Photo of Lee Hsien Loong and Tan Chuan Jin in 1989 from Facebook

Singapore’s dictator Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today (Sep 5) stabbed his Minister Tan Chuan Jin in the back by praising him for a good job done after demoting him and halving his salaries by more than S$550,000-a-year. PM Lee Hsien Loong posted a photo of himself presenting a SAF scholarship award to Tan Chuan Jin in 1989, and poured praises for the army general who fell out of his favour:

“While Chuan-Jin stood out as the best choice, it was a very difficult decision to nominate him, as it meant losing an effective and activist Minister at MSF Singapore. As Speaker, Chuan-Jin will have to preside over Parliamentary debates, and ensure fair and full discussion of national issues. Chuan-Jin has the temperament and personality for this role. Since entering politics, he has built up good links with a diverse range of NGOs, VWOs and interest groups.”

PM Lee Hsien Loong tried to come out with a few achievements of Tan Chuan Jin, but he was not able to pinpoint any particular success to him:

“As Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF), Chuan-Jin has taken a deep interest in social issues, and in helping the needy and disadvantaged. He launched many initiatives, e.g. KidStart for children of disadvantaged families, and SG Cares to encourage Singaporeans to give back to society. These programmes will deepen our social capital and help build a more gracious, compassionate and cohesive society. Previously at Singapore Ministry of Manpower, Chuan-Jin championed low income workers, as he introduced the progressive wage model and led Government efforts to protect these workers and improve their lives. As Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of National Development (MND), Chuan-Jin built good rapport with the heritage, nature, environmental and animal welfare groups. He involved them in working out solutions for the Rail Corridor and Bukit Brown. Other collaborations resulted in our first Marine Park and amendments to the Animal and Birds Act. Chuan-Jin continues to advise MND informally on environmental and animal welfare issues. Chuan-Jin remains an important member of my team, though in a different role.”

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he will “nominate” Tan Chuan Jin as the Speaker of Parliament in the next parliament session, and his PAP-dominated parliament will “vote” for a new Speaker.

Minister Tan Chuan Jin has also accepted the Prime Minister’s “nomination”, and said that he is “looking forward” to the demotion.