SINGAPORE, June 6 — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today announced Cabinet changes, which will see Finance Minister Lawrence Wong promoted to Deputy Prime Minister (DPM).

The changes take effect from June 13, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement.

Wong will also assume responsibility for the Strategy Group within the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), taking over from Heng Swee Keat, who will continue as DPM.

The Strategy Group was set up in 2015 to strengthen strategic alignment across the Government.

The new Cabinet will have two DPMs. Wong, who will continue as Finance Minister, will be the Acting Prime Minister in the absence of Lee.

The reshuffle follows April’s announcement that Wong had been picked by Cabinet ministers as the leader of the fourth generation (4G) of Singapore’s political leadership.

The decision, which was endorsed by all Members of Parliament from the ruling party, means that Wong is set to succeed Lee as the next Prime Minister.

Lee also said at the time that with this decision, he would make adjustments to Cabinet appointments, which would be announced at a later date.

Lee then said last month to reporters that the reshuffle will likely occur early this month.

The decision to appoint Wong as 4G leader was made after Heng relinquished that role in April last year.

Following Heng’s shock announcement, a cabinet reshuffle was announced within the same month, which saw seven new ministries with new ministers.

In the latest cabinet reshuffle, there were no other changes to roles of ministers and second ministers, but there were some promotions:

• Tan Kiat How will be promoted to Senior Minister of State. He will continue in the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and the Ministry of National Development

• Eric Chua will be promoted to Senior Parliamentary Secretary. He will continue in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)

• Rahayu Mahzam will be promoted to Senior Parliamentary Secretary, and will take up a new appointment in the Ministry of Law (MinLaw). She will continue in the Ministry of Health (MOH), but relinquish her appointment in MCI.

New appointments were also announced:

• Chee Hong Tat will be appointed Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance. He will continue in his appointment at the Ministry of Transport (MOT), but will relinquish his role as the deputy-secretary general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC)

• Dr Koh Poh Koon will be appointed Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Sustainability and Environment (MSE). He will continue in the Ministry of Manpower, but relinquish his appointment in MOH

• Sun Xueling will be appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). She will continue in MSF, but relinquish her appointment in her appointment at the Ministry of Education

• Desmond Tan will be appointed Minister of State in the PMO. He will relinquish his appointments in MHA and MSE

• Baey Yam Keng will be appointed Senior Parliamentary Secretary in MSE. He will continue in his appointment in MOT.

After the announcement of his promotion, Wong said in a Facebook post: “When I was asked by my peers to lead the 4G team, I said that I would be taking on what would possibly be the biggest responsibility of my life.

“As I’ve said before, I will do my best and give every ounce of my strength to serve Singapore and Singaporeans. In turn, I seek your support, as I take on my latest appointment as DPM, and take another step forward in embracing my new responsibilities.”

— Infographic by Samuel Woo/TODAY
— Infographic by Samuel Woo/TODAY

NTUC appointment

PMO added that NTUC has also agreed to the Lee’s request for Chee, its deputy-secretary general, to return to the government full‐time, and accepted his proposal for Desmond Tan to join NTUC.

NTUC said in a statement today that Lee had written to NTUC president Mary Liew on June 2 with the request, and the labour movement had on June 3 “deliberated and accepted the prime minister’s request”.

“The NTUC Central Committee looks forward to working with Chee in his new capacity and is confident that he will continue to further the interest of workers.”

It also said that Chee will relinquish his role at NTUC on June 13, while Desmond Tan’s official appointment is expected to take place at a later date. — TODAY