacken. Much work remains to be done tackling issues which concern Singaporeans, and finding new ways to improve people’s lives. Listen hard to voter concerns, help them to tackle pressing needs, and convey their worries and aspirations to the Government. Persuade them to support policies which are in their own long term benefit, while helping the Government to formulate good policies and stay in close touch with the people.”
Humility is a trait that emerged during the general election. In fact, candidates of the People’s Action Party are so “nice” that you wonder if they had any personality at all! I almost wished someone had said something outrageous or revolutionary instead of blending into the white background. The rhetoric, even that aimed at Singapore Democratic Party’s Chee Soon Juan, is quite muted compared to the combative days of the past. In fact, there was even a sort of olive branch extended to the opposition after the GE: that there was a possibility that the opposition can work together with the ruling party in the interest of Singapore.

Beyond nice-sounding phrases in measured tones, what does “humility” actually translate into in this post-GE phase? I suppose we have to analyse its opposite: arrogance.

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4th-generation leaders get key posts in Cabinet reshuffle
Newly elected members of the fourth-generation leadership Ng Chee Meng (left) and Ong Ye Kung have been appointed co-Acting Ministers for Education.PHOTOS: ST FILE, PAP

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday that he is moving boldly to put members of the fourth-generation leadership in positions of heavy responsibility so that a new team can be ready to take over from him shortly after the next General Election.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the new Cabinet following the Sept 11 polls, where the ruling PAP won 69.9 per cent of the vote, PM Lee affirmed that his successor would be from this new Cabinet - if not, "something would have gone unexpectedly", he said at the Istana on Monday.

Newly elected members of the fourth-generation leadership Ng Chee Meng and Ong Ye Kung have been appointed co-Acting Ministers for Education, while returning MPs like Ministers Grace Fu and Masagos Zulkifli have been given their own ministries to helm for the first time.

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How much does Singapore spend on political appointments?
AFP News - Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (L) gestures next to Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam (R) during a news conference at the Istana presidential palace in Singapore on September 28, 2015. Lee unveiled his new cabinet after the ruling People’s Action Party’s landslide victory in the September 11 parliamentary election. Lee retained his core team of ministers but named younger politicians to key positions in the cabinet. AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN

When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced his new cabinet and political appointments last Monday (28 September), one of the moves involved appointing two ministers of equal standing to both the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Ministry of Education (MOE).

The two new Education ministers, Ong Ye Kung and Ng Chee Meng, both won their seats for the first time in the recent General Elections. Two new Coordinating Minister posts were also created — for Economic and Social Policies, and Infrastructure, joining the previous Coordinating Minister for National Security.

In total, there are now 54 political appointments, including Ministers of State and Parliamentary Secretaries. This is one more than the estimated number of political appointments in the Budget for 2015.

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Singapore replaces finance minister in reshuffle
Then Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Heng Swee Keat speaks at the World Islamic Banking Conference in Manama in this 2009 file photo. Singapore's new finance minister will be Heng, replacing Tharman Shanmugaratnam who will remain deputy prime minister in a new cabinet. (Reuters photo)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong replaced his finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle after a landslide election win earlier this month, tapping some younger faces as he prepares his party for a leadership transition.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will step down as finance minister, according to a statement on Monday from the Prime Minister's Office. Former central bank managing director Heng Swee Keat, who held the education portfolio, becomes finance minister.

The lineup includes fresh entrants such as former defence force chief Ng Chee Meng, who becomes joint acting education minister alongside Ong Ye Kung, who is director of group strategy at Keppel Corp.

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PM Lee unveils new Cabinet of 20 ministers

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced Singapore's new Cabinet on Monday (Sept 28). Mr Teo Chee Hean and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam continue to be Deputy Prime Ministers, but they are also appointed as Coordinating Ministers, who will oversee a handful of related Ministries.

DPM Teo will be Coordinating Minister for National Security. He relinquishes his role as Minister for Home Affairs.

DPM Shanmugaratnam will be Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies. He relinquishes his role as Minister for Finance.

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New Singapore Cabinet line-up shows changes in almost all ministries
In one of the most radical Cabinet reshuffles in recent years, Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong today announced a new expanded line-up where nearly all ministries will undergo leadership changes

Among the changes will see deputy prime ministers Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Teo Chee Hean relinquish their previous portfolios of Finance and Home Affairs respectively, to focus on their roles as "coordinating ministers".

Education minister Heng Swee Keat will take over as finance minister while K Shanmugam will be appointed home affairs minister – a portfolio which he had previously helmed briefly – while concurrently remaining the law minister.

Vivian Balakrishnan will become minister for foreign affairs, while Masagos Zulkifli will take over him as minister for environment and water resources.

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Cabinet changes take effect Oct 1; Khaw Boon Wan to be new Transport minister

Mr Khaw Boon Wan will be the new Transport Minister, in Cabinet changes announced on Monday that also see members of the fourth-generation leadership being put in positions of heavy responsibility.

Mr Lawrence Wong, the former Culture, Community and Youth minister,will take over Mr Khaw's National Development ministry.

The changes - which will take effect from Oct 1 - will also see Deputy Prime Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam take on Coordinating Ministers roles.

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Big responsibilities to ‘test and stretch’ next-generation leaders: PM Lee

Two weeks after his ruling party’s victory at the polls, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday (Sep 28) named his new Cabinet in what he called a “bold move” to get a team ready to take over soon after the next General Election.

“It is a transition team, so it is bigger than usual. More ministries will see a change of ministers,” said Mr Lee of the slate of 37 office holders, up from the previous 33. Of these, 20 are full or acting Ministers.

“We don’t have time to lose,” said Mr Lee, adding that he would “aggressively prepare a new team to take Singapore forward”.

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Halimah to be nominated as Speaker of Parliament again, Chan Chun Sing appointed Government Whip
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will nominate Halimah Yacob to be the Speaker of Parliament when the House convenes in January, said a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Monday. PHOTO: SPH

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong will nominate Halimah Yacob to be the Speaker of Parliament when the House convenes in January, said a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Monday.

Chan Chun Sing, Minister in the PMO and Member of Parliament (MP) for Tanjong Pagar GRC (group representation constituency), has been appointed the Government Whip.

He will be assisted by two deputies: Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC; and Sam Tan, Minister of State in the PMO and Ministry of Manpower and MP for Radin Mas SMC (single member constituency).

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Everything you need to know about the latest Cabinet reshuffle in 60 seconds

The cabinet reshuffle sees the creation of Coordinating Ministers, who will oversee national security, economic and social policies and infrastructure. Other than, erm, coordinate, they will also guide the new Ministers.

DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam will give up his Finance portfolio as he is going to be pretty busy as a Coordinating Minister for economic and social policies, DPM Teo Chee Hean will relinquish his Home Affairs portfolio and oversee national security and Khaw Boon Wan – PAP’s chairman – will look after infrastructure, which will means that he is likely to “ownself check ownself” as his new Transport ministry falls under infrastructure.

Key ministerial changes:
  • Foreign Affairs – Vivian Balakrishnan
  • Home Affairs – K Shanmugam
  • Trade and Industry – Lim Hng Kiang (Trade), Iswaran (Industry)
  • Finance – Heng Swee Keat
  • Transport – Khaw Boon Wan
  • National Development – Lawrence Wong
  • Environment and Water Resources – Masagos Zulkifli
  • Culture, Community and Youth – Grace Fu
Life goes on for the rest of them:
  • Minister of Defence – Ng Eng Hen
  • PMO / Labour Chief – Chan Chun Sing
  • Manpower – Lim Swee Say
  • Communications and Information – Yaacob Ibrahim
  • Law – K Shanmugam
  • Health – Gan Kim Yong
  • Social and Family Development – Tan Chuan-Jin
The new faces:
  • Ng Chee Meng (NEW MINISTER) - Acting Minister of Education (Schools)/Senior Minister of State; Transport
  • Ong Ye Kung (NEW MINISTER) - Acting Minister of Education (Higher Education and Skills)/Senior Minister of State; Defence
  • Chee Hong Tat - Minister of State; Communications and Information/Minister of State; Health
  • Koh Poh Koon - Minister of State; Trade and Industry/Minister of State; National Development (from 1 Jan 2016)
  • Amrin Amin - Parliamentary Secretary; Home Affairs
The promoted backbenchers:
  • Janil Puthucheary - Minister of State; Communications and Information (from 1 Jan 2016)/Minister of State; Education (from 1 Jan 2016)
  • Baey Yam Keng - Parliamentary Secretary; Community, Culture and Youth
The ones promoted from Ministers of State to Senior Ministers of State:
  • Sim Ann - Senior Minister of State; Finance/Senior Minister of State; Community, Culture and Youth
  • Maliki bin Osman - Senior Minister of State; Foreign Affairs/Senior Minister of State; Defence (unchanged)
  • Desmond Lee - Senior Minister of State; Home Affairs/Senior Minister of State; National Development
The retirees:
  • Lee Yi Shyan - Last-held appiontments: Senior Minister of State, Trade and Industry/Senior Minister of State, National Development
  • Lui Tuck Yew - Last-held appointments: Minister of Transport/Second Minister of Defence
  • Hawazi Daipi - Last-held appointments: Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Manpower/Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Education
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New Cabinet Announced: Newbies, New Roles, and Ah Loong Stays!
Singapore’s new Cabinet line-up has been announced

For the first time, we’ll have 3 “Coordinating Ministers”, Teo Chee Hean, Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Khaw Boon Wan. Khaw will take on the problematic portfolio of Transport Minister, in addition to overseeing infrastructure development. His National Development posts goes to Lawrence Wong.

In another notable swop, former Monetary Authority of Singapore head honcho Heng Swee Keat has been appointed Finance Minister, making way for cabinet newbies Ng Chee Meng and Ong Ye Kung to take over the education portfolio. Teo Chee Hean will continue to oversee national security, while Tharman Shanmugaratnam now takes on a broader role as Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies. The two have retained their posts as Deputy Prime Ministers.

With the haze problem looming, Vivian Balakrishnan will be relieved to relinquish his position as head of Environment and Water Resources. That post has gone to Masagos Zulkifli, who was just recently promoted to a full minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. And yes, PM Lee Hsien Loong remains as PM Lee Hsien Loong.

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Let’s Welcome Our Brave Paratroopers Who Made the Leap (and Those Who Didn’t)

Falling from the sky, they crawled through the mud and dug in. Just like the paratroopers of yore, only this time in the political battlefield. Some didn’t make cabinet, but they might in the future. After all, PM Lee’s says that its time for a revamp of the leadership. For now, let’s welcome our paratroopers who made the leap. Well done, soldiers!


Koh Poh Koon (Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development)

Ong Ye Kung (Acting Education Minister)

Ng Chee Meng (Acting Education Minister)

And the rest of the paratroopers who will have to sit out this round in Cabinet:
Melvin Yong

Desmond Choo

Darryl David

Joan Pereira

Sun Xueling
And now the notable mentions:
Tin Pei Ling

Lee Yi Shyan
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Full Coverage:
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announces Singapore's new Cabinet
Big responsibilities to 'test and stretch' next-generation leaders: PM Lee
4th-generation leaders get key posts in Cabinet reshuffle
PM Lee unveils new Cabinet line-up
PM Lee Hsien Loong reveals new Cabinet line-up
More office holders in new Singapore Cabinet, leadership renewal emphasised
PM Lee unveils new Cabinet of 20 ministers
Cabinet line-up: Leadership changes in almost all ministries
Cabinet changes take effect Oct 1; Khaw Boon Wan to be new Transport minister