Singaporean PM reshuffles cabinet, elevates youngsters

Singapore PM Lee
Singapore's PM Lee speaks during luncheon hosted by leaders of federations of economic organizations.. Reuters

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has announced the biggest Cabinet reshuffle changing all his 16 ministries in an ation of grooming the fourth-generation ministers, ahead of a major change in leadership of the country as well.

"I regularly have to move ministers around, appoint new ones from the backbenches, promote some office holders, and from time to time retire others," wrote PM Lee in a Facebook post.

As three long-serving ministers are retiring, other new faces are being roped in to get new or expanded portfolios, giving the youngsters more than one ministry in the reshuffle. Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Mr Lim Swee Say and Dr Yaacob Ibrahim have stepped down as ministers after serving for a long term.

Called the fourth-generation, or 4G, some leaders in the cabinet have been allotted new roles in the reshuffle. Mr Chan Chun Sing will head the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Mrs Josephine Teo was made Manpower Minister and Mr S Iswaran will be Minister for Communications and Information.

Ms Indranee Rajah will be Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). She will also be the Second Minister for Finance and Education.

Mr Ong Ye Kung has been elevated to full responsibilities of the Education Ministry, while Mr Ng Chee moves to be Minister at PMO with additional charge as deputy secretary-general of the National Trade Unions Congress (NTUC). Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat remains at the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

"After this reshuffle, they (youngsters) will head two-thirds of the ministries," wrote Mr Lee, indicating that he will step down in two years.

Ms Indranee said that she was "honoured and humbled" with new portfolios - in PMO, MOF and the Ministry of Education. It's a "tremendous task but something well worth doing", she added.

Mr Iswaran, who was in Hannover, said the Ministry of Communications and Information is "challenging" as it consists of fast-changing sectors like telecommunications, information technology and media. He will also continue as Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations.

"This is an important area for us in Singapore, especially against the backdrop of the current global environment, we want to make sure that Singapore's interests are protected," he added.

Dr Yaacob Ibrahim will be stepping down as Minister for Communications and Information.