Baey Yam Keng and Eric Chua sworn in as parliamentary secretaries

Mr Baey Yam Keng (left) and Mr Eric Chua (right) with President Halimah Yacob and PM Lee Hsien Loong, after being sworn in at the Istana on Aug 3, 2020. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Two political office holders were sworn in on Monday (Aug 3) in a ceremony at the Istana officiated by President Halimah Yacob.

They are Mr Baey Yam Keng, 49, who will be Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, and Mr Eric Chua, 41, who will be Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth, as well as for Social and Family Development.

Parliamentary secretaries are MPs who have been appointed to help ministers discharge their functions and duties.

The appointments were announced on July 25 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, together with other changes in the Cabinet after the general election. PM Lee also attended the ceremony on Monday, which took place in the Istana's West Drawing Room.

Mr Baey, who joined politics in 2006 and was promoted to Senior Parliamentary Secretary in 2018, continues to serve at the Ministry of Transport (MOT) but has relinquished his previous role in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY).

Ms Rahayu Mahzam, 40, has also been promoted from the backbenches to become Parliamentary Secretary for Health, but this change will come into effect only from Sept 1.

Speaking to The Straits Times after the ceremony, Mr Baey said he looks forward to learning from and working with new Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung, who was the Minister for Education before the Cabinet reshuffle, as well as other political office holders and officers in MOT. He added that there is also work to be done in terms of deepening bilateral ties with Malaysia at the ministry.

"There are exciting projects ahead that hopefully can materialise, and which can also contribute towards greater friendships between our two peoples."

At MOT, he will be focusing on issues related to active mobility, including improving infrastructure, enhancing the rules and regulatory framework, and promoting first- and last-mile connectivity.

Mr Baey Yam Keng, will be Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Mr Chua is a new face from the People's Action Party who was elected an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC in the recent polls.

He said he has much to learn as a new MP and a political office holder. But he believes his experiences and interests can help him to serve in his new role. He is a former director of the SGSecure Programme Office.

Mr Eric Chua being sworn in in a ceremony at the Istana officiated by President Halimah Yacob. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

"MCCY covers areas such as the youth, the arts, and sports. I used to be quite involved in the music scene - I was in the school band, and so was my wife, that's how we met," he said, adding that he also regularly attends concerts by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. He had also been volunteering in the youth sector for many years.

He added that he hopes to work hard to help alleviate the suffering that various sectors or groups have been going through because of the Covid-19 crisis.

Mr Baey pointed out that he was Mr Chua's predecessor on two fronts - not only had he served in MCCY before Mr Chua, but he was also MP for Queenstown ward from 2006 to 2011, which Mr Chua will now be in charge of.

"I will definitely be calling him for advice," Mr Chua said.

"And I'll be waiting for his treat to a meal," Mr Baey responded with a laugh.

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