Cabinet changes: Ong Ye Kung and Ng Chee Meng promoted to full ministers

Mr Ong Ye Kung (left) and Mr Ng Chee Meng have been promoted to full ministers in the latest round of Cabinet changes announced on Friday (Oct 28).
Mr Ong Ye Kung (left) and Mr Ng Chee Meng have been promoted to full ministers in the latest round of Cabinet changes announced on Friday (Oct 28).PHOTOS: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Slightly more than a year after entering politics, Mr Ng Chee Meng and Ong Ye Kung will be promoted to full ministers in the latest round of Cabinet changes announced on Friday (Oct 28).

They will continue in their current education portfolios, with Mr Ng as Minister for Education (Schools) and Mr Ong as Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills).

Both ministers will also take on concurrent portfolios, with Mr Ong appointed Second Minister for Defence, and Mr Ng appointed Second Minister for Transport. They are currently Senior Ministers of State.

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office said the changes will take effect on Nov 1.

The elevation of the two young ministers, who are widely seen as crucial members of the fourth generation of leaders, are the first Cabinet promotions since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced his Cabinet line-up after the 2015 general election.

Both Mr Ng and Mr Ong were elected as MPs at the election and were appointed acting ministers.

In a Facebook post, Mr Lee said the move is part of leadership renewal. He has repeatedly said that he plans to step down some time after the next general election, which must be held by April 2021.

He wrote: “Building a leadership team is one of my top priorities. These changes are part of the renewal process, to reinforce my Cabinet and get a younger team in place, ready to take over.

“I hope that Singaporeans will give them your full support, and work with us to take Singapore forward.”

In his own Facebook post, Mr Ong thanked those who congratulated him, as well as Mr Lee for his “continued confidence” in him.

He added: “Our common vision is a Singapore society that recognises and values a wide range of talent and contributions that goes far beyond academic grades, and which reflects the diverse interests and aspirations of our people. Our higher education system must offer the various options and pathways to develop such talents.

“In the coming years, we will continue to evolve our higher education system, broaden our concept of meritocracy, and uncover the lifelong learner in all of us.”

Mr Ng, in a Facebook post, thanked the Prime Minister "for his confidence in me".

"Together with Ye Kung, my MOE colleagues and our teachers, we will continue to build upon the good work done, equipping our young with skills for the future through a forward-looking curriculum focused on strengthening resilience and inculcating a 'can do' spirit, built upon sound values that has made Singapore what it is today," he wrote.

"Also looking forward to further supporting Min Khaw and working with the team at MOT to realise the new transport Master Plan for Singapore."