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More office holders in new Singapore Cabinet, leadership renewal emphasised


AS EXPECTED, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's new Cabinet, unveiled on Monday, emphasises leadership renewal. There are now 37 office holders (up from 33) - half of whom are 50 years old and below.

Mr Lee has relieved both deputy prime ministers (DPMs) Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam from their specific ministerial responsibilities (Home Affairs and Finance, respectively).

Instead, younger faces have been placed in key ministries. Heng Swee Keat will be Minister for Finance; Lawrence Wong will be Minister for National Development; and Ng Chee Meng and Ong Ye Kung will be Acting Ministers for Education.

Chan Chun Sing will be the Party Whip, taking over from Gan Kim Yong (who will continue as Minister for Health). Mr Chan is Secretary-General of NTUC, and will remain Minister in the Prime Minister's Office. He will also take over from Lim Swee Say as Deputy Chairman of the People's Association. Tan Chuan-Jin will remain Minister for Social and Family Development.

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Ng Eng Hen will stay on as Minister for Defence, and K Shanmugam will remain as Minister for Law and will be concurrently appointed Minister for Home Affairs. Vivian Balakrishnan will become Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Mr Teo will continue as DPM and Coordinating Minister for National Security, and will be Acting PM in Mr Lee's absence. Mr Tharman remains DPM, and is now Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies.

The other Coordinating Minister is Khaw Boon Wan, who will oversee Infrastructure, and will also concurrently hold the post of Minister for Transport. The three coordinating ministers will oversee work involving multiple ministries in their respective areas.

Josephine Teo will take over the population portfolio from Grace Fu, and will help Mr Teo oversee the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) in the Prime Minister's Office.

Grace Fu will be Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and will take over from Ng Eng Hen as the Leader of the House. She will continue to oversee the Municipal Services Office (MSO) as well.

Apart from the Ministry of Education, two ministers have also been appointed for the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). Lim Hng Kiang will be Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade), while S Iswaran will be appointed Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry).

Lim Swee Say will remain Minister for Manpower and Yaacob Ibrahim will remain as Minister for Communications and Information and continue to be in charge of Muslim Affairs. Masagos Zulkifli will be Minister for Environment and Water Resources.

Three Ministers of State -Maliki Osman, Sim Ann and Desmond Lee - have been promoted to Senior Ministers of State.

New office holders have also been appointed from the backbench, as well as from new Members of Parliament (MPs). These include Chee Hong Tat who will be Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Communications and Information; and Koh Poh Koon who will be Minister of State in MTI and the Ministry of National Development. Baey Yam Keng will be Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

Three office holders from the previous team have stepped down - Lui Tuck Yew, Hawazi Daipi, and Lee Yi Shyan. The former two asked to retire before the general election, while Mr Lee Yi Shyan asked to step down and return to the backbench.