Cabinet reshuffle: Josephine Teo is new Manpower Minister

Ms Josephine Teo will be Manpower Minister from May 1. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Mrs Josephine Teo will be Manpower Minister from May 1, taking on a role that observers said she has been primed for since she was promoted to full minister last year.

She replaces Mr Lim Swee Say, who will step down after three years in the post.

The moves are part of a larger Cabinet reshuffle meant to give younger ministers more exposure and responsibilities.

Mrs Teo, 49, was the second woman after Ms Grace Fu to become a full minister in the current Cabinet, when she was promoted to Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) last year.

She was made Second Minister for Manpower at the same time.

But her involvement with manpower issues started earlier at the National Trades Union Congress, which she joined in 2005. She rose to the post of assistant secretary-general before leaving the labour movement in 2011 when she was appointed Minister of State for Transport and Finance.

An MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, she has also headed human resources at agencies such as the Economic Development Board and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

Given her experience in the labour movement and in human resources, observers saw in her promotion and her appointment to the Manpower Ministry last year signs that she may be groomed to take over the manpower portfolio.

Mrs Teo herself said then of her MOM appointment: "It feels like I'm coming home to Singapore's unique brand of tripartism at this critical juncture for our workers."

With her new role, she will relinquish her appointment in the PMO, but will remain as Second Minister for Home Affairs.

In her 12 years in politics, Mrs Teo has also taken on portfolios in Finance, Transport and Foreign Affairs.

In the PMO, she also oversaw the National Population and Talent Division, where she was tasked to deal with the hot-button issue of immigration and Singapore's dwindling total fertility rate.

Mrs Teo graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in economics.

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