PM’s new Cabinet

Janil Puthucheary, Baey Yam Keng promoted from backbench

Backbench MPs Janil Puthucheary and Baey Yam Keng will become office holders as part of changes to the ranks of Government that took place along with the new Cabinet line-up.

Dr Puthucheary, who entered politics in 2011, will be Minister of State for Education, and Communications and Information.

Mr Baey, who will start his third term as MP, will be Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth.

At the press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the duo were given their new responsibilities because of the variety of skills they possess.

For instance, Mr Baey is adept at reaching out to the young and also has good networks with arts and theatre groups, said PM Lee.

"He's got good communications skills on how we can get our message across, how we can present it, how it can be put in the terms of new media if we need to, or mainstream media if we need to."

Dr Puthucheary has knowledge beyond medicine and will be working on the Smart Nation Initiative, launched last year to explore ways for technology to solve social and economic problems, said PM Lee.

A number of new MPs, just elected in the Sept 11 polls, have also been appointed office holders.

Dr Koh Poh Koon will be Minister of State for National Development, and Trade and Industry. Mr Chee Hong Tat will be Minister of State for Health, and Communications and Information, while Mr Amrin Amin will be Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs.

Three Ministers of State - Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Ms Sim Ann and Mr Desmond Lee - have been promoted to Senior Ministers of State and given different roles.

PM Lee noted that newly appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Education Low Yen Ling would take over Ms Sim's previous role overseeing the teaching of Mother Tongue.

Meanwhile, Senior Minister of State for National Development, and Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan will be returning to the backbench, a move that PM Lee said he had "reluctantly agreed" to.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2015, with the headline 'Janil Puthucheary, Baey Yam Keng promoted from backbench'. Print Edition | Subscribe