8 Facts About S’pore’s Recent Cabinet Shuffle for People Who Don’t Politics

I‘ll be honest here. I wasn’t planning to write anything about the recent cabinet reshuffle because #politicsisscary

But then, my colleague thought I was talking about this when I mentioned the cabinet shuffle.

Image: homedepot.com

And the sad thing is, he wasn’t even kidding about it.

So without further ado, here are 8 facts about the recent cabinet shuffle every Singaporean should know about, especially if you’re my colleague who thought that our office’s shoe cabinet just had a reshuffle.

1. First thing first, what exactly is a cabinet?

Image: pmo.gov.sg

Simply put, the Cabinet of Singapore is the executive branch of the Singapore government, together with the President of Singapore. Executive means they execute the work of Singapore’s daily operations based on the laws.

If you watch US dramas, you’ll often hear the “president and congress”: reason being, over in the US, the president is the executive branch while congress is the branch that makes the laws (which is why you hear Mark Zuckerberg talking to “lawmakers”: he was talking to Congress).

They are the ones calling the shots in the Government and answers to the Parliament.

The leader of the Cabinet is the Prime Minister, and he is a Member of Parliament (MP) appointed by the President.

Then, the President, with the Prime Minister’s advice, will select other MPs to be ministers in the Cabinet.

These ministers will be appointed to head different ministries (i.e. Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Education, etc.).

The last major reshuffle of the Singapore Cabinet was back in 2011 when PAP had a drastic decrease in vote share during the General Elections.

2. What’s new about the 2018 Cabinet Reshuffle?

No matter whether you’re paying any attention to Singapore politics, you’ll have this question on your mind.

Who’s going to take over after the current PM “retire”?

Image: channelnewsasia.com

Everyone knows the old guard, or what’s left of them. But the newer ones are not that well-known.

Well, this cabinet reshuffle is meant to make the newer politicians more well-known.

Image: straitstimes.com

With the 2018 Cabinet reshuffle, 4G ministers are appointed to take charge of 10 (out of 16) ministries.

This, PM Lee says, will allow the people to know more about their future leaders. That and the 4G leaders get progressively exposed to more responsibilities.

3. Three Politicians To Retire From Service

Ohhh, yes, that was poetic. Okay, if you don’t get it, never mind.

Three ministers, with a collective total of 66 years in Singapore politics will be retiring.

Mr Lim Hng Kiang will be stepping down from Minister of Trade and Industry and be replaced by Mr Chan Chun Sing.

Image: channelnewsasia.com

Mr Lim Swee Say will step down as Minister of Manpower and be replaced by Mrs Josephine Teo.

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And Mr Yaacob Ibrahim steps down as Minister for Communications and Information and will be replaced by Mr S Iswaran.

Image: todayonline.com

4. The Cabinet With The Most Women Ministers To Date in S’pore

In today’s world where gender equality is much debated (read: argued) about, the reshuffled cabinet will make “women power” people happy.

You have Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah who will be a full minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Image: businesstimes.sg

Together with Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu.

Image: todayonline.com

And Josephine Teo, who will be promoted to Minister for Manpower.

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All three ladies have made a significant impact on PAP’s governance of Singapore.

Indranee Rajah is a core member of the 4G leadership team. She led the Applied Studies in Polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education Review Committee.

From which the Skillsfuture movement was born.

5. The Next Prime Minister Isn’t Selected Yet

Now, for the meat of the question. Who will be big boss after PM Lee?

Apparently, no one knows.

PM Lee said that the 4G leaders are “starting to get a sense of each other”, and they’re forming their own opinions of who they want to lead them.


Only during next year, when their performance in their given roles is assessed can you tell who’s the likeliest to become the next big boss.

PM Lee had also mentioned back in January 2018 that he likely won’t be able to name a successor by this year-end.

6. Some 4G Leaders Have Additional Things Heaped Onto Them

Remember what PM Lee said about stretching the younger members?

Yeah, he meant it. Several people found extra stuff heaped on their plates.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat

Image: businesstimes.sg

Other than his duties as Minister of Finance, he will also assist the Prime Minister on National Research Foundation matters.

Minister For Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing

Image: tnp.sg

He will take over the responsibility for the Public Service Division and continue to be Deputy Chairman of People’s Association.

Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli

Image: tnp.sg

In addition to his duties as Minister for Environment and Water Resources, he will be in charge of Muslim Affairs.

Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary

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He will take over responsibility for Cyber Security.

7. New Blood Injected Into The Leadership Team

This reshuffle also sees an injection of new blood into the team.

Mr Edwin Tong

Image: todayonline.com

Some of you might remember him as the lawyer who defended Kong Hee in the high-profile City Harvest Church case, or the person who spoke during the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods.

He will be appointed Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Law and the Ministry of Health from 1 July 2018.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad

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He is appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of National Development and the Ministry of Manpower.

Ms Sun Xueling

Image: channelnewsasia.com

She is appointed Senior Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of National Development.

Interesting fact: Every CEO of Non-Profit Business China has gone on to take up a political office including Ms Low Yen Ling, Mrs Josephine Teo and Mr Sam Tan. And no, Business China isn’t a business based in China: it’s a non-profit organization founded by the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew to encourage the use of Chinese language.

Mr Tan Wu Meng

Image: straitstimes.com

He will be appointed Senior Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

8. Here’s an overview of the new cabinet

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Compared to the previous cabinet of 21 members, the new team will only consist of 19 members.

Plus, with the promotions and reappointments, Singapore’s Ministry of Finance will have three full ministers.

Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Second Finance Minister, Lawrence Wong.

Guess we can rest assured about our financial situation, right?

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan will be remaining in his position.

Now, some might complain but think of it this way.

Instead of letting him chabot and leave a mess for his successor, he has to clean up his act. Or have time for the changes he put into place improve our public transport system. #PositiveThinking

So there you have it: the Cabinet reshuffle that has nothing to do with a shoe cabinet, simplified for people who don’t Politics.

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