Three SAF high-flyers in new permanent secretary appointments and portfolio shuffles

Three of the four new or shuffled permanent secretaries were high-flyers in the armed forces - Rear-Adm Lai, Mr Neo Kian Hong and Mr Ng Chee Khern.
Three of the four new or shuffled permanent secretaries were high-flyers in the armed forces - Rear-Adm Lai, Mr Neo Kian Hong and Mr Ng Chee Khern.PHOTO: ST FILE, MINDEF, EXPERIA EVENTS

SINGAPORE - Two ministries will get a new second permanent secretary, while another two current permanent secretaries will change portfolios in June.

The Public Service Division announced the changes in a press statement on Monday (May 22).

Mr Png Cheong Boon, 47, will be appointed Second Permanent Secretary for the Trade and Industry Ministry on June 1.

He will remain as the chief executive officer of JTC Corporation.

The current Permanent Secretary for Trade and Industry Loh Khum Yean will also continue in his role.

Meanwhile, Rear-Admiral Lai Chung Han, 44, will be appointed Second Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education (MOE) on June 19, after he steps down as Singapore's Navy Chief.

The current Permanent Secretary for Education Chan Lai Fung will continue in her role.

In other changes, Permanent Secretary for Education Development Neo Kian Hong will be appointed Permanent Secretary for Defence Development.

Mr Neo will take up his new role from June 19.

The current Permanent Secretary for Defence Development Ng Chee Khern will relinquish his appointment on the same date.

 

Mr Ng will continue as Permanent Secretary (Smart Nation and Digital Government) for the Prime Minister's Office, and chair the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) board at the same time.

Three of the four new or shuffled permanent secretaries were high-flyers in the armed forces - Rear-Adm Lai, the outgoing navy chief; Mr Neo Kian Hong, the Chief of Defence Force from 2010 to 2013; and Mr Ng Chee Khern, the air force chief from 2006 to 2009.

The fourth, Mr Png, spent his 24-year career in MTI's statutory boards and rose to be chief executive of two of them in the last nine years: Spring Singapore and JTC Corporation.

He was an EDB-Glaxo scholar under the scholarship programme by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Glaxo.

In its statement, PSD said that Mr Png's appointment as Permanent Secretary, "via a non-traditional path is testament to the diversity of pathways to the office of Permanent Secretary, and adds further diversity to the experience and background of senior public service leaders."