PM Lee's changes to Cabinet and other appointments to take effect on Aug 22

SINGAPORE - The changes to Cabinet and other appointments announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during National Day Rally 2016 on Sunday (Aug 21) will take effect on Aug 22, 2016.

Detailing the various changes, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement today (Aug 22) that Mr Heng Swee Keat will resume his responsibilities as Minister for Finance, taking over Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam who was covering Mr Heng during the latter's absence.

The reshuffling of portfolios will also affect Ms Sim Ann, who will relinquish her appointment in the Ministry of Finance and join the Ministry of Trade and Industry as its Senior Minister of State.

She will retain her concurrent appointment as Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

PM Lee also announced yesterday that Mr Lawrence Wong will be appointed as the Second Minister for Finance, concurrently with his present appointment as Minister for National Development.

The addition to Mr Wong's portfolio is to help Mr Heng with his operational responsibilities at the Finance Ministry, said PM Lee.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you for your concern and good wishes. I’m sorry I didn't have the chance to meet you all...

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Monday, August 22, 2016

This will allow Mr Heng to get ready for next year's Budget, and to lead the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE), which he co-chairs with Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran.

Mr Heng has been recovering from a stroke after he was discharged on June 25 from a six-week stay at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

The Finance Minister had collapsed during a Cabinet meeting on May 12 due to a stroke caused by an aneurysm, a localised weakening of the blood vessels.

PM Lee revealed yesterday that doctors have recommended the 54-year-old politician to avoid crowds for a few more months to minimise the risk of infection.

In a post on his Facebook account yesterday, Mr Heng thanked his colleagues for their dedication to the Finance Ministry in his absence and welcomed Mr Wong's help.

I have followed every one of PM Lee’s NDRs closely. Like all of you, I have never felt such a surge of joy as when PM...

Posted by Heng Swee Keat on Sunday, August 21, 2016

"Lawrence and I worked closely together at MOE, when he led the Committee on University Education Pathways beyond 2015, a major piece of work that led to important policies," Mr Heng wrote.

"We had good robust discussions, and I look forward to more exchanges when he joins us at MOF as Second Minister."

grongloh@sph.com.sg

grongloh@sph.com.sg