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Josephine Teo, Desmond Lee promoted to full ministers from May 1
SINGAPORE will soon have two women full ministers in the Cabinet for the first time, after Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo was promoted in the latest round of Cabinet changes announced on Thursday.
Mrs Teo, 48, will be Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Second Minister at both the Manpower and Foreign Affairs ministries.
The third-term politician will relinquish her role as Senior Minister of State at the Transport Ministry but will continue to oversee population matters in Singapore, assisting Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.
Mrs Teo joins Grace Fu, the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, as the two highest-ranked women in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's Cabinet.
Joining her as a fellow Minister in the PMO is Senior Minister of State Desmond Lee, a 40-year-old who entered politics in 2011.
Mr Lee, one of the youngest full ministers in recent terms, will also be Second Minister for Home Affairs and National Development, his two current ministries.
Their appointments, effective from May 1, topped a long list of Cabinet changes and other political appointments that are part of ongoing leadership renewal.
Four ministers of state - Lam Pin Min (Health), Janil Puthucheary (Communications & Information, and Education), Koh Poh Koon (Trade & Industry, and National Development) and Chee Hong Tat (Communications & Information, and Health) - will move up a rank to become Senior Minister of State, continuing in their same portfolios.
Dr Lam, however, will take on an additional role as Senior Minister of State in the Transport Ministry.
Parliamentary secretaries Low Yen Ling (Trade & Industry, and Education) and Faishal Ibrahim (Social & Family Development, and Education) will be promoted to Senior Parliamentary Secretary in their respective ministries.
There are a couple of other new appointments, with Minister of State Sam Tan adding the Foreign Affairs portfolio to his existing responsibilities at the Manpower Ministry and the PMO.
Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin will have a concurrent role as Parliamentary Secretary for Health.
It was also announced that Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck will step down from public office on June 30.
PM Lee has already accepted the 48-year-old's request to step down from public office to return to the private sector.
Mr Teo, who entered politics in 2006, wrote on his Facebook page: "I plan to build, create, invest or help startups and businesses. Some are tech-related while others will be in products or services which I'm passionate about."
He added: "I have decided to go back to (the) private sector to continue my journey and also have some time for the family."
Mr Teo will also relinquish his appointment as Mayor of North East District when his mayoral term ends on May 26, with Tampines GRC member of parliament and unionist Desmond Choo taking his place a day later.
Mr Teo remains an MP in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and will continue to serve his residents in the Sengkang Central division.
Posting on Facebook shortly after the various appointments were made public, PM Lee thanked Mr Teo for his contributions and wished him all the best in his future endeavours.
"Ser Luck has contributed much in the ministries he served in - Transport, Trade and Industry, Manpower - and worked with his fellow mayors on many meaningful projects," the prime minister said.
Apart from Mr Choo's appointment as a new mayor, the country's four other mayors - Maliki Osman, Teo Ho Pin, Denise Phua and Low Yen Ling - will be re-appointed for another term.
Separately, MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling announced on her Facebook page that she will join Singapore investment firm Jing King Tech Group in May.
The 33-year-old backbencher has been a full-time MP for the last six years. She left her previous job at Ernst & Young in June 2011, a month after getting elected as part of the Marine Parade GRC team at the general election.
According to its website, Jing King Tech Group is a "diversified group of investment companies with total assets of nearly US$250 million". It was founded in 1984.
"Even as I embark on this new appointment, I will remain committed to MacPherson and our residents. My position with the company will offer job flexibility for me to fully discharge my MP responsibilities," said Ms Tin.