Khaw taps Chuan-Jin's NGO links

SINGAPORE - Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin will continue to act as the Ministry of National Development's (MND's) "unofficial point person" in its dealings with non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

In a post on his Housing Matters blog on Monday, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said that Minister of State Desmond Lee will take over some of this portfolio as ex-officio from Mr Tan.

However, Mr Tan will continue to work with NGOs, as he has done on the Rail Corridor, Bukit Brown as well as animal welfare and biodiversity conservation.

These projects, as well as many others, have benefited from Mr Tan's suggestions and feedback, said Mr Khaw.

Mr Khaw wrote: "He (Mr Tan) feels passionately for these causes, and we (do) too."

Mr Tan, who was at the heart of the Bukit Brown issue, had reached out to interest groups over a road slicing through the cemetery and also led public discussions on the Rail Corridor on disused railway land.

He relinquished his appointment as Senior Minister of State for National Development on Sunday and the ministry officially bade farewell to him on Monday.

Mr Khaw said: "He made great efforts to reach out to relevant stakeholders. He walked, jogged, cycled, dived and, of course, Facebooked, to build up a strong and productive relationship between MND and the interested NGOs."

Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced changes to his Cabinet and other political appointments.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Mr Tan wrote: "There is a reason why we serve, and it doesn't depend on our appointment."

In a comment left on Mr Tan's Facebook page, user Chi Eng Lim wrote: "I always like Minister Tan's very positive and rational approach (with a hint of compassion thrown in), which I think is one of the key qualities to good governance."

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Here is Mr Khaw's blog entry:

Today, MND officially bids farewell to SMS Tan Chuan-Jin. While in MND, he helped me tremendously in several areas, particularly in green and blue issues, animal welfare and construction manpower matters. Many MND projects benefited from his inputs and insights. He made great efforts to reach out to relevant stakeholders. He walked, jogged, cycled, dived, and of course Facebooked, to build up a strong and productive relationship between MND and the interested NGOs.

The Rail Corridor, Bukit Brown, animal welfare and biodiversity conservation issues, and many other projects benefited from his suggestions and feedback.

MOS Desmond Lee will take over some of this portfolio as ex-officio, but Ag Minister Tan Chuan-Jin will continue as our unofficial point person with these NGOs. He feels passionately for these causes, and we too.

As he leaves MND to focus on MOM, our partnership will continue and our common aspiration to raise construction industry productivity will see our paths crossing often, I am sure.