Singapore – On April 23 (Tuesday), the Prime Minister’s Office announced a Cabinet reshuffling, with Mr Heng Swee Keat, among others, being promoted, transferred, or taking on more roles in the Government.
Effective May 1, 2019, the Minister of Finance and chair of the Future Economy Council and National Research Foundation, Mr Heng Swee Keat, will be promoted to Deputy Prime Minister. He will be the Acting Prime Minister in the Prime Minister’s absence.
The two current DPMs, Mr Teo Chee Hean and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam will leave their posts and be appointed as Senior Ministers and remain in Cabinet. Mr Teo will continue as Coordinating Minister for National Security while Mr Tharman will become the Coordinating Minister for Social Policies in addition to advising the Prime Minister on economic policies.
Shortly after the announcement, Mr Tharman went to Facebook to express his opinion on the decision and said that “Swee Keat is the best person to move up to become DPM.”
The outgoing DPM also mentioned that Mr Heng Swee Keat is the best candidate to “take over as PM during the next term of government” due to his “exceptional ability, mettle and the confidence of the 4G team.”
He added that the Cabinet reshuffling was a major step in leadership succession and is “a plus for Singapore’s future,” a move that “works for Singapore.”
Mr Tharman continued his post with some advice on the need for renewal and the new team leaving their own mark. “But renewal there must be, not just with a new generation of leaders but with the changing times. Swee Keat and the 4G team must carve their own way as leaders, individually and as a team, and progressively leave their own imprint,” he wrote.
The post went on to note the changing times in the country and how the 4G leadership could stay updated with the changes.
“Singaporeans’ views and aspirations are changing. They will I believe be quite different ten years from now. Younger Singaporeans are growing up with new ideals and hopes that we must help them to achieve. New technologies will empower individuals, but we must prevent them from dividing the workforce,” said Mr. Tharman.
“Our 4G leadership will have to keep their ears close to the ground, stay open to new ideas and initiatives, and keep evolving our strategies to keep our society inclusive and vibrant. So that they retain the trust of Singaporeans and lead the country with confidence,” he added.
Mr Tharman then expressed his full confidence in the capabilities of the team.
Netizens were quick to thank the continued service and contributions of the outgoing DPM and wished him the best as Senior Minister.
“Thank you sir. You are an epitome of steady, wisely, steely leadership and beyond doubt would have been a great PM. Wishing you the best,” said one comment by a member of the public Georgia Hong.
Read more on the Cabinet reshuffling: Heng Swee Keat promoted as Deputy Prime Minister from May Day