Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong looked cool and in command as he announced his new cabinet. Congratulations to Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who has been promoted to Deputy Prime Minister and will coordinate social and economic policies while retaining his finance portfolio. Here is the transcript of the PM’s speech, as shown on RazorTV:
Today’s press conference is to announce my new cabinet lineup… My first point is that it’s an epochal change because MM and SM are leaving the cabinet. Last Saturday they announced their intention and this is the outcome. MM and SM have dedicated their lives to Singapore, building the nation, raising living standards and enabling future generations to enjoy a better life in a transformed Singapore. Now they have decided that it’s time for them to step down and leave it to me and my team of younger ministers to take Singapore forward into the future. I have thought this over carefully over the last five days and decided to accept their decision — four days. I have decided to accept their decision and I thank them for all that they have done not just on my own behalf but on behalf of all the people of Singapore.
MM’s contributions, of course, are too large to list here — and SM’s contributions, too, building on what MM had done, and helping Singapore to shift gears and adapt to a different period. And I personally owe a great deal to SM — SM Goh — because he brought me into politics and he was the one who guided and mentored for all these many years.
I am keen to not leave their accumulated experience and wisdom fallow but to tap it. And therefore we will be appointing Mr Lee Kuan Yew to be senior adviser to GIC and Mr Goh Chok Tong to be senior adviser to MAS. And Mr Goh will also have the honorary title of Emeritus Senior Minister. For those of you who are not familiar, emeritus means that the person is retired but he keeps as an honorary title the title which he held immediately before his retirement. So , in Mr Goh’s case, he was Senior Minister, so emeritus SM. I had made the same offer to Mr Lee, but Mr Lee said: “Well, I don’t need that. It’s not necessary.”
But beyond being senior advisers and emeritus SM, I am confident that they will continue to cultivate their extensive network of ties abroad to Singapore’s advantage. Because these are networks and links and contacts and links which take many years to build up and which we should make the maximum of.
Several ministers are retiring at this round apart from SM and MM: DPM Wong Kan Seng, Minister Mah Bow Tan and Minister Raymond Lim will retire from the cabinet. All three of them served in challenging appointments and have made many valuable contributions. They had expressed their desire to step down earlier. I had asked them to stay on and help me to fight the elections. Now that these elections have been fought, won and they have reiterated that they didn’t wish to be reappointed, I have agreed — and I would like to put on record my thanks for all their many contributions.
We now have a fresh lineup in cabinet. It’s a completely new lineup. It’s a fresh slate after a watershed election. And the cabinet will be reviewing our policies and approaches, existing ones as well as coming up with new ones, and developing, working hard to engage a new generation of Singaporeans in order to take Singapore forward in a more complex environment, more complex externally and I think more complex within Singapore too.
I have gone for comprehensive reshuffle, not just incremental changes. So out of 14 ministries, 11 will have new ministers in charge and the ministers will have a free hand to rethink and reshape policies. I am appointing two DPMs — Teo Chee Hean will continue to be DPM and also Coordinating Minister for National Security, and in my absence he will be the acting PM. I am also promoting Tharman to be the Deputy Prime Minister and he will primarily be coordinating economic and social policy. This is in addition to his portfolios, where he continues with Finance and he will also be covering the Ministry for Manpower.
There are several other promotions. Iswaran is being promoted to full minister in PM and he will be second minister in MTI and ministry of home affairs. Heng Chee How has been promoted from MOS to senior minister of state and he continues in NTUC and Teo Ser Luck has been promoted from senior power sec to MOS.
In addition, I have two promotions from the backbenchers. Halimah Yacob will become MOS in MCYS and Josephine Teo will become MOS in both finance and transport. I am appointing several office holders from the new MPs. Heng Swee Kuat will be minister for education. Chan Chun Sing will be acting minister for MCYs as well as minister of state in MICA and three more MPs – Tan Chuan-Jin, Lawrence Wong and Sim Ann — will come in as MOS’s or senior power secs.
It’s a faster pace than normal but I decided to bring them in early and test them out quickly because I think there is urgency in the task of preparing for leadership succession, as I have explained many times before.
This is the cabinet at the beginning of this term of government. I will do a midterm review and make further changes as the new team shakes down and as people establish themselves. And I expect to review the cabinet appointments within the next two years. Today my focus is on a new cabinet. There are many other issues — broad ones, important ones. We will deal with them later, beginning with my swearing-in speech on Saturday.
Here is the new lineup of ministers, taken from Today:
Teo Chee Hean – Deputy Prime Minister, coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs
Tharman Shanmugaratnam – Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Finance and Minister for Manpower
Lim Hng Kiang – Minister for Trade and Industry
Lim Swee Say – Minister, Prime Minister’s Office
Yaacob Ibrahim – Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts
Khaw Boon Wan – Minister for National Development
Dr Ng Eng Hen – Minister for Defence
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan – Minister for Environment and Water Resources
K Shanmugam – Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law
Gan Kim Yong – Minister for Health
Lui Tuck Yew – Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs
S Iswaran – Minister in Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Home Affairs, Second Minister for Trade and Industry
Heng Swee Keat – Minister for Education
MG (NS) Chan Chun Sing – Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Minister of State for Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts
Senior Ministers of State
Grace Fu Hai Yien – Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts and Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources
Mr Heng Chee How – Prime Minister’s Office
Ministers of State
Lee Yi Shyan – Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of National Development
Dr Amy Khor Lean Suan – Ministry of Health
Masagos Zulkifli – Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Teo Ser Luck – Ministry of Trade and Industry
Halimah Yacob – Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports
Josephine Teo – Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport
Lawrence Wong – Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Education
BG (NS) Tan Chuan-Jin – Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Manpower
Senior Parliamentary Secretaries
Hawazi Daipi – Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower
Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman – Ministry of Defence and Ministry of National Development
Sam Tan – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports
Sim Ann – Ministry of Education and Ministry of Law