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Tan Chuan-Jin and Lawrence Wong made full ministers

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 06:00

[SINGAPORE] Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin and Acting Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong will be made full ministers from tomorrow.

Mr Wong will also move up a notch to become Second Minister at the Ministry of Communications and Information, where he is currently its Senior Minister of State.

These two promotions were the top changes announced yesterday by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as he unveiled yet another round of changes to his Cabinet line-up.

In a statement, he said Mr Tan and Mr Wong - both of whom entered politics at the last general election in 2011 - had performed well since taking office, and had mastered their respective portfolios.

"They have also worked hard on the ground, winning the respect and trust of Singaporeans," said Mr Lee.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the May Day Dinner yesterday, Mr Tan said that he would continue to work hard to improve the lives of Singaporeans and address the issues that concern them.

"Those things don't change. Whether this appointment or that appointment, we will continue to apply ourselves as best as we can," he said.

Mr Wong said he is grateful for the chance to continue serving the country in a larger capacity, especially in this transition period for Singapore.

Among the other changes, Sam Tan will be made Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office. He will concurrently be Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

He will, however, relinquish his existing appointments at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, where he is senior parliamentary secretary, and as Mayor of Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC) to focus on his new responsibilities.

These new tasks, said PM Lee, include helping to coordinate the delivery of the government's social policies including the Pioneer Generation Package.

Denise Phua, a Member of Parliament for Moulmein-Kallang GRC, will take over Mr Sam Tan's post at Central Singapore CDC on May 27.

Fellow backbencher Lam Pin Min (Sengkang West) will become an office holder when he joins the Health Ministry as a Minister of State on Aug 1.

Dr Lam will help Health Minister Gan Kim Yong oversee major healthcare projects, including the new MediShield Life national health insurance scheme.

Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor, meanwhile, will give up her position as Mayor of Southwest CDC on May 27.

Dr Khor has recently taken on new roles in the Health Ministry, including one key position as the co-chair of the Pioneer Generation Taskforce.

Succeeding her as Southwest CDC Mayor will be Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Low Yen Ling.

Ms Low will also be Parliamentary Secretary at the Culture, Community and Youth Ministry.

Explaining the rationale behind the latest reshuffle, Mr Lee noted that as Singapore goes through an "important transition", the major policy shifts being implemented would require "good political leadership, close coordination across ministries, effective ground implementation and strong support from Singaporeans".

He also said he wanted to strengthen his Cabinet team to address Singapore's priorities and challenges, and see the country through its next phase of development. He also called on all Singaporeans to give them their full support.

"These changes (to the Cabinet) are part of my government's continuing leadership renewal efforts. I expect to do further reshuffles from time to time, to ensure that we always have the best team for Singapore," he said.