Josephine Teo tight-lipped on helming MOM in reshuffle

Mrs Josephine Teo, however, noted her long engagement in the ministry and her experience with manpower issues.
Mrs Josephine Teo, however, noted her long engagement in the ministry and her experience with manpower issues.

Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo gave little away yesterday when asked by reporters if she would helm the ministry following the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle.

She, however, noted her experience with manpower issues, saying: "When it comes to MOM, I have a much longer engagement because I did spend quite a number of years in the labour movement."

Mrs Teo, who joined the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) last May, was assistant secretary-general at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) from 2007 to 2011.

The Straits Times had reported last Saturday that Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say is expected to step down when the Cabinet changes are announced in the coming weeks.

Mrs Teo, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs, emphasised yesterday that she found work at all three ministries meaningful.

Smiling, she urged patience.

"I don't think we have to wait very much longer till the Cabinet reshuffle is announced," she told reporters at a roadshow on government job schemes.

Mrs Teo spoke highly of Mr Lim, who was secretary-general of NTUC from 2007 to 2015.

Breaking into Mandarin, she said: "Mr Lim is a good minister and a rare breed, given his energy and his many years of experience in the labour movement."

She added: "We have worked together for many years, since about 20 years ago in the Economic Development Board, then in the labour movement.

"Finally we were matched in MOM again, and I feel that we work together very well, and happily."

Mrs Teo is part of the fourth generation of ministers, who will help shape the President's Address to be delivered next month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said. The President's Address sets the agenda for the rest of the term.

She said: "It's certainly a collective effort, and where MOM is concerned, the top issue Singaporeans want to know is what kind of future will it be for working Singaporeans."

Jobs, income, retirement security and inclusive workplaces are some of the areas of focus for the ministry, she said. "Those are the areas people are very interested in and we will want to articulate how we hope to be able to achieve this," she said.

Mrs Teo said various agencies will work together in tackling the issues.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2018, with the headline 'Josephine Teo tight-lipped on helming MOM in reshuffle'. Print Edition | Subscribe