Saturday, 9 September 2017

Losing a good Minister but gaining a good Speaker?


Following PM Lee’s announcement, netizens took to Facebook to voice their disappointment and sadness at losing an honest and down to earth minister.

However, they did admit that Mr Tan would make a good Speaker of Parliament.

With the chance of striking Toto higher than Mr Tan’s failing to get Parliament’s mandate, Mr Tan is resigned to the path set out for him. We’d like to wish Mr Tan all the best in his new role!

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“Don’t read too much into my Facebook post” says Tan Chuan-Jin
"Emotional" post merely a personal post on faith and family

Singaporeans were rocked on Sept. 5 when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that he would be nominating Tan Chuan-Jin, soon-to-be ex-Minister for Social and Family Development, to the post of Speaker of Parliament.

Tan shared the news in a Facebook post on his personal page

However, later in the evening he shared another, seemingly more heartfelt and emotional Facebook post


The post seemed a tad morose, especially with Tan quoting from the Bible verse 2 Timothy 4:7. “I hope that I can fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith.”
“This well-known and oft-quoted passage is quite significant in that this epistle was Paul’s last before his martyrdom in A.D. 67. It is a deeply moving affirmation of his unwavering faith and unyielding love for the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
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No need to read too much into ‘inadequate’ Facebook post, says Tan Chuan-Jin
No need to read too much into ‘inadequate’ Facebook post, says Tan Chuan-Jin
Adding that he had a choice in accepting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s nomination as the next Speaker, Social & Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has asked the public not to “read too much” into a Facebook post suggesting he was “inadequate”

Shortly after the surprise announcement on Tuesday evening, Mr Tan put up a 2nd Facebook post: “May God continue to grant me wisdom, courage and love in all that I do. However inadequate as I may be, I hope that I can fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith. And of course. My family. Words cannot express how much your continued love and support mean to me in carrying out my duties and responsibilities.”

This came after his initial post where he said he was looking forward to his new capacity, and expressed gratitude for the people whom he had worked with.

The 2nd post has raised eyebrows, and since drawn about 6,700 reactions and over 440 comments.

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OPPOSITION VETERAN SPECULATES TAN CHUAN JIN WAS DEMOTED DUE TO POOR POLITICAL ACUMEN
I was alerted by a couple of FB friends who find TCJ's FB posting a bit "over-religious". I am a religious person myself but you hardly see me writing Praise Lord Buddha or Pray to Buddha for anything. You don't see other PAP politicians doing that as well

In Singapore's context, religion is even more sensitive compare to race issues. Tang Liang Hong was forced into political exile just because he pointed out the obvious fact that there is an imbalance in the "religious composition" of the Cabinet. This is the extreme political taboo in Singapore.

I know that some PAP Ministers or even MPs have deliberately kept their religious identity or affiliation out of public domain. Some would go to Church or Temple but would make their religious affiliation extremely low profile. Even some of the family members of these politicians tried very hard not to be seen as affiliated to any religion.

This is especially so for any contender of the Prime Ministership. If you are vying to be the PM of Singapore, then learn from past PMs and keep religion out of the way. But TCJ, as one of the contender of PMship, has repeatedly express his religious affiliation openly on his FB. It is not a politically wise thing to do at all. Even for this latest posting about his "New Posting" aka "Demotion", he expresses his religious affiliation within that posting!

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When a Minister becomes an ex-Minister
PAP's Mr Tan Chuan Jin speaking to a resident.

THAT was an unorthodox move by the People’s Action Party (PAP) G – to move a full Cabinet minister into the Speaker’s chair. It was such a surprise that many a political analyst had to scramble to explain why. The Speakers’ position is nowhere near as prestigious or powerful as, say, its counterpart in the United States. A Member of Parliament (MP) might vie for the job, but not a minister who, at the most, would view it as a sinecure.

It was therefore painful to see political analysts fumble for the same statements that company management uses when it decides to move someone to a smaller job. There is this handy phrase about using a person’s “strengths’’.

For Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, who quit as Social and Family Development Minister for an office in Parliament House, there is the added stress of having to live down the tag of being one of the 4G prime-ministers-in-waiting.

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Does Tan Chuan-Jin’s demotion reflect poor leadership management?

Let’s not mince words here. Tan Chuan-Jin was demoted from Minister to Speaker of Parliament. Call it a different stage of his development, or call it everyone heading the same direction to make Singapore better, nothing can hide the fact that Tan has been left unceremoniously in the People’s Action Party’s naughty corner.

The question, however, is why. It took Mothership.sg a crew of three just to line up the many questions about his departure from the 4G leadership – all with no answers in view. This move in Singapore politics is clearly baffling enough to warrant the queries, and the slew of articles since the announcement did little to provide answers.

By all counts, Tan does a reasonably good enough job. Some may balk and exclaim that, for his pay, reasonably good is really not good enough. But compared to some other Coordinating Minister who basically asked reporters to run a train system – come on, let’s have some perspective on this.

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Tan Chuan-Jin nominated Parliament Speaker leaves awkward questions on our minds

The news of the impending removal of Minister for Social and Family development Tan Chuan-Jin from the government comes as a shock to, well, pretty much everyone.

In fairness, Tan held up quite a stoic front in a doorstop interview with mainstream media reporters last evening too. In particular, listen in on what he said about being sidelined from the fourth-generation group of “PMs-in-waiting”.

All that said, last evening’s bombs that were dropped on us left us so dumbfounded that we can’t give you observations of what happened, or make sense of it. All we have, really, are these question:
  • Why remove a full Minister from Cabinet to be Speaker?
  • Why was a 4G leader chosen as a Speaker? Why not pick an older Minister instead?
  • Is the Speaker of Parliament the start of an end of a political career?
  • Why is Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s choice for Speakership so unorthodox this time?
  • Why is Minister Tan’s pay getting cut by possibly more than half?

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Netizens upset over Tan Chuan-Jin’s nomination as new Speaker of Parliament

On Tuesday, it was announced that Mr Tan Chuan-Jin will be nominated as the new Speaker of Parliament, following Mdm Halimah Yacob’s resignation to contest in this year’s Presidential Elections.

As the Speaker cannot be elected from members who are office holders, Mr Tan will resign as the Minister for Social and Family Development, said the Prime Minister’s Office.

After Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the nomination on Facebook, Mr Tan responded with another post and publicly accepted the nomination.

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WHY IS SINGAPORE PM LEE HSIEN LOONG MOVING YOUNG GUN MINISTER FROM CABINET TO THE SPEAKER’S CHAIR?
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Photo: Reuters

Singapore has inched closer to finding out who will succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, after the premier surprised the Lion City by reassigning a popular minister thought to be among six contenders for the top job.

The prime minister’s announcement on Wednesday that he was recommending the social and family development minister Tan Chuan-Jin as the city state’s next parliament speaker was “confounding and confusing”, one observer said, as the move all but snuffed out the former army brigadier general’s chances for top political leadership.

Tan will need to quit as a cabinet minister to take up his new role. He will be appointed by lawmakers when parliament next sits on Monday. The ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) holds 83 out of 89 elected seats. The speaker position fell vacant in August after the incumbent Halimah Yacob resigned to stand in the country’s impending presidential election.

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Tan Chuan-Jin has right qualities to be Speaker, appointment not a step down: Chan Chun Sing

Outgoing Minister for Social & Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin has the right qualities to be the next Speaker of Parliament, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday (Sep 5).

Responding to news of Mr Tan's new appointment, Mr Chan told reporters that he expects future parliamentary debates to become more robust as Parliament becomes more diverse & the challenges that Singapore faces become more complex.

"We need somebody with the stature, who's open minded, fair, balanced, that can command the respect from all parliamentarians. From what I know of Chuan-Jin personally, I think he'll do a very good job in this respect," said Mr Chan, reiterating what he said in a Facebook post

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Speaker of Parliament 'very important position' in Singapore's system of Government: Chan Chun Sing

In the wake of the announcement that Minister Tan Chuan-Jin will be nominated as Speaker of Parliament, Government Whip Chan Chun Sing said the role of Speaker is a “very important position” in Singapore’s system of Government, & is likely to get even more significant.

Mr Chan, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, noted that there will be “even more complex challenges” Singapore will have to overcome as a country in the coming years, & he expects the debates in Parliament to be more robust.

“We need somebody with the stature, who is open-minded, who is fair, balanced, and can command the respect of all parliamentarians,” he said. “From what I know of Chuan-Jin personally, I think he will do a good job in this aspect.”

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Analysts taken aback by move, but say Chuan-Jin is ‘best choice’
Analysts taken aback by move, but say Chuan-Jin is ‘best choice’
Political observers and social service leaders interviewed by TODAY were caught off guard by yesterday’s announcement that PM Lee Hsien Loong had nominated Mr Tan Chuan-Jin as Speaker

Dr Gillian Koh, deputy director for research at the Institute of Policy Studies, said many people would have thought that the role of Speaker would be filled by a senior backbencher. “While the role of Speaker is an important procedural, institutional as well as a ceremonial role, it is not one that has strategic input into policymaking,” she said.

Agreeing, former Member of Parliament Inderjit Singh said he had expected PM Lee to appoint one of the 3rd-generation leaders, such as Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say or Minister of Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang. Mr Singh, who retired from politics in 2015, said if Mr Tan were appointed as Speaker, it would be a “loss for the Cabinet”.

“It is a pity we are losing a key member, especially when there is just a small group of key members in the 4th-generation leadership,” he said.

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Speaker-to-be Tan Chuan-Jin once seen as key member of 4G leadership
Profile: Speaker-to-be Tan Chuan-Jin once seen as key member of 4G leadership

When he entered politics in 2011, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin was tipped as a key member of Singapore’s next generation of leaders, and he rose quickly through the ranks within the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the Cabinet.

Just 2 weeks after winning a seat in Marine Parade GRC, the former army general was made a Minister of State, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong entrusting him with not one, but 2 portfolios — manpower & national development.

The 48-yr-old career soldier, whose last military post was commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command, was also among three new faces appointed to the PAP’s highest decision-making body within six months after the 2011 General Election, alongside Mr Chan Chun Sing, who is now labour chief; and Mr Heng Swee Keat, who is currently Finance Minister. At that time, the party’s second organising secretary and Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen said they were chosen through a poll of branch chairmen and cadres representing the PAP branches, district committees, the Women’s Wing and Young PAP.

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MPs sad to lose a champion for the vulnerable

While Members of Parliament (MPs) were surprised by Social & Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin’s nomination as Speaker of Parliament & also sad to lose a champion for the vulnerable, they felt that he was the best choice for the role.

The People’s Action Party (PAP) MPs & ministers who commented on the move yesterday also rejected suggestions that becoming Speaker would diminish Mr Tan’s role as a key member of the 4th-generation leadership.

In a Facebook post, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, said that while Mr Tan, a fellow MP in the Marine Parade GRC, is the “best person for the job”, this means “losing a good, compassionate Minister for Social & Family Development”.

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Tan Chuan-Jin is feeling thankful 5 September at 03:06

Reposting my reactions to PM's nomination with a photo to capture my time at MSF Singapore - a huge thank you to everyone for your constant support!

PM and I discussed the Speaker's role and the possibility of me taking over the appointment.

I'm glad to accept PM’s nomination and hope for my Parliamentary colleagues' support. From E.W Barker to Tan Soo Khoon to Halimah Yacob, each Speaker served to the best of his or her ability, and in their own unique ways.

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Lee Hsien Loong 5 September at 02:00

I have nominated Tan Chuan-Jin to be the next Speaker of Parliament. I first discussed this with Chuan-Jin after Mdm Halimah Yacob told me she was resigning to run for President. It was not easy to find a suitable replacement. While Chuan-Jin stood out as the best choice, it was a very difficult decision to nominate him, as it meant losing an effective and activist Minister at MSF Singapore.

As Speaker, Chuan-Jin will have to preside over Parliamentary debates, and ensure fair and full discussion of national issues. Chuan-Jin has the temperament and personality for this role. Since entering politics, he has built up good links with a diverse range of NGOs, VWOs and interest groups.

As Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF), Chuan-Jin has taken a deep interest in social issues, and in helping the needy and disadvantaged. He launched many initiatives, e.g. KidStart for children of disadvantaged families, and SG Cares to encourage Singaporeans to give back to society. These programmes will deepen our social capital and help build a more gracious, compassionate and cohesive society.

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Comments on Lee Hsien Loong 5 September at 02:00

Vincent Teo Very sad. To be honest.. He is one of the best, honest, real minister I have ever seen. Very sad decision by PM..
182 · 5 September at 02:44
10 Replies

Bret Cheng With all due respect, this is a very poor decision. Minister Tan is someone who serves from the heart which is a trait so hard to find in the new generation of ministers. Why sideline him when he can serve Singaporeans in a larger capacity as cabinet minister? I'm very perplexed and confused.
83 · 5 September at 05:25
6 Replies

Lua Patricia First thing first, this piece of news came as a shock to me 😮🙄🤔 and to many fellow Sporeans. Many of us thought our PM could have chosen someone else instead.
I recall my family had taken a 📲selfie photo with Mr Tan Chuan Jin in Nov 2016 (Purple Para...See more
64 · 6 September at 09:13 · Edited
2 Replies

Diana Giam Not a good choice, PM..
Mr Tan is by far, the best minister for MSF.
His love and concern for our young generation is so real and genuine....See more
52 · 5 September at 03:40
2 Replies

Randal Goh PM Sir, like many, i am disappointed with your decision to appoint a hardworking, down-to-earth and intelligent minister to the role of speaker. Please kindly reconsider your decision. Minister Tan is destined for bigger things and can contribute more to Singapore as a Minister.
34 · 5 September at 07:59 · Edited
1 Reply

Edward Lee Actually he is an excellent choice. But we loose one very hardworking and pro-active Minister. Nonetheless he being at his best will definitely perform with excellence. Qudos to you Mr Tan salute you always. Blessings.
34 · 5 September at 02:33
2 Replies


Christopher Cher PM Sir, with all respect to the position of Speaker why is TCJ being railroaded into a dead end? Compared to a ministerial role the position he will inherit severely limits his ability to contribute in any meaningful way.
He's in his 40s and from the...See more
36 · 5 September at 03:46

Alan Tiggy Sorry despite all that have been said it's still a poor decision.
Why is Min. Tan been overlooked for more important roles again? Cos he don't go out of his way to ingratiate himself with the higher up?
24 · 5 September at 05:21 · Edited
3 Replies

Derek Goh Personally, I am disappointed and disheartened that he is not going to be in cabinet. He exuded a very humanistic element critical to the next gen cabinet.
35 · 5 September at 11:58 · Edited

El Chan That's a good PM's description of him "he was chosen because of his temperament", meaning the rest "not so good temperament?". Quite a surprise TCJ is chosen - the least expected but most welcoming among the rest.
11 · 5 September at 02:21 · Edited
3 Replies

Shek Chee Seng I am confident Mr TCJ has what it takes to make a good Speaker and MPs will strongly endorse his appointment. I hope as Speaker he will ensure that the debates in Parliament will continue to be robust, incisive and objective.
11 · 5 September at 03:16
2 Replies

Andrew Tan I have met Mr TCJ in person during a SAF Day event and it's admirable to see him making efforts to engage everyone and there to take a picture with the NSmen. And with genuine sincerity! Something that can't be bought or faked. His calibre, abilities and close rapport has made him one of the best 4th Gen Ministers. To deploy him in a SP role is......Loss of words at the decision.
8 · 5 September at 07:40

Kim Foong Foo Sad, sad, sad! 😢 So far, TCJ has been the only genuinely caring minister. I have no feel for the rest. Many feel the same way as I do. This is therefore not resonating well on the ground. Time to get back to the listening to the people, pls!
13 · 5 September at 08:15
2 Replies


Ong Eng Hin What a waste of real talent. Mr Tan Chuan Jin's contributions as a Cabinet Minister will far out weigh his contribution as Speaker.
9 · 5 September at 11:45

Maria Tan Poor decision in my opinion. TCJ can do more for Singaporeans as a minister as opposed to speaker of parliament.
12 · 5 September at 07:42

Elaine Seetoh Jermaine Chow Disappointed with this news. Mr TCJ is such a wonderful, caring and hardworking minister. He has the ❤ for the people. He definitely can contribute more as a cabinet minister.
Such a waste of talent to put him as Speaker.
7 · 5 September at 18:01

Geraline Raman This is a sad news for the ministry, Minister Tan Chuan-Jin is a hardworking and good minister. He still can do so much for the MSF. Many families life have improved due to his leadership. Why don't choose someone-else who are not holding any portfolio's to be the Speaker of Parliment?
4 · 6 September at 02:47

Sivanesan Sivakaruniam PM, I see him as a suitable and good choice from what I have known him during my time at MND. I strongly believe and trust that Minister Tan will perform his new Speaker of the House task admirably and effectively.
10 · 5 September at 02:26
2 Replies

Subramaniam Thirumeni This is a real pity. He's a man who displays genuine enpathy for the underprivileged. There's so much more he can do in a ministerial role. I am sure that given his temperament he will discharge his duties as a Speaker very well. But, his natural abilities should really be harnessed for greater things.
13 · 5 September at 10:29

John Ang Hong Beng Dear PM, wish you hadn't made this decision....one of the rare occasions where i have questioned your decision. TCJ is a humble, intelligent and a people minister. We need more like him......please reconsider and get someone else for the Speaker's role.
7 · 5 September at 21:39

Poh Chin Huat Why Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, he is a dedicated and hard-working minister that served the community well. Wish him all the best.
6 · 5 September at 07:21

Melvin Chok Given his track records, shouldn't he have stay on to serve Singaporeans? Actually, there are far more candidates with greater potential to be the speaker in the cabinet.
7 · 5 September at 04:56


Anthony Lau Chee Boon I think the Speaker of Parliament should be from the judiciary community, who knows the laws and Constitution of the country.
3 · 5 September at 05:22

Young Kin Chuan I am confused on this decision. At one hand, the govt say that we are short of dedicated, capable and passionate Singaporeans coming forward to serve the country, yet the govt is removing a truly dedicated, passionate and capable minister from the cab...See more
8 · 6 September at 05:58
1 Reply

Arnold Chan PM sir, TCJ is by far, the best Minister who I respect fully after you. A people's minister whom many citizens adore. He has share the same qualities like you, the caring heart and leadership traits which not command but earn respect from the citizens ...See more
6 September at 07:57 · Edited

Sam Prasad Congratulations?...for getting demoted? He should be tracked as a future PM and if that is elusive at least a future DPM? Speaker should have been selected from older MPs who served many years but didnt make it to Minister. They should know parliamentary procedures and protocols through past parliamentary debates and sittings.
3 · 6 September at 15:52
1 Reply

Banu Veloo Quite disappointed with this news. Mr Tan comes closest to being future PM material and is quite a polished presenter. So to be sidelined to be just the Speaker seems like a demotion. His passion for bigger things seem to be curtailed with this appointment.
6 · 5 September at 07:42

Adeline SH Chua Yeah it's always sad to give up man of good responsibilities but he will be in a better. Wishing Mr Tan Chua-Jin all the Best in His new position. And a good replacement be selected 😀
2 · 5 September at 05:35

Anthony Ang Wei Tzer Dear PM Lee, I can't help but be disappointed and sadden by this change in appointment for Mr TCJ. I believe it is now evident with regard to some of the sentiments from the ground levels. I do hope that more clarification will be given to settle the doubts any of us have with this decision.
2 · 6 September at 04:44

Clara Ong Lay Geok Why not the Punggol MP who won the by-election but has gone thru liver transplant. Dun you think he is more suitable for this part-time job?
3 · 5 September at 10:31 · Edited

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Calvin Cheng 5 September at 02:45
I am a big fan of Min Tan Chuan Jin. He is down-to-earth, has no airs, amiable, humble, and full of compassion.

The role of Speaker in a Westminster system is mostly procedural. It definitely does not carry the same responsibilities as a Cabinet Minister. Much as the role of a Speaker is important, I do not think it is as important as helming a Ministry that can impact the lives of Singaporeans everyday.

I would like to humbly suggest that Min. Tan's exit from the Cabinet is a loss not only to the Government, but also to Singapore and Singaporeans. Min Tan Chuan Jin is more than a nice guy. He is the sort of person that after a few interactions, one can put one's hand to one's heart and say unreservedly, "He is a good man."

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Nomination for Speaker of Parliament

The Prime Minister will nominate Mr Tan Chuan-Jin to be the Speaker when Parliament next sits on 11 September 2017. PM Lee has briefed PAP MPs on his nomination and received their full support.

As the Speaker cannot be elected from members who are office holders, Mr Tan will resign as the Minister for Social and Family Development.

New Appointments
Mr Desmond Lee will be appointed Minister for Social and Family Development. He will continue as Second Minister in the Ministry of National Development, but will relinquish his appointments in the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office.

Mrs Josephine Teo will be appointed as Second Minister in the Ministry of Home Affairs, and will relinquish her appointment in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She will continue as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister in the Ministry of Manpower.

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Full Coverage:
TCJ nominated Parliament Speaker leaves awkward questions on our minds
TCJ being nominated as Speaker of Parliament means he's out of PM race
Tan Chuan-Jin will be 4th in line after the president of S'pore
PM Lee nominates TCJ for Speaker of Parliament, Desmond Lee to
PM nominates Tan Chuan-Jin as next Speaker of Parliament
Speaker-to-be Tan Chuan-Jin once seen as key member of 4G leadership
Salaries for early childhood educators can go up more: Tan Chuan-Jin
PM Lee to nominate Tan Chuan-Jin as Speaker of Parliament (CNA)
Soldier, sportsman & social advocate: TCJ’s contributions over the years
Why is Spore PM moving young gun minister from cabinet to speaker's chair?
Tan Chuan-Jin well qualified for Speaker role, say colleagues
Tan Chuan-Jin nominated Parliament Speaker leaves awkward questions
Singaporean PM nominates new parliament speaker
Tan Chuan-Jin to be new Speaker of Parliament
Tan Chuan-Jin to be Speaker, Desmond Lee to helm MSF
Tan Chuan-Jin to champion social issues, causes if elected as Speaker
Tan Chuan-Jin 'always had a heart for the less privileged'
Tan Chuan-Jin to become new Speaker of Parliament, Desmond Lee
PM nominates Tan Chuan-Jin as next Speaker of Parliament
Analysts taken aback by move, but say Chuan-Jin is 'best choice'
MPs sad to lose a champion for the vulnerable
Speaker 'very important position' in Spore's system of Govt: Chan Chun Sing
TCJ has right qualities to be Speaker, appointment not a step down: CCS
'Big shoes to fill': Desmond Lee on new role as Minister at MSF
Tan Chuan-Jin to be Speaker of Parliament as of 11 September
Parliament Speaker's role is a critical one: Minister Chan Chun Sing
Desmond Lee: Youngest minister in current Cabinet to helm his first ministry
Speaker-to-be Tan Chuan-Jin once seen as key member of 4G leadership
Tan Chuan-Jin to be Speaker of Parliament from Sept 11
The Straits Times' News In A Minute: Sept 5, 2017
Tan Chuan Jin to be nominated as new Speaker of Parliament
Tan Chuan-Jin to become new Speaker of Parliament, Desmond Lee to helm
Tan Chuan-Jin a man 'with a heart for poor, elderly & those from broken families'
Tan Chuan-Jin to champion social issues, causes if elected as Speaker
PM Lee will nominate Tan Chuan-Jin as Speaker, Desmond to be Minister at MSF
No need to read too much into 'inadequate' Facebook post, says Tan Chuan-Jin
Tan Chuan-Jin has 6km farewell run with staff
Salaries for early childhood educators can go up more: Tan Chuan-Jin
You Are My Sunshine: Tan Chuan-Jin joins kids' sing-along in Teachers' Day
Shuffles towards Singapore's fourth prime minister

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