SINGAPORE, May 13 — Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong will be promoted to deputy prime minister with effect from Wednesday (May 15) when Lawrence Wong is expected to formally take over the leadership reins and be sworn in as Singapore’s fourth prime minister.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will remain in the new Cabinet as a senior minister, together with current Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who was appointed to the role in 2019, will remain in the role.

When Lee was first appointed prime minister in 2004, he also had two deputies: Tony Tan and S Jayakumar.

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Aside from the new appointments, there were few changes to the existing Cabinet line-up.

Wong had previously said that he would strive towards having a “good balance” between experienced ministers and new Cabinet members with fresh perspectives, though any major changes among political office holders would happen at a later stage.

In announcing the changes today, Wong said that continuity and stability were among the key considerations, given that the current government is approaching the end of its term.

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The next General Election has to be called by November 2025.

“All the ministers already have a full plate of work to see through and some have also just rolled out new programmes in their ministries. So, to avoid any disruptions, I have decided to keep them in their present roles until the end of the term,” he said.

Further changes in the Cabinet can be expected in the future.

The following are the changes made to the Cabinet:

Re-appointments and promotions

Lawrence Wong

  • Wong, 52, will be appointed as prime minister with effect from May 15He will retain his current role as finance minister

Lee Hsien Loong

  • Lee will be appointed senior minister
  • Teo Chee Hean will also be retained as senior minister

Gan Kim Yong

  • Gan, 65, will be promoted to deputy prime minister, while helming the Ministry of Trade and Industry. He will be acting prime minister in the absence of Wong
  • Heng Swee Keat, 63, will continue serving as deputy prime minister

Low Yen Ling

  • Low Yen Ling will be promoted to senior minister of state for trade and industry, as well as culture, community and youth
  • She is currently minister of state for both ministries
  • She will also continue as mayor of South-west District

Desmond Tan

  • Desmond Tan, currently minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, will be promoted to senior minister of state
  • He is currently deputy secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress and will continue serving in the labour movement

Rahayu Mahzam

  • Rahayu will be promoted to minister of state
  • She will continue in the Health Ministry, where she is currently senior parliamentary secretary, and take on a new appointment in the Ministry of Communications and Information
  • She will relinquish her portfolio as senior parliamentary secretary for law

New appointments

Two backbenchers will be appointed as political office holders, namely:

Shawn Huang

  • The Member of Parliament for Jurong Group Representation Constituency will be appointed senior parliamentary secretary in the education and finance ministries

Murali Pillai

  • The Member of Parliament for Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency will be appointed as minister of state in the Ministry of Law and Ministry of Transport
  • His appointment will take effect from July 2024

Aside from the portfolio changes, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announced on Monday that the Ministry of Communications and Information will be renamed as the Ministry of Digital Development and Information.

“The new name reflects the ministry’s role in driving our national digital agenda,” said the PMO in a statement.

Wong today said that if his government is re-elected, he plans “to rotate the 4G (fourth generation) ministers with different portfolios” and give them wider exposure and experience.

At the same time, more fresh blood is needed as some of the older ministers are likely to retire at the end of the current term or shortly after, he added.

“I aim to further renew and strengthen the team with new members, especially men and women in their 30s and 40s. There is no higher priority for me (than) to form the best possible team to serve Singapore and Singaporeans.” — TODAY