Maliki Osman and Edwin Tong promoted to full ministers in new Cabinet

Dr Maliki Osman and Mr Edwin Tong will be sworn in on July 27, 2020.
Dr Maliki Osman and Mr Edwin Tong will be sworn in on July 27, 2020.PHOTOS: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Dr Maliki Osman and Mr Edwin Tong have been promoted to full ministers, in the new Cabinet, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Saturday (July 25).

Dr Maliki, 55, will be Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, and Second Minister for Education and Foreign Affairs. He is currently Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs and will give up his mayorship of the South East District from Monday, when the new appointments begin.

Mr Tong, 50, will be Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law. He is currently Senior Minister of State for Law and Health.

Speaking at a press briefing on Saturday to announce the new Cabinet, PM Lee said: "Both Maliki Osman and Edwin Tong have performed well as Senior Ministers of State and it is time for them to step up and take on more responsibilities."

The two were among the key promotions in the new Cabinet, and they will be sworn in on Monday (July 27).

Also promoted is Mr Zaqy Mohamad, 45, who will take on the role of Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Defence, giving up his current position as Minister of State for National Development and Manpower.

Ms Low Yen Ling, 45, will become Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, and Trade and Industry. She will give up her current role as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower, but will remain Mayor of South West District.

Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, 52, will be Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development. He will give up his role as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development and Education.

Ms Sun Xueling, 41, will become Minister of State for Education and Social and Family Development, giving up her current appointment as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development.

Jurong GRC MP Rahayu Mahzam, 40, will step up from the backbench to take on the role of Parliamentary Secretary for Health from Sept 1.

Two districts will get new mayors. PAP new face and Marine Parade GRC MP Mohd Fahmi Aliman, 48, will be Mayor of the South East District, and Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC MP Alex Yam, 39, will be Mayor of the North West District.

 
 
 
 

Speaking at the press conference livestreamed from the Istana on Saturday, Dr Maliki said he was humbled and touched by his new appointment.

He said: "I stand ready to step up and take up the challenge and responsibilities of this new appointment, both in the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Singapore's education system has been regarded by many as one of the best in the world because of our readiness to continue to evolve and respond to evolving circumstances and needs over time.

"I think we should continue to do so, that our education system must continue to identify how we can harness the potential of every young Singaporean so that they can contribute as Singaporeans for the future growth of Singapore."

Dr Maliki added that as Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, he will "continue to work with our international partners, as we bring forward the interests of Singapore and Singaporeans in the international fora as we navigate these very challenging circumstances we are faced with today".

Mr Tong, in a Facebook post on Saturday, said he was honoured to be tasked with helming the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY).

"MCCY is a young ministry - less than 10 years old. But it continues a long-held government priority of building a caring, cohesive and confident nation," he said. "My team and I look forward to engaging Singaporeans, and work with all of you to shape a brighter future and a strong Singapore society."

Mr Zaqy, also in a Facebook post, said the past two years have been "a learning journey" for him, as he transitioned from the private sector into government.

"Even more so, as we experienced the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic impact as a result," he said. "Will do my best to make a difference for Singapore and our people, especially in getting us through this crisis safe and hopefully, better and stronger," he added.

 
 

Commenting on her previous roles in the Education and Manpower ministries in her own Facebook post, Ms Low said: "During my time in MOE and MOM, I've had the privilege of working with many passionate and motivated colleagues. We've had our fair share of joy and challenges together that I will always remember.

"During my service at MOE, I have gotten to know many educators. Their sense of purpose and lifelong commitment to teaching continue to inspire me. As a parent, I am also grateful for the teachers' dedication and sacrifices for our children's future. At MOM, I've imbibed the Ministry's spirit of collaboration, and its distinctive tripartite relations never fail to impress me."