SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has announced another round of Cabinet changes and political appointments aimed at addressing Singapore’s priorities and challenges as the country moves towards its next phase of development.
The latest move is the third round of changes after the 2011 General Election, and comes just eight months after the last round in August 2013.
PM Lee said Singapore is going through an important transition. There is a push to strengthen social safety nets through the introduction of measures such as the Pioneer Generation Package and MediShield Life.
Mr Lee said: “These major policy shifts require good political leadership, close coordination across ministries, effective ground implementation and strong support from Singaporeans.”
Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin and Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong will both be promoted to full Ministers from May 1.
Mr Wong will also be promoted to Second Minister for Communications and Information. He is currently Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Communications and Information.
Mr Lee said Mr Tan and Mr Wong have performed well since taking office and mastered their portfolios. They have also worked hard on the ground, winning the respect and trust of Singaporeans, Mr Lee added.
The social sector is getting a boost with the promotion of Mr Sam Tan to Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, and in the Prime Minister’s Office.
He will coordinate the delivery of Singapore’s social policies across multiple ministries and implementation on the ground.
To focus on this, Mr Tan will relinquish his appointments in the Foreign Affairs Ministry and as Mayor of Central Singapore CDC.
The Health Ministry, which is also spearheading major policy reviews, will get an additional Minister of State with the appointment of Dr Lam Pin Min.
Mr Lee said Dr Lam will play an important role in the Health Ministry’s efforts to review policies and develop new models of care, especially in the aged care and primary care sectors, as outlined in the Healthcare 2020 Master Plan.
He added Dr Lam’s professional expertise as a doctor will be very useful in designing policies and engaging the community of healthcare professionals.
There will be two new Mayors.
Denise Phua will take over Mr Sam Tan as Mayor of Central Singapore CDC.
Meanwhile, Mayor for South West CDC Dr Amy Khor will relinquish her post as she focuses on her new role as Co-Chair of the Pioneer Generation Task Force.
The prime minister said Dr Khor will focus on implementing the Pioneer Generation Package and helping Singapore’s pioneers understand and benefit from the package.
Mr Lee said: “She has done a lot as Mayor, expanding outreach in the community, deepening engagement with residents, and partnering grassroots organisations and business corporations.
“She also worked closely with the other Mayors to pursue a more aligned and coordinated approach to community development.”
Taking over Dr Khor as Mayor at South West CDC is Low Yen Ling.
The new Mayor appointments are effective on May 27.
Ms Low will also be appointed as Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) on top of her present appointment at the Social and Family Development Ministry.
PM Lee said that at MCCY, Ms Low will help implement the Youth Corps Singapore programme and expand Singapore’s youth outreach initiatives as well as strengthen efforts to engage the arts community, and Chinese cultural and clan groups.
Observers say the latest round of changes is part of the government’s continued leadership renewal process, with the country’s fourth generation of leaders slowly taking shape.
PM Lee said he will make further changes from time to time to ensure that the best team for Singapore is in place.
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