Singapore PM announces new cabinet line-up

xinhuanet.com 29-Sep-2015

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Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (L) and Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam attend a press conference in Singapore's Istana, Sept. 28, 2015. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday announced the new cabinet, including newly-introduced coordinating ministers. (Xinhua/Then Chih Wey)

SINGAPORE, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday announced a new cabinet, including newly- introduced coordinating ministers, and the new government will be sworn in on Thursday.

The reshuffle came after the ruling People's Action Party won a general election on Sept. 12 with a landslide victory.

"It's an urgent task. We don't have the luxury of time," said PM Lee at a press conference, "I have given heavy responsibilities to the next generation of leaders. They will be stretched and tested. By the end of this term, we must have a new team ready to take over from me."

The key change to the structure of the cabinet is the introduction of three coordinating ministers, each of whom will oversee a handful of related ministries.

Teo Chee Hean, Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Khaw Boon Wan were named as the ministers. Teo and Tharman will each remain deputy prime minister, but relinquish their previous ministry portfolios. Khaw will also be the new minister for transport, replacing former Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, who announced his retirement from politics ahead of the election.

Teo will oversee national security, Tharman will look after economic and social policies, and Khaw will be in charge of infrastructure.

Another changes take place in the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which will each have two full ministers, overseeing separate aspects within the ministry.

Those new to the cabinet are Acting Ministers for Education Ng Chee Meng and Ong Ye Kung. Ng will oversee schools, while Ong will look after higher education and skills.

Among the existing ministers, many of them will change portfolios. Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan will be in charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam will become Minister for Home Affairs.

Heng Swee Keat, who is in charge of the Ministry of Education, will helm the Ministry of Finance. Lawrence Wong will take over Khaw Boon Wan's portfolio, helming the Ministry of National Development. While Masagos Zulkifli will become the minister for environment and water resources.

Grace Fu will head the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. Chan Chun Sing, who remains a minister in the Prime Minister's Office, will replace Gan Kim Yong as the Party Whip.

Chee Hong Tat, new face at the recent general election, will be minister of state in the Health Ministry. Surgeon Koh Poh Koon will move into the government, becoming minister of state in the Trade and Industry and National Development ministries.