Cabinet changes to build strong 'A' team for S'pore

Cabinet changes to build strong 'A' team for S'pore

A reshuffling of roles within the Cabinet has resulted in a new labour chief, a new minister and three ministers being given new appointments, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong renews his leadership bench ahead of the next general election.

Masagos Zulkifli, 51, will be promoted to a full minister.

He will become Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) as well as Second Minister for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs from today, the PMO said in a statement yesterday.

This is PM Lee's fifth Cabinet reshuffle since the 2011 General Election. He described yesterday's changes as "part of continuing leadership renewal, to build a strong 'A' team for Singapore".

Referring to his decision to promote Mr Masagos, PM Lee wrote in a Facebook note yesterday: "He has performed well, both in his ministries and as an MP in Tampines. It is the first time we are having two Malay full ministers, which reflects the progress of the Malay community."

Meanwhile, Chan Chun Sing, 45, will be appointed Minister in the PMO and step down as Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Defence today.

Succeeding him as Minister for Social and Family Development is Tan Chuan-Jin, 46, who will remain Manpower Minister until May 3.

Mr Chan will become secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) with effect from May 4.

Mr Chan, who joined the labour movement in January and is now NTUC deputy secretary-general, will take over the top labour role from Lim Swee Say, 60, who said in a surprise announcement yesterday that he will resign from NTUC on May 4.

Mr Lim will take over from Mr Tan as Minister for Manpower on the same day.

In his Facebook post, PM Lee praised Mr Lim for his achievements in NTUC.

"Swee Say has done a lot in NTUC: helping workers to upgrade themselves, finding them new jobs when they are retrenched, assuring them that they do not face globalisation and international competition alone," he wrote.

"Chun Sing will have much work to do building on what Swee Say has done, but I am confident that he is up to the task."

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, 53, will assume a concurrent appointment as Second Minister for Defence effective today.

The Cabinet changes have been on the cards since January, when it was announced that Mr Chan would join NTUC, in a move seen as a precursor to him taking over as labour chief.

Appointments at a glance

PROMOTED:

Masagos Zulkifli, 51

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister (Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs)

APPOINTED:

Chan Chun Sing, 45

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.

Lim Swee Say, 60

Minister for Manpower (With effect from May 4, when he will relinquish his appointment as Minister in the Prime Minister's Office)

Tan Chuan-Jin, 46

Minister for Social and Family Development. He will relinquish his appointment as Minister for Manpower on May 4.

Lui Tuck Yew, 53

Second Minister (Defence). He will continue as Minister for Transport.


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