A closer look at 10 4G leaders

Clockwise from top left: Chan Chun Sing, Grace Fu, Heng Swee Keat, S. Iswaran, Desmond Lee, Lawrence Wong, Josephine Teo, Ong Ye Kung, Ng Chee Meng and Masagos Zulkifli.
Clockwise from top left: Chan Chun Sing, Grace Fu, Heng Swee Keat, S. Iswaran, Desmond Lee, Lawrence Wong, Josephine Teo, Ong Ye Kung, Ng Chee Meng and Masagos Zulkifli. PHOTOS: ST FILE
CHAN CHUN SING, 48, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
CHAN CHUN SING, 48, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
GRACE FU, 53, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth
GRACE FU, 53, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth
HENG SWEE KEAT, 56, Minister for Finance
HENG SWEE KEAT, 56, Minister for Finance
S. ISWARAN, 55, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry)
S. ISWARAN, 55, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry)
DESMOND LEE, 41, Minister for Social and Family Development
DESMOND LEE, 41, Minister for Social and Family Development
MASAGOS ZULKIFLI, 54, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
MASAGOS ZULKIFLI, 54, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
NG CHEE MENG, 49, Minister for Education (Schools)
NG CHEE MENG, 49, Minister for Education (Schools)
ONG YE KUNG, 48, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills)
ONG YE KUNG, 48, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills)
JOSEPHINE TEO, 49, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
JOSEPHINE TEO, 49, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
LAWRENCE WONG, 45, Minister for National Development
LAWRENCE WONG, 45, Minister for National Development

A Cabinet reshuffle will give the younger fourth-generation ministers more exposure and responsibility, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday. Lydia Lam gives a snapshot of the 4G ministers (in alphabetical order).

CHAN CHUN SING, 48, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office

He joined politics in 2011, after 24 years in the Singapore Armed Forces where he rose to become chief of army. He was appointed acting minister for community development, youth and sports, and minister of state for information, communications and the arts.

In September 2013, he was promoted to full minister, making his rise among the swiftest in the 2011 batch. He was made labour chief in 2015. He is also party whip, ensuring People's Action Party (PAP) MPs all vote according to the party line.


GRACE FU, 53, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth

Ms Fu entered politics in 2006, when she was one of three catapulted into ministers of state positions, alongside peers Lui Tuck Yew and Lee Yi Shyan. Ms Fu was appointed minister of state for national development.

In 2014, she was appointed Minister for Culture, Community and Youth. She was also made Leader of the House, responsible for arranging government business in Parliament. This includes advising the House on what action to take, such as when an MP breaks certain rules.


HENG SWEE KEAT, 56, Minister for Finance

Mr Heng joined politics in 2011. He achieved the rare feat of being made a full minister immediately after being elected as a new MP.

Such a promotion has happened only once before - to former finance minister Richard Hu.

Mr Heng was minister for education from 2011 to 2015, when he became Finance Minister. Before entering politics, he was managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and principal private secretary to then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew from 1997 to 2000.


S. ISWARAN, 55, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry)

Mr Iswaran is the most politically experienced in the 4G team, having been elected as an MP in five general elections since January 1997.

 
 

In 2006, the West Coast GRC MP was appointed minister of state for trade and industry.

Under his current portfolio, he also oversees the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Energy Market Authority, International Enterprise Singapore, Singapore Tourism Board, Sentosa Development Corporation and Spring Singapore.


DESMOND LEE, 41, Minister for Social and Family Development

Mr Lee is the youngest member of the current Cabinet.

He entered politics in 2011, when he was elected MP for Jurong GRC. Two years later, he was appointed minister of state for national development.

Last year, he was appointed Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and National Development.

Before politics, Mr Lee, the son of former Cabinet minister Lee Yock Suan, worked at the Legal Policy Division of the Ministry of Law.


MASAGOS ZULKIFLI, 54, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

Mr Masagos entered politics in 2006. Trained as an electrical engineer, he was appointed senior parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Education in 2006, and was promoted to minister of state in 2010. In 2015, he was made Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

Before politics, he worked for SingTel, from 1988. As president of the Association of Adult Religious Students or Perdaus, he also helped set up humanitarian organisation Mercy Relief.


NG CHEE MENG, 49, Minister for Education (Schools)

Mr Ng is one of the newest in the team, having entered politics in 2015.

The former chief of defence force was appointed acting minister for education (schools) soon after election, and was promoted to full minister a year later, in 2016.

He was also appointed senior minister of state for transport.

Before politics, he served in the Singapore Armed Forces for 29 years, and was also on the boards of organisations such as the Defence Science and Technology Agency.


ONG YE KUNG, 48, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills)

Mr Ong joined the Cabinet later than intended, having been part of the PAP team in Aljunied GRC in 2011 that lost to the Workers' Party.

In 2015, he was elected and appointed acting minister for education (higher education and skills). He was promoted to full minister the next year and made Second Defence Minister. Before this, he worked at Keppel Corporation and NTUC. He was principal private secretary to PM Lee from 2003 to 2005, and his press secretary before that.


JOSEPHINE TEO, 49, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office

Mrs Josephine Teo was elected MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in 2006.

She was appointed minister of state for finance and transport following the 2011 General Election.

She was promoted to Minister in the Prime Minister's Office on May 1 last year, overseeing the National Population and Talent Division. She is concurrently Second Minister in the Manpower and Home Affairs ministries.

Mrs Teo was formerly assistant secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress.


LAWRENCE WONG, 45, Minister for National Development

Mr Wong entered politics in 2011. He was initially made acting minister for Culture, Community and Youth in November 2012, and was promoted to full minister in 2014.

In 2015, Mr Wong was appointed Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance. He is also co-chairman of the Singapore-Tianjin Economic and Trade Council.

He was previously PM Lee's principal private secretary before moving on to head the Energy Market Authority.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2018, with the headline 'A closer look at 10 4G leaders'. Print Edition | Subscribe