PM announces new Cabinet
KHAW Boon Wan will be switching gears from housing matters to those of transport, putting to rest months of speculation on who would take on the hot seat.
His new role as Singapore's Transport Minister was part of Cabinet changes announced yesterday which also had members of the fourth-generation leadership being put in positions of heavy responsibility.
Lawrence Wong, the outgoing culture, community and youth minister, will take over Mr Khaw's National Development Ministry.
The changes, which will take effect from Thursday, will also see Deputy Prime Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam take on Coordinating Minister roles.
Mr Teo will oversee national security and Mr Tharman will look after economic and social policies. Mr Khaw will also be a Coordinating Minister, in charge of infrastructure.
The changes were announced at a press conference at the Istana chaired by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was flanked by the key members of his Cabinet.
PM Lee said that Mr Khaw, as the third Coordinating Minister and also Transport Minister, will "tie together different aspects of urban planning".
He noted that Singapore was entering a new phase of nation building, with complex challenges faced by multiple ministries. There was a need for tighter coordination across ministries for a whole-of-government response.
He noted that the Education Ministry's role has widened, and it must work closely with the Trade and Industry Ministry as well as Manpower Ministry so that graduates will have skills that can find them jobs.
PM Lee also said that he was putting many younger leaders in key ministries to broaden their experience. Backbenchers have also been brought in too.
Several other ministers are changing their portfolios as well. Outgoing education minister Heng Swee Keat will be Finance Minister.
Outgoing environment and water resources minister Vivian Balakrishnan will be Foreign Affairs Minister. Masagos Zulkifli will take over as Minister for Environment and Water Resources.
K. Shanmugam will leave the Foreign Affairs Ministry, but continue to be Law Minister and will helm the Home Affairs Ministry.
Grace Fu will be Minister for Culture, Community and Youth. She will also be the first female Leader of the House.
Of the ministers who are changing portfolios, PM Lee noted that Dr Balakrishnan had done a good job at the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and had represented Singapore ably in international forums.
On Mr Heng's move to the Finance Ministry, PM Lee said he had proved himself in the Education Ministry, "a very demanding portfolio".
"He's familiar with many different ministries and now he will oversee our national finances," said the Prime Minister.
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