CHEE Hong Tat, the Second Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), will be leaving the civil service, fuelling speculation that he is entering politics in the upcoming General Election.
The 41-year-old was recently spotted with People's Action Party (PAP) Members of Parliament at community events; he was with Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Hri Kumar Nair, greeting Thomson-Toa Payoh residents last Saturday, reported straitstimes.com, and also attended the Thomson-Toa Payoh National Day dinner the same weekend.
Public servants are required to resign if they are seeking political office, noted straitstimes.com
The PAP will unveil its new candidates for the election after the National Day weekend, said PAP organising secretary Ng Eng Hen on Sunday.
Mr Chee, whose last day of service is Aug 11, joined the Administrative Service in 1998, and has since held various appointments in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Education.
He was appointed principal private secretary to minister mentor Lee Kuan Yew in 2008, and went on to serve as a pallbearer at the funeral of the former prime minister this year.
Mr Chee was appointed chief executive at Energy Market Authority (EMA) in 2011. On his watch, "consumers benefited from EMA's initiatives to improve Singapore's energy security and enhance market competition", the Public Service Division said in a statement on Tuesday announcing that Mr Chee was leaving the civil service.
He was appointed to his current position at MTI in 2014, and given responsibilities in international trade policies, tourism and entrepreneurship.
Mr Chee was particularly active in promoting a business-friendly environment and helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) raise their competitiveness "through innovation, market access and capability development".
He was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 2010 for his contributions to the public sector.