Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung is the new head of a group tasked with strengthening relations between the Government and the Chinese community, and boosting cooperation among various Chinese groups.
He takes over from Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing as chairman of the Chinese Community Liaison Group (CCLG) from today.
The Prime Minister's Office announced Mr Ong's appointment by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a statement yesterday, saying: "PM Lee is confident that under Mr Ong's leadership, the CCLG will continue to deepen ties between the Government and the Chinese community."
Mr Ong has been a group member since 2015, and is actively involved with Chinese groups, particularly in the media, arts and cultural sectors. The PMO said: "Being Minister for Education, Mr Ong will be able to engage educators on ways to strengthen the Singapore Chinese identity in our multiracial context."
The CCLG was set up in 2000 and comprises office-holders and People's Action Party MPs. Mr Chan had been head since 2014, when he took over from Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who helmed it from 2006.
Mr Chan will remain adviser to the group. The PMO said he did much to deepen and expand its engagement with the community, and broadened its reach beyond clan and business groups to include media, sports, arts and cultural ones. "He has canvassed the community leaders' feedback and concerns, worked with them on government programmes and explained these initiatives to the Chinese ground."
"PM Lee thanks Mr Chan for his contributions in CCLG," it added.
Mr Chan said on Facebook he was grateful to group members and Chinese community leaders and members "for their advice, insights and collaboration that have enabled our efforts to strengthen the greater Chinese community."
"This is a journey I continue to be committed to as an adviser. I wish Ye Kung the best in his chairmanship and I look forward to the CCLG members and the Chinese community lending him the strong support that I have benefitted from."
The Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations thanked Mr Chan for his dedication and contributions to the community. Its president Chua Thian Poh said it was confident Mr Ong would lead the group to a new level.