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The reshuffle sees Education Minister Lawrence Wong being named the new Finance Minister. — TODAY pic
The reshuffle sees Education Minister Lawrence Wong being named the new Finance Minister. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, April 23 — The leadership of several heavyweight ministries are changing hands after less than a year, including the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Transport, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in his latest Cabinet reshuffle today. 

“It will be a more extensive reshuffle than is usual this early in the term of government,” said Lee at a virtual press conference. 

The reshuffle, which comes less than a year after the last one in July last year, sees Education Minister Lawrence Wong being named the new Finance Minister, an appointment that has been keenly watched since Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s said two weeks ago that he was stepping down from the role.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing will take over Wong’s position as Education Minister, while Chan’s post will be taken up by current Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung will head the Ministry of Health. With that appointment, he is also replacing Gan as a co-chair of the multi-ministry taskforce that is handling Singapore’s response to Covid-19, alongside Wong.

Minister for Communication and Information S. Iswaran will take over Ong’s transport portfolio, as Manpower Minister Josephine Teo steps in to take his place.

Teo will hand over her manpower portfolio to Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng, who will maintain his concurrent appointments as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Second Minister for Trade and Industry. 

Explaining why the latest Cabinet reshuffle is more extensive than usual, Lee said the finance portfolio that Heng, who is staying on as Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, had helmed is a “key ministry”.

“When the Finance Minister changes, it has many repercussions,” he said.

He also said that he is moving the ministers for Health, Manpower and Trade and Industry as these are “frontline ministries dealing with Covid-19 and its consequences”.

He said he had considered making these changes following last July’s General Election, but the plans did not materialise as Singapore was still in the thick of the pandemic. 

“Now that the Covid-19 situation is more stable, I am able to make these changes,” he said.

Amid the reshuffle, Teo will keep her appointment as Second Minister for Home Affairs, while Iswaran will continue as Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations in the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The changes will take effect from May 15. — TODAY

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