Singapore New Cabinet: PAP's New Faces in GE2020 to Assume State Minster Roles

Lee Hsien Loong, who will continue to be the Prime Minister of Singapore, emphasized on the importance of infusing fresh blood beside keeping faith in experience

The 14th parliament of Singapore will convene in the coming days with the incumbent Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, continuing his role. With the main agenda of the General Election 2020 is taking Singapore through the Coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic fallout, Lee has kept his faith on experience infusing fresh blood in a few departments.

The ruling People's Action Party (PAP) which has been in power since the country's independence in 1965, has not gone for major shake-ups. Instead, a few ministers have been handed new roles while newly appointed Members of Parliament (MPs) have been given supporting roles under experienced faces.

"First, continuity. In normal times, we need experienced ministers to provide steady hands, and also to mentor the younger ministers. And in this crisis, this need is even greater. Secondly, I'm rotating the ministers, especially the younger ones to gain exposure and experience. Thirdly, I'm renewing the lineup and bringing in fresh blood and promoting several junior officeholders and backbenchers who have performed well," said PM Lee during the announcement on Saturday, July 25. He will take his oath on July 27.

pm lee hsien loong
Lee Hsien Loong will continue as the Prime Minister of Singapore Reuters

The newly-elected MPs, who have been appointed as ministers are:

Gan Siow Huang: The former Brigadier-General of Singapore Armed Forces and the first woman of the country to hold the position, Gan won her election from Marymount SMC with 55.04 percent against Progress Singapore Party's (PSP) Ang Yong Guan. The first-timer in the election has been given two major roles as the Minister of State for education and manpower.

She will serve under Education Minister Lawrence Wong and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo. The latter has come under heavy criticism for her alleged mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis in the migrant workers' dormitories. With the country under recession, the focus will be on creating jobs for Singaporeans and Gan will play a major role. Additionally, she also has a role to play in education ministry as more citizens will now require skill-based training during the economic crisis.

Alvin Tan: With degrees in economics and public policy, Tan won his election from the Tanjong Pagar GRC. While this is his first time in an election, he doesn't lack experience working in ministry. Previously, he has worked in the ministry of defense and has been to the United Nations as a representative of Singapore besides working in private sector giants such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Goldman Sachs.

He will take on the role of Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth under Edwin Tong. He will also work under Chan Chun Sing in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which will also have a prominent role to play during the country's crisis period.

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Desmond Tan: The former SAF general and PAP's Chief Executive Director, Desmond, was one of the popular faces during the GE2020. In his first election, he won from the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. He will be the Minister of State in Ministry of Home Affairs under veteran politician K Shanmugam while he will also help in the Ministry of Sustainability and Environment under Grace Fu.

Dr Tan See Leng: Dr Tan wears many hats. He is a medical practitioner, a business executive and now a politician. Soon, he will be among the ministers of Singapore. The 55-year-old, who won his election from the Marine Parade GRC has been given an important role considering his experience. He will be the Second Minister in the Ministry of Manpower and Ministry of Trade and Industry besides assuming the role of Minister in the PMO.

Tan Kiat How: The former Deputy Secretary of Cyber and Technology in the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), Tan has a vast experience in telecom technology. As a first-timer in politics, he won the election from the East Coast GRC. In his new role as a State Minister, he will work with Desmond Lee in the Ministry of National Development besides working in the Prime Minister's Office. He will also be the Chairman of REACH, a government agency under MCI that coordinates with citizens and gathers feedback on major issues.

Eric Chua: The former Director of the SGSecure Programme Office, an agency that deals with terrorism threats through community response, Eric won his election from Tanjong Pagar GRC as the first-timer in politics. He has served as a Civil Defence volunteer for 15 years before becoming the Chairman of the People's Association Youth Movement's Central Youth Council. After assuming office, he will become the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

Rahayu Mahzam: Another new face, Rahayu won her election from Jurong GRC. A lawyer by profession and a former Deputy Registrar of the Syariah Court, the 40-year-old will be the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health serving under Gan Kim Yong from September 1.

Singapore: Minister Heng Swee Keat discharged from hospital
Heng Swee Keat will continue as the Deputy Prime Minister besides handling Finance Ministry and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Reuters

Apart from the addition of new faces, there have been no changes in the important ministerial roles such as Minister of Defese, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Health. Deputy Prime Minister, Heng Swee Keat, who won a narrow election from the East Coast GRC, will continue his role besides taking on the job of Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies.