SINGAPORE - The latest Cabinet changes are aimed at reinforcing Singapore's leadership team in the face of increasingly complicated and intense policy challenges, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said.
There is also a need for political leadership at the various ministries and departments, so as to help the Government engage and understand Singaporeans as well as get its own views across, he added.
Speaking to the Singapore media on the sidelines of his official visit to China on Wednesday, he said: "I'm reinforcing the team. I think the tasks have become more complicated and intense.
"For that, we need a team which has a varied range of talents and abilities, and which you build up gradually over time."
He further noted that the latest Cabinet changes would not be the last.
Topping the list of changes announced yesterday was Mr Chan Chun Sing's promotion from acting minister to a full minister. He will continue to helm the Ministry of Social and Family Development and serve concurrently as Second Minister for Defence.
Two backbenchers are taking up offices too.
Mr Desmond Lee will be appointed as Minister of State in the Ministry of National Development from Sept 1 and Ms Low Yen Ling will be Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Social and Family Development from Oct 1.
Asked if the changes mean that he is closer to identifying his successor, PM Lee said it is not his call to make but for "the younger ministers in the team to work out amongst themselves whom they will support as their leader".
He added: "The people who are in the Cabinet now will be an important part of the next generation of leaders for Singapore.
"I hope we will be able to reinforce them further in the next round, but I think we have a significant number of them already in the team, whom I have brought in in the last election."
PM Lee, who arrived in China on Sunday for a week-long visit, will travel to Kashgar today before heading to north-eastern Shenyang city in Liaoning province in the evening.
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