Photo of 4G ministers from Straits Times

After wrongly quoting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, state media CNA today (Apr 23) had to post an update clarifying that not all ministries will be taken over by the so-called “4G” ministers. The update could have gone unnoticed but it became conspicuous after another state media article highlighted five ministries that would not see a change in leadership.

According to state media TodayOnline, “troublesome ministries” like Transport, Law, Home Affairs, Finance and Defence will still be undertaken by the due-to-expire ministers. There are currently 14 Ministers (see list below) considered as “4G” ministers according to the state media. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is apparently unable to find any replacement for these ministries for reasons as the 4G ministers are either under-qualified or too afraid to man the ministry alone.

“4G” Ministers:
1) Chan Chun Sing
2) Grace Fu
3) Heng Swee Keat
4) S. Iswaran
5) Desmond Lee
6) Masagos Zulkifli
7) Ng Chee Meng
8) Ong Ye Kung
9) Josephine Teo
10) Lawrence Wong
11) Dr Janil Puthucheary
12) Chee Hong Tat
13) Indranee Rajah
14) Sim Ann

Transport Ministry
The second oldest Minister below Lee Hsien Loong, 65-year-old Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan made a mess out of public transport, and blew his budget by several folds due to mismanagement from SMRT and SBS Transit. The Transport Ministry had to engage Temasek Holdings to spend over S$1 billion to buy over depreciating assets of SMRT and SBS Transit. Then there is the elusive Terminal 5, which is said to cost “tens of billions”. The Second Transport Minister is currently Ng Chee Meng, but apparently after understudying in the Ministry for nearly 2 years, the former army general is still too scared to take over the Transport Ministry.

Law Ministry, Home Affairs Ministry, Finance Ministry and Defence Ministry
Only one of the 4G ministers is a lawyer, and that is the current Social and Family Affairs Minister Desmond Lee. The only one with economist experience among the 4G ministers is Heng Swee Keat. However, there will be no replacement K Shanmugam and Heng Swee Keat in the upcoming Cabinet Shuffle. 59-year-old K Shanmugam is currently being severely criticised by both local residents and international groups for clamping down on liberty rights, and it is evident that he will want to see greater media censorship legislation being enacted before he retires. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, also 59, will also be holding on to his seat even though there are a number of army generals like Chan Chun Sing whose only relevant experience is the Defence Ministry.

The fourteen 4G ministers appear too comfortable drawing million-dollar salaries in easy ministries likes Education and Family Affairs, and none of them volunteered to pick up the “troublesome” ministries.