Acting Education Ministers, Ng Chee Meng and Ong Ye Kung, were sworn in as full ministers yesterday (Nov 16) at the Istana by President Tony Tan. The move will see the two junior ministers will see a pay raise for each of them and doubling the Education Ministry’s ministerial salaries budget to S$2.2 million a year including bonuses.
The two Ministers on full benefits will split the former Education Minister portfolio into two, with Minister Ng Chee Meng taking charge of “Schools” and Minister Ong Ye Kung taking charge of “Higher Education and Skills”.
It is understood that the special arrangement is made for the two Ministers because they are loyal supporters of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Due to a lack of experience, the two are incapable of taking other “more difficult” ministries like Transport which faces serious train breakdown issues, and hence has to be sheltered under an automated ministry like Education.
Cronyism remains a serious stumbling block to leadership renewal in Singapore as the Prime Minister values loyalty over capability. Over the decade, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has been harping on the lack of local talents picking up political profiles and that his ruling party is facing manpower shortage.