Chinese liaison group gets new head

Minister of Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing is the new head of the government's Chinese Community Liaison Group, taking over from Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who has helmed the group since 2006.

Mr Chan, who is also Second Minister for Defence, said in an interview with Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao on Sunday that he took over late last year.

In his new role, he intends to focus on three challenges facing the Chinese community: helping the needy, preserving Chinese culture and traditions in today's predominantly English-speaking society, and integrating new citizens.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who appointed Mr Chan, expressed confidence in him, saying he is proficient in both Chinese and English, has taken part in Chinese community events and established good ties with the community.

He added that he was letting Mr Gan hand over the reins now as the Government is in the midst of adjusting healthcare policies.

"The ties between the Government and the Chinese community have become even closer under Mr Gan's leadership," said Mr Lee, adding that Mr Gan has strengthened co-operation between the different Chinese social groups.

Mr Lee also thanked the community for supporting these groups and the Government.

Set up in 2000, the Chinese Community Liaison Group comprises office-holders and Members of Parliament from the People's Action Party.

Its five work groups are: business, clan associations, religious groups, new citizens and arts and cultural groups. Office holders Mr Lee Yi Shyan and Mr Teo Ser Luck will liaise with the business sector; Mr Sam Tan and Mr Liang Eng Hwa with the clan associations and - along with other MPs - the religious groups; and Ms Sim Ann and Ms Low Yen Ling with new citizens, as well as arts and cultural groups with Mr Baey Yam Keng.

Describing his role as that of "facilitator", Mr Chan said he would support the various groups in the community while leaving them their own space.

"What I have to do is to help the Chinese community complete its mission, allowing the community to preserve its cultural history and pass it to the next generation through closer cooperation," he told Zaobao.

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