Singapore’s ministers played musical chairs yesterday (Apr 24) following a Cabinet change announcement:
Minister of Trade and Industry – Chan Chun Sing
Minister of Culture, Community and Youth – Grace Fu
Minister of Education (full) – Ong Ye Kung (he was previously “half-full” Minister sharing the profile with Ng Chee Meng)
Minister of State, NTUC chief – Ng Chee Meng
Minister of Manpower – Josephine Teo
Second Minister of Finance, Second Minister of Law, Minister of State – Indranee Rajah
Second Minister of Finance, Minister of National Development (existing) – Lawrence Wong
Minister of Communications and Information – S Iswaran
The new changes still show no indication of a new Prime Minister, as the two elderly Deputy PMs – 63-year-old Teo Chee Hean and 61-year-old Tharman Shanmugaratnam – were told to continue serving. One could claimed that Chan Chun Sing is in the front running as he was given a full Minister profile, but it is also apparent that the PM is heavily reliant on Heng Swee Keat to be the Finance Minister.
The swapping of ministerial profiles is also merely cosmetic, as “heavyweight” profiles like Transport Finance, Law, Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Health and Defence remain untouched by any of the so-called “4G” ministers.
There is also a number of peculiarities in the new lineup:
1) There are now three Finance Ministers – Heng Swee Keat, Lawrence Wong and Indranee Rajah.
2) Minister Chan Chun Sing has zero experience in economics and brings zero value to the Trade and Industry profile.
3) Incumbent Ministers who screwed up their profiles remain in-charge. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan overblown the ministerial budget, Law Minister K Shanmugam under severe criticisms from both local and domestic rights groups and Minister Grace Fu’s reign saw the football association and national table tennis team in ruins.
4) No new faces, none of the MPs are promoted to take up a ministerial profile.
5) 66-year-old Lee Hsien Loong is now poised to be Singapore’s oldest Prime Minister with his soonest retirement expected no earlier than 70